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Busan Film Fest announces New Currents nominees

The Busan International Film Festival announced the nominees for its New Currents category, which awards up-and-coming Asian directors, Friday.

The selections provide distinctive perspectives and themes found throughout east and southwest Asia, BIFF said in a statement.

Three of the nominated films are Korean pieces that convincingly tell tragedies in different ways. Shin Dong-seok’s “Last Child,” about parents’ ambivalent feelings toward a child who survived an accident that claimed the life of their son; Kim Ui-seok’s “After My Death,” a story about a girl’s suicide and an ensuing witch hunt to track down the cause; and Ko Hyun-seok’s “How to Breathe Underwater,” which shows the tragedies that befall two co-workers.

Four films have been nominated from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, where a long tradition of independent films seems to be back on track, BIFF said.

Official poster for the 22nd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)
Official poster for the 22nd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)

“In contrast to the previous and excessive commercialization of mainstream films, (films from the Greater China region) have adopted a new way to maintain tradition in independent films.”

The nominated works are “Somewhere Beyond the Mist” by Hong Kong director King Wai Cheung, which pictures generational conflict and discord; “End of Summer” by Zhou Quan, a story of friendship between a boy who loves soccer and an older neighbor; “One Night on the Wharf” by Han Dong, which depicts a terrifying night that a community experiences; and “The Last Verse” by Taiwanese director Tseng Ying-Ting, a lyrical drama that traces the transition of a couple experiencing modern times in Taiwan.

Two selections come from the Asian Cinema Fund, which funds up-and-coming movie projects. Indian director Pushpendra Singh’s “Ashwatthama” captures the anxiety and heartbreak of a motherless boy in the limelight of Indian mythology, according to BIFF. Shin’s “Last Child” is also an Asian Cinema Fund project.

Additional nominees are India’s “Ajji” by Devashish Makhija and Iran’s “Blockage” by Mohsen Gharaei.

The New Currents category seeks to foster promising Asian directors. It has introduced numerous young directors to the international stage in the past.

BIFF is set to run from Oct. 12-21 in Busan.

By Rumy Doo (