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28th Busan Film Festival unveils selection for Asian auteur, rookie directors

Aug. 30, 2023 - 15:37 By Kim Da-sol

The 28th Busan International Film Festival announced the list of films selected for its New Currents and Jiseok competition sections, which will showcase the works of Asia’s rookie and auteur directors.

The New Current competition section focuses on showing up-and-coming Asian filmmakers’ works, reserved for those making their first or second feature films. Ten works are nominated, including two from Japan, two from Korea, two from Bangladesh and one each from China, Thailand, Malaysia and India. Of them, two films will be presented with New Currents awards.

Competing are Bangladeshi director Iqbal H. Chowdhury’s “The Wrestler,” which tells a story of an old fisher who challenges a wrestling champion to combat. Bangladeshi director Biplob Sarkar’s “The Stranger” is a coming-of-age tale about a boy and his family revolving around a struggle with gender identity.

From Japan, documentary-turned-fiction filmmaker Mori Tatsuya’s “September 1923” delves into the Great Kanto earthquake. Yamamoto Akira’s “After the Fever” tells the story of a love-struck protagonist in a profound way.

Korean filmmakers Lee Jong-su’s “Heritage” and Sohn Hyun-lok’s “That Summer’s Lie” recount the fresh discovery of characters that are relatable in everyday life. Lee tells the tale of a public service worker and his supervisor, while Sohn depicts a teenager’s romance.

India’s Rajesh S. Jala (“Children of the Pyre”), Thailand’s Patiparn Boontarig (“Solids by the Seashore”) have also been selected for the New Currents section.

Patiparn Boontarig’s “Solids by the Seashore” (BIFF)

The Jiseok competition section, which was newly established last year and named after BIFF senior programmer Kim Ji-seok who has contributed to the development and support of Asian films, will give awards to two of the ten selected films.

Competing are: Toda Akihiro’s “Ichiko,” Ishii Yuya’s “The Moon,” Sri Lankan veteran filmmaker Prasanna Vithanaga’s “Paradise” and Kirghiz director Mirlan Abdykalko’s “Running to the Sky.” Indonesian auteur director Yosep Anggi Noen also delivers “24 Hours With Gaspar” and Philippines veteran Brillante Mendoza will screen tragic drama “Moro.”

Two filmmakers from Korea have been also selected for the Jiseok section. Lee Sang-cheol’s “Blesser,” a story of a former politics reporter’s life together with an abandoned child, and Ahn Sun-kyeong’s “At the End of the Film,” which portrays the process of filmmaking. Ahn won a New Currents award in 2013 with “Pascha.”

The 28th edition of Asia’s largest film festival runs Oct. 4-13. The related Asian content and film market will be held Oct. 7-10.