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(PIFF) Jury hopes Pusan film festival will thrust Asian talents into world stage
By Kim Hyun
BUSAN, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has helped put Asian talents on the world map, but the western market still offers only limited access for Asian films, jury members of PIFF's sole competition section said Friday.

   PIFF "has been able to show the world that Asian cinema is very important and unique ... and should be seen worldwide," Christoph Terhechte, a jury member of the New Currents section and the head of the Berlin Film Festival international forum, said in a press conference.

   "It's true that the most daring films I've seen in Asia were in New Currents," he said. "Still, it's quite difficult in those (European) countries to distribute Asian films. I hope we can change that."

Jury members of the New Currents section pose for a photograph: Taiwanese actress Yang Kuei-Mei, Japanese costume designer Emi Wada, Indian director Murali Nair, Korean actress Kim Yun-jin and Christoph Terhechte, one of the Berlin Film Festival organizers (from L to R). (Yonhap)

New Currents is PIFF's only competition section for feature films dedicated to discovering and promoting talented Asian filmmakers. Thirteen films, all world or international premiers, are vying for the section's two US$30,000 awards this year, with its five-member jury headed by the award-winning Japanese costume designer Emi Wada.

   Sanjoy Nag of India ("Memories in March"), Lu Yang of China ("My Spectacular Theater", Sheron Dayoc of the Philippines ("Ways of the Sea") and Sivaroj Kongsakul of Thailand ("Eternity") are some of the eminent directors featured in the section.

   "In discovering new talents, we will consider how the films are making new challenges in the long history of cinema," Wada said, "because the new challenges they make today will influence filmmakers of the next generation."

   Kim Yun-jin, a Korean actress who is also active in the United States, said her role in the U.S. hit drama series "Lost" gained her personal fame, but the general U.S. audience is still largely unfamiliar with Asian cinema.

   "I think it was a life-changing experience for me," Kim, also a jury member and the star of Korean movies "Shiri" (1999) and "Harmony" (2010), said about her experience on "Lost."

   "But I'm surprised to find that the American audience has very little knowledge of Asian films in general," she added, "Hopefully, international film festivals such as the Pusan film festival will change that in the future."