Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has announced the 29 projects selected for this year’s Asian Project Market (APM), a core strand of the festival’s industry activities, including new works from Thailand’s Aditya Assarat, China’s Wang Qi, Vietnam’s Le Bao and Myanmar’s Maung Sun, whose producer Ma Aeint is currently in prison in Yangon.
Ma Aeint, who previously produced Maung Sun’s award-winning Money Has Four Legs, was recently sentenced to three years in jail with hard labour by Myanmar’s military junta, which took over the country in a brutal coup in early 2021. She was accused of “causing fear, spreading fake news or agitating against government employees”. She is attached as a producer to Maung Sun’s new project, Future Laobans, described as a drama about the “international dimension of organized crime.”
Assarat, an award-winning Thai director (Hi-so, Wonderful Town), is returning to feature-length directing after focusing on producing, contributing to omnibus projects and co-managing the Purin Pictures film fund for the past ten years. He is bringing a project entitled The Thonglor Kids, produced by Singapore’s Fran Borgia, to APM.
Wang Qi, who won a Kim Jiseok Award Special Mention for The Bargain at last year’s BIFF, is bringing a project called Red River. Le Bao, whose feature debut Taste (2021) played in Berlin and Busan, is bringing The Sea Is Calm Tonight, a project that juxtaposes stories of Myanmar’s Rohingya refugees and boat people from Vietnam.
Female Asian directors in the line-up include Afghan filmmakers Sahraa Karimi, whose feature debut Hava, Maryam, And Ayesha (2019) played in Venice, and Roya Sadat (A Letter To The President); along with Iran’s Dornaz Hajiha, whose debut Like A Fish On The Moon played at this year’s Karlovy Vary, and is bringing an Iran-China-Hong Kong co-production to Busan (see full list of projects below).
Korean projects include The Day of Dongkyeong, directed by Kim Se-in, who won five prizes including the New Currents Award at last year’s BIFF for The Apartment With Two Women.
This year’s APM decided to exclude non-Asian projects in order to “provide more focused support for Asian projects”, and also tightened its selection criteria to projects from filmmakers who have directed at least one short or full-length feature film, and producers who have participated in the production of at least one full-length feature film.
Three films supported by the Asian Cinema Fund’s Script Development Fund will also be included as APM projects as BIFF moves towards strengthening ties among its various strands. New project awards are also being introduced from sponsors including Taiwan’s TAICCA, Japan’s VIPO and Cambodia’s Kongchak Studio.
APM 2022 will take place as an in-person event for three days from October 9-11 during the Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM) in the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO).
ASIAN PROJECT MARKET 2022 LINE-UP:
20th Century Girls, dir: Choi Jinyoung, prod: Kim Sungwoo (Korea)
Beyond The Frame, dir: Lee I-Hui, prods: Estela Valdivieso Chen, Hazel Wu (Taiwan)
The Day Of Dongkyeong, dir: Kim Sein, prod: Jang Jiwon (Korea)
Diaphanous, dir: Dornaz Hajiha, prod: Isabelle Glachant (Iran, Hong Kong, China)
Erinyes, dir: Jung Wonhee, prod: Jero Yun (Korea)
Future Laobans, dir: Maung Sun, prods: Maung Sun, Ma Aeint (Myanmar)
Gaspar, dir: Yosep Anggi Noen, prods: Yulia Evina Bhara, Cristian Imanuell (Indonesia)
Hana, dir: Lee Dong-eun, prod: Choi Sun-hee (Korea)
In The Land Of Brothers, dir: Raha Amirfazli, prod: Adrien Barrouillet (France, Iran)
The Kid, dir: Oh Seongho, prod: Kwun Jungin (Korea)
Last Shadow At First Light, dir: Nicole Midori Woodford, prod: Jeremy Chua (Singapore, Japan, Slovenia)
Life I Stole, dir: Sugua Putri Purnama, prod: Tan Cher Kian (Malaysia)
Loop Out, dir: Kim Dukjoong, prod: Jung Hyunjung (Korea)
My Kabuliwala, dirs: Balaka Ghosh, Sahraa Karimi, prods: Maxine Williamson, Kumud Ranjan, Defrim Isai (India, Australia)
My Sunshine, dir: Hiroshi Okuyama, prod: Nishigaya Toshikazu (Japan)
One Of A Kind, dir: Iram Parveen Bilal, prods: Apoorva Bakshi, Abd Aziz Merchant, Iram Parveen Bilal (Pakistan, U.S.)
People’s Violence (working title), dir: Mori Tatsuya, prod: Kobayashi Sanshiro (Japan)
Rashid, dir: Prithvi Konanur, Thejaswi Konanur (India)
Red River, dir: Wang Qi, prods: Clarissa Zhang, Pan Yan (China)
Safa, dir: Maksud Hossain, prods: Maksud Hossain, Trilora Khan, Barkat Hossain, Tanveer Hossain (Bangladesh)
The Sea Is Calm Tonight, dir: Le Bao, prod: Lai Weijie (Singapore)
Sima’s Song, dir: Roya Sadat, prod: Alba Sotorra (Spain, Netherlands, France)
Soldier Of Love, dir: Farkhat Sharipov, prods: Dina Zhumabek, Julia Kim (Kazakhstan)
Something About Us, dir: Jungeun, prod: Park Doohee (Korea)
The Thonglor Kids, dir: Aditya Assarat, prod: Fran Borgia (Thailand, Singapore)
Tiger’s Pond, dir: Natesh Hegde, prod: Rishab Shetty (India)
Turning Pages (working titles), dir: Eugene Suen, prod: Kim Heejeon (Korea, U.S.)
The Way To School, dir: Chung Jiyoung, prod: Jeong Sangmin (Korea)