AFM: Busan market closes with increased attendance

The Korean market event has now closed, claiming increased attendance, numbers of screenings and deals over its 2011 edition.
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The Korean market event has now closed, claiming increased attendance, numbers of screenings and deals over its 2011 edition.

The accompanying Busan International Film Festival is still going strong, but for the market events, including BIFFCOM and the Asian Film Market (AFM), the organisers claimed 181 exhibitors and 1,098 badge holders, although no split of buyers and sellers was available.

70 deals were announced, all of them sales within Asia apart from single title sales to the Netherlands, Russia and the US, and Bounty picking up two films, Cyrill Boss & Philipp Stennert’s German family feature Victor and the Secret of Crocodile Mansion and Alexandra-Therese Keining’s Swedish drama With Every Heartbeat for Australian distribution. The titles mark a bit of a departure from its usual fare for the company, which also distributes under the banner Monster Pictures. Bounty is better known for its more adult fare, including Kink Crusaders (“When Missionary Just Won’t Do”), The Human Centipede, Exit Humanity and Erotibot.

Of the market events around the region, Busan sits some considerable distance below the dominant player, Hong Kong’s Filmart, and a little below Tokyo’s TIFFCOM, which comes shortly.

Last year, TIFF claimed 226 exhibitors (split 53% international, 47% Japanese), 817 buyers (56% international, 44% Japanese, up 14% on 2010) and US$3.3 million of deals done at the event. Breakdowns on sales suggested drama was the most sold film category, animation the most sold TV category.

The two major Chinese market events, the nascent Beijing and established Shanghai, haven’t released figures this year, although Shanghai claimed 700 deals for its 2011 event, made between 143 exhibitors and 2,015 buyers. Since China boasts over 2,000 mostly regional TV channels, it’s assumed most of the deals were individual title sales to local TV stations.

Although Filmart doesn’t release details on the value of deals done, it claimed 648 exhibitors for its March 2012 edition (up 9% on 2011) and more than 5,700 buyers (up 14% on 2011). The biggest jump was in the event’s Animation and Digital Entertainment pavilion, which boasted more than 200 exhibitors (up 39% on 2011).

One of Hong Kong’s major points of promotion recently has been the push to extend its business beyond Asia. The event has long had strong support from French and British participants, and 2011 saw the arrival of an American pavilion, which grew considerably for the 2012 edition.

All the events run in tandem with a film festival, offer simultaneous project markets/financing forums, usually offering a mix of local and regional prizes. Again, Hong Kong has led the way in reaching beyond Asia, offering entry into the Paris Project as one of the prizes in the project market.

The prizes on offer at Busan’s Asian Project Market focus predominantly on local rewards, including first look deals with two of the country’s major production and distribution companies (CJ Entertainment and Lotte). Further afield, in Busan and at other project markets in Asia, Technicolor Asia offers a post package for work done at its Thai facility. French-German network Arte offers a EUR6,000 award.

Malaysia aims to be the newest entrant on the market event calendar, its inaugural event now scheduled to run the week following Filmart next year.

As for Busan, it continues to grow but, one suspects, the value in business relationships with Korea is not necessarily built around content. Korean government-supported R&D institute ETRI signed MOUs earlier this year with NHNZ, Film Auckland and Digipost around development of 2D-3D conversion software, with NHNZ supplying its award-winning Life Force series to put the software through its paces.

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