Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pusan International Film Festival

Tuesday evening, the nice folks at the Pusan International Film Festival held their festival lineup announcement. Each year, about a month before the festival, the organizers hold a big press event where they talk all about the films and special programs and other events that will be going on at PIFF.

This year's PIFF (Oct. 12-20) looks like it will be as much fun as ever. With 245 movies screening, there will be no shortage of films from all over the world to see.

But what sets off PIFF from all the other films festivals are:
1) The audiences. PIFF gets nearly 200,000 people a year, making it by far the most popular film festival in Asia.
2) The market. Now, there are plenty of film markets all over Asia (Bangkok, Tokyo, Hong Kong), but I would argue that only PIFF and Hong Kong are remotely significant. And since Hong Kong occurs by itself, with no film festival attached, it is much more subdued. But with PIFF and the Asian Film Market (as they are calling it this year) occuring at the same time, you get a real energy. Plus lots of celebrities, parties and all that silliness.

As usual, I expect I will be spending a lot of time in the Korean Cinema Retrospective, enjoying the old stuff. This year, PIFF will be featuring a lot of films from the colonial period, stuff I have seen almost none of before. I am really looking forward to them.

There really is too much screening for me to talk about all the things I want to see, but a few goodies will include:
- CROSSING THE LINE, the latest Daniel Gordon documentary out of North Korea, this time looking at Americans who defected TO North Korea.
- NIGHTMARE DETECTIVE, by Tsukamoto Shinya
- SCREAM OF THE ANTS, the latest by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
- PAPRIKA, the animated film by Kon Satoshi
- BORAT, because I am a bandwagon-jumping idiot

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