And So it Ends. PIFF Wraps up its 15th Year

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BUSAN, South Korea –  And so it ends. The 15th Pusan International Film Festival came to a close Friday night with another packed house who came to watch the closing ceremonies and the final film “Camellia”, a Korean/Japanese/Thailand co-production shot in Busan.

The night will also be remembered as the end of an era for the festival, as Festival Director Kim Dong-ho steps down after 15 years of leading what started out as a small festival, into arguably, Asia’s best. An emotional ten minute retrospect into his time as the Festival Director preceded the final film.

"We are entering a new era for the Busan festival," Kim said. "And this new future will provide a center for film, not just for Korea but for Asia, and that is something this festival will start work on right now."

This year’s festival saw a total of 306 films screened, including 101 world premiers and 52 international premiers.

Attendance at the nine day event totalled 182,046, an almost 5% increase from the previous year. Coverage of the event was also up, with 2,237 accredited journalists, including over 400 from overseas. There were also over 7,000 accredited guests.

“PIFF, without a doubt, is the best thing that happens to this town each year. You get to see the good, the bad and the downright spectacular of world cinema,” said British expat Matthew Sidgreaves, whose been attending PIFF regularly for six years.

From next year, the festival will be held at the 133 million dollar Dureraum, or Busan Film Center.

Pusan International Film Festival Award Winners:

New Currents Award
Winner: The Journals of Musan – Directed by Park Jung-Bum (Korea)
Winner : Bleak Night. Directed by Yoon Sung-Hyun (Korea)

Flash Forward Award
Winner : Pure. Directed by Lisa Lngseth (Sweden)
Special Mention : Erratum. Directed by Marek Lechki (Poland)

Sonje Award for Short Films

Winner : Broken Night. Directed by Yang Hyojoo (Korea)
Winner : Inhalation. Directed by Edmund Yeo (Malaysia / Japan)
Special Mention: Unfunny Game. Directed by Park Jongchul (Korea)
Special Mention: The Journey. Directed by Yim Kyungdong (Korea)

PIFF Mecenat Award for Documentaries

Winner : Miracle on Jongno Street. Directed by Lee Hyuk-sang (Korea)
Winner : New Castle . Directed by Guo Hengqi (China)

FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Award

Winner : The Journals of Musan. Directed by Park Jung-bum (Korea)

NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award

Winner : Dooman River. Directed by Zhang Lu (Korea)

KNN Movie Award (Audience Award)

Winner : My Spectacular Theatre. Directed by Lu Yang (China)

Jeff Liebsch has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Eurobasket, Tribal Football and Yonhap News. He can be followed on Twitter at @chevybusan.

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