x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Small-budget films vie for top prize at Busan film festival

Kim Ji-seok, BIFF's executive programmer, highlighted the low-budget films as a reflection of the dedication needed to break into the film industry.

The 'New Currents' press conference during the 17th Busan International Film Festival, South Korea. Getty Images
The 'New Currents' press conference during the 17th Busan International Film Festival, South Korea. Getty Images

Two low-budget productions are among those vying for the top award at Asia’s premier film festival this week, with organisers praising their creativity despite their technical limitations.

The New Currents Award at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea carries with it two prizes of US$30,000 (Dh110,000) and is open to Asian filmmakers.

Among the 10 entries this year are the Korean director Lee Dong-ku’s Fatal, a coming-of-age drama made at a cost of US$3,000 (Dh11,020), and the Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s experimental film 36, which is set around 36 static images and cost $20,000 to produce.

“We were under dire circumstances but we were dying to make this film,” said Lee.

Nawapol explained that financial necessity meant he was involved in every aspect of the production. “I acted, did sound, moved props – anything that was needed to get this film made,” he said.

Kim Ji-seok, BIFF’s executive programmer, highlighted the two low-budget films as a reflection of the dedication needed to break into the film industry.

“I think it shows their desire and just how much sacrifice and hard work they are willing to put in,” he said. “And while these films might be missing some technical aspects, they show just how creative films in Asia can be.”

This year’s New Currents field represents eight Asian countries and includes two entries connected to acclaimed filmmakers.

From Iraq comes 111 Girls, an entry from the husband-and-wife team of Nahid Ghobadi and Bijan Zmanpira. The film focuses on a group of Kurdish women who threaten to commit mass suicide if their government cannot find them husbands. The acclaimed Iranian director Amir Naderi acts as producer on Kayan, a Lebanese film from the first-timer director Maryam Najafi. The film follows a single mother as she tries to run a business and her family in a foreign country.

The New Currents winners will be announced on Saturday, the final day of the festival. * AFP