‘Apartment’ and ‘Hometown’ Share Busan Festival’s New Currents Award

The Busan International Film Festival announced joint winners in both of its prestige sections, the New Currents competition for emerging Asian filmmakers and the Kim Jiseok showcase for works by the region’s more established directors.

Korean-made “The Apartment With Two Women” and Chinese film “Farewell, My Hometown,” both first features, shared the New Currents award.

In the Kim Jiseok award section Brillante Mendoza’s boxing drama “Gensan Punch” split the first prize with Aparna Sen’s “The Rapist.” In the same section, a special mention was made for “The Bargain,” by China’s Wang Qi.

The announcements were made on Friday morning at a press conference at which festival organizers critiqued matters such as levels of audience attendance, two delayed screenings and a new community outreach program.

They confirmed that just one guest tested preliminary positive for COVID-19 while in Busan. Festival staff will be subjected to a further two weeks of additional testing. Foreign guest numbers were painfully low at just 60, though that was an increase compared with 2020.

In a final report, organizers said that although cinema seating was limited to 50% of normal capacity, occupancy ran at 80% and that the festival welcomed 76,000 spectators. Screenings for the new On Screen section, which gave public screenings to three streaming series, were all sold out.

Busan’s market events also rebounded after last year’s first time as a largely online event. Online badge registrations climbed from 885 in 2020 to 1,479 in 2021. There were 200 online booths, up by 94 from last year. The E-IP Pitching section was particularly robust. It included 45 selections (from Korea, Japan and Taiwan) and organized 216 online meetings and a further 608 on site.

Speaking at the wrap event, new market chief Oh Seok-geun said that while he is keen to return to in-person events next year, a digital or hybrid component is likely to be retained. All of this year’s online market elements will remain available until the end of the month.

The festival will close later in the day with a screening of Longman Leung’s Anita Mui biopic “Anita.”

Busan International Film Festival 2021 Awards Winners

New Currents

“Farewell, My Home Town” dir. Wang Er Zhuo (China) (joint winner)

and

“The Apartment With Two Women” dir. Kim Se-in (South Korea) (joint winners)

Kim Jiseok Award

“The Rapist” dir. Aparna Sen (Joint winner)

“Gensan Punch” dir. Brillante Mendoza (Joint winner)

Special mention: “The Bargain” dir. Wang Qi (China)

BIFF Mecenat Award (documentary films)

Korea section: “206: Unearthed” Dir. Heo Chul-nyung (Korea-Thailand)

Asia section: “Self Portrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM” dir. Zhang Mengqi (China)

Sonje Award (short films)

“A Winter Glove” Dir Lee Hyeonju (Korea) (Joint winner)

“The Sea Calls for Me” Dir. Tumpal Tampubolon (Indonesia) (Joint winner)

Special mention: “Sarira” Dir. Li Mingyang (China)

Actor of the Year Award

Kwon Daham in “Through My Midwinter” (Korea)

Actress of the Year Award 

Im Jee-ho in “The Apartment With Two Women (Korea)

KB New Currents Award (audience prize)

“The Apartment With Two Women” Dir. Kim Se-in (Korea)

Flash Forward Audience Award

“Mass” Dir. Fran Kranz (U.S.)

NETPAC Award

“The Apartment with Two Women” Dir. Kim Se-in

FIPRESCI Award

“Seire” Dir. Park Kang

Busan Cinephile Award

“I′m So Sorry” Dir. Zhao Liang

CGK Award

“Chorokbam” Cinematographer: Choo Kyeong-yeob

DGK Megabox Award

“Through My Midwinter” Dir. Oh Seongho

“A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea” Dir. Kim Miyoung

Critic b Award

“Hot in Day, Cold at Night” Dir. Park Songyeol

CGV Arthouse Award

“Chorokbam” Dir. Yoon Seo-jin

KBS Independent Film Award

“Hot in Day, Cold at Night” Dir. Park Songyeol

Watcha Award

“Through My Midwinter” Dir. Oh Seongho

“The Apartment With Two Women” Dir. Kim Se-in

Citizen Critics’ Award

“Chorokbam” Dir. Yoon Seo-jin