Busan festival puts Asian film in spotlight

The South Korean festival helping bring attention to the region's blossoming film industry.

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Asia's largest film festival starts in South Korea tomorrow, offering a window into regional cinema and a rare screening of a North Korean film.

Organisers of the 17th Busan International Film Festival have stressed the event's importance in promoting Asia's film industry, within which South Korea's booming domestic market is a current bright spot.

Much attention is expected to be focused on North Korea's romantic comedy Comrade Kim Goes Flying, with its filmmakers having been invited to the screening. It is the first time such an invitation has been extended to the North. Busan organisers say they are awaiting a reply.

"We are proud to say that we have played our part in the cultural exchange between North and South Korea," said the festival director Lee Yong-Kwan. "The likeliness of these films being presented at other internationally prestigious film festivals is low," he said.

The 10-day event will close with the world premiere of the Bangladeshi director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki's humour-laced drama Television. Farooki said the screening would draw global attention to his country's nascent film industry. "I believe it will inspire a whole generation of younger filmmakers to believe in themselves and dream even bigger," he said.

Busan will also showcase Afghan films saved from the Taliban by the Afghanistan National Film Archive. The Window on Asian Cinema section features 49 films from 11 countries across the region. * AFP