Busan film festival highlights politics, pizzazz

Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:57am EDT
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By Jonathan Hopfner

SEOUL (Reuters) - Asia's most renowned film festival drew to a close in the South Korean port city of Busan on Friday, with films from new directors in Iran and the Philippines capturing its main prizes in an affirmation of the event's focus on emerging Asian talent.

"Nino," a portrait of the decline of a wealthy family by Filipino director Loy Arcenas, took home one of the festival's two "New Currents" prizes, which award $30,000 to outstanding films by novice Asian directors.

The other went to "Mourning," an alternately somber and comic road movie by Iran's Morteza Farshbaf.

A wealth of content from countries such as Iran and Myanmar made the nine-day festival a more politically charged event than in previous years.

Organizers issued a statement expressing "serious concern" about the recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers on espionage charges, calling for their swift release.

Farshbaf welcomed the move, saying similar pressure had persuaded the Iranian government to release artists in the past.

"These (statements) are I think the only way that people can help, because if (filmmakers) speak about the situation we cannot work," he told Reuters this week.

"We have to wait for other people living in freer countries to express something about it."   Continued...