The number of attendees at this year's Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) increased about 17 percent from last year to top 190,000, its organizer said Saturday.
The 22nd BIFF opened in Busan on Oct. 12 and closed its 10-day run after featuring 299 movies from 69 countries which have been shown on 32 screens at five theaters in the southern South Korean port city. World and international premieres reached 99 and 31, respectively.
In a closing news conference, the BIFF organizing committee said that a total of 192,991 people participated in this year's film festival, a rise of about 17 percent from last year's 165,149.
This year's audience figure, however, fell far short of the 2015 record of 227,377, it noted.
"The audience number increased from last year despite various internal and external difficulties. The Busan film festival has begun to grow again. It has been confirmed that the owners of the festival are the audience and films," Kang Soo-youn, executive director of the BIFF, said at the conference.
"After My Death" by South Korean director Kim Eui-suk and "Blockage" by Iranian director Mohsen Gharaei were selected as the winners of the BIFF New Currents Award given to best feature films by new Asian directors.
"After My Death" sheds light on Korean society through the perspective of a suicidal teen girl, while "Blockage" depicts pain suffered by laborers in Tehran, according to BIFF officials.
On the sidelines of the film festival, 163 film companies from 23 countries took part in the Asian Film Market, a film content marketplace which drew about 1,600 visitors from 45 countries, up some 200 people from last year. (Yonhap)