– ReutersSouth Korean director Kim Tae-Yong (right) and U.S. film critic Stephanie Zacharek at a press conference for the Busan worldwide Film Festival in Busan on October 2, 2015. Asia’s largest movie festival kicks off Thursday at a time when the region’s influence on the global movie industry is on the rise.
The opening night film on Thursday was the world premiere of the Indian drama “Zubaan”, which tells the story of a young Indian man who moves to a big city to pursue his dream of success as a musician but becomes consumed by bigger questions about his life.
While many stars and veteran filmmakers are attending, much of the spotlight is being focused on budding Asian directors.
Hundreds of people, many wearing raingear, packed the Busan Cinema Center for the opening ceremony despite heavy wind warnings triggered by Typhoon Dujuan.
Prestigious Japanese animator Studio Ghibli received the 2015 Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award for its contribution to the development of the Asian film industry and Asian culture.
Singh said he felt “extremely humbled” that his film was given the opportunity to open the festival on its 20th birthday. The festival will close with Chinese director Larry Yang’s “Mountain Cry” based on the award-winning novel of the same title.
Films already being heralded as Oscar contenders are also spread around the festival’s various programs, including Hou Hsiao-hsien’s sumptuous martial arts epic “The Assassin”. Earlier this year, the Korean Film Council announced it was cutting the festival’s funding by about half, from $1.3 million to $730,720.
Growth in the first eight months of this year is estimated to have been even higher at 49 percent, and the Chinese market alone is expected to out-earn North America by 2018.