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Jurors for BIFF’s New Current Award hope to discover breakthrough film

Deepa Mehta, president of the jury for the New Current Award, participates in a press conference held at the KNN theater in Busan via videoconference from Canada on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Deepa Mehta, president of the jury for the New Current Award, participates in a press conference held at the KNN theater in Busan via videoconference from Canada on Thursday. (Yonhap)
BUSAN -- Four jurors for the Busan International Film Festival’s New Current Award -- Deepa Mehta, Jang Joon-hwan, Jeong Jae-eun and Cristina Nord -- expressed high anticipation for a breakthrough film this year during a press conference held at the KNN theater in Busan on Thursday.

BIFF’s New Current Award is given to the two best feature films by new Asian directors presenting their first or second feature, in the New Currents section. The two winners receive $30,000. Eleven films, including “Missing” from Shinzo Katayama, are competing in the section this year.

“Shakespeare said that they are only three stories but it‘s the way we tell them that makes a difference. I feel really privileged. I wish, with these wonderful jury members, to be blown away, as they say, by a new fresh vision of Asian cinema,” said Mehta, president of the jury for the New Current Award and herself a film director. While all other jurors came to the press conference in Busan, Mahta was not present for health reasons and spoke via videoconference from Canada on Thursday.

“The movie industry has become much stagnant. I came here with hopes of discovering some of the new ecosystems disrupting films that can become a new wave,” film director Jang said during the conference. “I think discovering those films and delivering them to the audiences is our job.”

During the conference, the jurors also said they intend to watch the films with an open mind.
From right: BIFF’s New Current Award jurors Jeong Jae-eun, Jang Joon-hwan and Cristina Nord pose after a press conference held at the KNN theater in Busan on Thursday. (Yonhap)
From right: BIFF’s New Current Award jurors Jeong Jae-eun, Jang Joon-hwan and Cristina Nord pose after a press conference held at the KNN theater in Busan on Thursday. (Yonhap)
“What we are trying to do is to get rid of preconceived notions and prejudices. And I think that cinema is a wonderful art form with which to overcome prejudices and step out of your comfort zone to broaden your horizon,” Nord said. Nord is also head of the Berlinale Forum.

Director Jeong, who competed in the New Current section 20 years ago with her debut film “Take Care Of My Cat” (2001), said that the selected films will have an opportunity to expand globally. Her film was selected as a special mention film at the time.

“Twenty years ago, I came to BIFF for the first time to screen at the New Current section. Through BIFF, I was able to introduce the film to foreign audiences,” Jeong said. “For Asian directors, it will be an opportunity for them to spread out globally.”

Toward the end of the conference, Mehta shared her views on judging movies while watching them online.

“For the last two years, I’ve been watching all films virtually on my computer or on the television screen because we have not been able to go to movie theaters. I feel that I am not missing out much because I’ve been trained for the last two years to appreciate the cinema even though it is not in the theater,” she said. “But that doesn‘t mean that I don’t envy you all that you will see them on the large screen, because there is something magical about that.”

The winners of the New Current Award will be announced Oct. 15 during the BIFF closing ceremony.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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