Asian Film Market has Quiet but Steady Opening

The second edition of the Asian Film Market kicked off in Pusan on Monday (Oct 8) with quiet corridors on the sales office floors, but a strong turn-out at concurrent seminars and projects markets.

Around 1,100 participants had registered by the end of Monday, in addition to 400 guests at the BIFCOM locations market, which is roughly the same as the inaugural edition of the market last year.

The number of sales companies and talent agencies taking part in the market was also about the same, although the number of sales offices had decreased as many had opted to sell via umbrella organisations. More than 20 companies were selling product through the offices booked by European Film Promotion (EFP).

But while the sales offices were only moderately busy, the crush at the opening party on Monday night suggests that the package of events initiated by the Pusan team continues to have pulling power.

The highly-regarded Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), newer events such as Co-Production PRO and talent showcase Star Summit Asia – along with the festival itself – combine to keep appointment schedules full and to justify the trip at a busy time of year.

The different events are also well integrated and, in keeping with the original spirit of Pusan, the evenings are packed with parties and networking opportunities.

However, with MIPCOM taking place at the same time – and Rome, TIFFCOM and the AFM just around the corner – the spread of international buyers at this year’s market is not that diverse.

This works just fine for the European companies that want to sell to Korea and Japan. But Korean sellers, who have recently experienced a downturn in exports, said they were disappointed at the small number of European buyers.

CO-production PRO, the most recent Pusan initiative, was well attended on the first day of the market. A more mainstream version of PPP, the event features 52 projects, a range of seminars and presentations by film investors such as Korea’s CJ Entertainment, China’s JA Media and Endgame Entertainment from the US.

There are also special presentations of projects from Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien and China’s Zhang Yuan.

Hou pitched $10m period martial arts drama The Assassin, set to star Shu Qi as a trained killer and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star Chang Chen. Taiwan’s CMC has already committed some funds to the project. Zhang is set to present documentary series Kim Koo In Exile on October 10.

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