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Movie by monk from Bhutan to open Asia's top film festival

Feature film by Bhutanese Lama to open Asia's Busan International Film Festival

AFP, Tuesday 3 Sep 2013
lee yong kwan
Lee Yong-kwan, director of the Busan International Film Festival, speaks during a press conference in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. The festival will be held at the Busan Cinema Center and seven other movie theaters in the southern port city of Busan from Oct. 3-12 (Photo: AP)
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Views: 1013

A feature film made by a Bhutanese Lama will open Asia's top movie festival next month, organisers said Tuesday, adding it would emphasise the goal of discovering new movies and directors.

The October 3-12 festival in the southern city of Busan will feature 301 movies from 70 countries, including 95 screening their world premieres.

Launched in 1996, the annual Busan International Film Festival has developed into the largest of its kind in Asia.

Festival director Lee Yong-Kwan said this year's event would feaure a rich line-up of films by first-time directors from across the region. 

"We can say confidently that we've achieved an epoch this year by discovering many new directors and establishing the identity and diversity of Asian cinema," he said. "This year's festival will see many competent rookie directors."

Among them is Mongolian director Khoroldorj Choijoovanchig.

Selected as curtain-raiser is "Vara: A Blessing", the third film by Bhutanese Lama Khyentse Norbu. He wrote the screenplay based on an Indian short story "Rakta Aar Kanna" ('Blood and Tears').

Through south India's classical dance, Bharatanatyam, the movie tells a story of love, self-sacrifice and a woman's strength in adversity.

Lee said the "very beautiful" movie would "show the potential of Asia's film industry".

"The Dinner", an indie film by South Korean director Kim Dong-Hyun, will close the event. It recreates a series of misfortunes that could happen to any ordinary family.

The festival's most prominent award, The Asian Filmmaker of the Year, will go to Cambodian director Rithy Panh for preserving his country's films and audio-visual materials.

The director, who lost his family in a refugee camp during the Khmer Rouge regime, won the "Un Certain Regard" prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival with "The Missing Picture", in which he retold the history of Cambodia with elaborate dioramas. Life under the Khmer Rouge regime and its vestiges is the main theme of his works.

The festival will offer a special retrospective of some 70 signature films by South Korean director Im Kwon-Taek, winner of the 55th Berlin International Film Festival Honorary "Golden Berlin Bear".

There will also be special screenings of films from Central Asia and Ireland, and New Wave films, which had been forgotten due to the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, will also be shown.

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