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‘A Wild Roomer,’ ‘Shivamma’ win New Currents Award at BIFF

Oct. 14, 2022 - 17:58 By Song Seung-hyun
“A Wild Roomer,” directed by Lee Jeong-hong (BIFF)

The 27th Busan International Film Festival has selected “A Wild Roomer,” directed by Lee Jeong-hong and “Shivamma” directed by Jaishankar Aryar as New Currents Award winners on Friday, announced on the last day of the ten-day long film fest.

The New Currents Award is presented to the two best feature films by new Asian directors presenting their first or second feature at the Busan film fest. The two winners each receive $30,000.

According to the festival's director Huh Moon-young, this award, which was created along with the establishment of the BIFF, is special as it reflects the film festival’s identity, which is to shed light on the great works of Asian directors.

Lee’s film centers around a carpenter named Gi-hong, who makes his living by taking on small interior work. Strange things start happening to Gi-hong as he starts hanging out with the young landlord and his wife.

Indian director Aryar’s film is about passionate salesperson Shivamma, who sells the energy drink Nuracle. To Shivamma -- who lives in a poor town with her bedridden husband, a soon-to-be-married daughter and an unruly son -- Nuracle is a source of confidence and hope.

The award for actor of the year went to Kim Young-sung who starred in “Big Sleep,” a drama film about stray kids. Kim Geum-soon, who starred in “Star of Ulsan” a film about a woman who struggles after her husband’s death, was awarded actress of the year.

“Shivamma” directed by Jaishankar Aryar (BIFF)

Meanwhile, this year's BIFF successfully returned to its pre-pandemic full scale, screening 242 films from 71 countries.

All the events including the opening ceremony, parties and talk sessions returned to normal this year.

According to the fest organizer, 161,145 tickets were sold this year, which accounts for 74 percent of the total tickets that were made available.

Foreign guests also increased dramatically this year, including Hong Kong movie star Tony Leung Chiu-wai. A total of 1,694 actors and filmmakers attended the BIFF. Last year, only 69 foreign guests took part.

The BIFF organizer highlighted that its Asian Contents & Film Market 2022, which was held in person for the first time in three years, was successful with 2,465 participants from 49 different countries, up around 12 percent compared to the number of participants before the pandemic in 2019.

The closing ceremony takes place on Friday at 6 p.m at the Busan Cinema Center. This year’s closing film, Japanese director Kei Ishikawa's "A Man,” will also be screen at the same venue after the ceremony.

The Japanese film is an adaptation of Keiichiro Hirano's award-winning 2018 novel of the same title. It features Rie, a woman who moves back to her hometown with her child. She falls in love with Daisuke and the two start a family. One day, Daisuke dies in a tragic accident and his estranged brother shows up at the funeral. The brother looks at the photo of Rie's husband and says that the deceased is not Daisuke.