The Asian Film Market and the Project market over the years has gained importance, with the market taking an active interest in the India story. Box Office India speaks to Daniel Kim, General Manager of the Asian Film Market of the Busan International Film Festival.
Over the last couple of years how do you reckon the Asian Film Market has shaped up?
We have recently been offering the existing sales market, as well as the co-production market and the future potential events that can only be experienced here at the Asian Film Market. Last year, we launched the world’s first Entertainment Intellectual Property (E-IP) market to introduce the intellectual properties such as web-comics (web-toons), web-novels, TV variety programs, animations, games and more, which would be suitable to be cinematized in new media platforms. This year, as we celebrate our second E-IP market, we are developing into a market that would be accomplishing visible results; and next year we are planning to expand our regions to other Asian countries in order to introduce their outstanding original resources as well. If we continue to provide original sources that can cross over and be reproduced among different platforms along with the existing Book To Film and E-IP market, we expect we can drag the attention of the producers accordingly from all over the world.
What has been the goal of the market and how do you see the same being accomplished?
The goal of the Asian Project Market remains the same from when it started in 1998 in the name of PPP (Pusan Promotion Plan), the Asia’s first co-production market: to discover unique projects of the talented up-and-coming directors. The only difference that was made along the way was until 2005, we were only looking at Asia but from 2006, we started to accept projects from all over the world. For 19 years, we have selected 499 projects and a total of about 200 projects have been completed into films and have been shown in major film festivals all over the world. Numerous directors such as Jia Zhangke, Wang Xiaoshuai and Wang Chao from China, Kim Ki-duk, and Bong Joon-ho from Korea, Jafar Panahi from Iran and Murali Nair from India have been discovered and spotlighted through the Asian Project Market.
What is the idea behind the market and how do you think Indian filmmakers and producers can benefit from it?
The biggest strength of the Asian Film Market is that it runs during the well-known Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which is the biggest film festival in Asia. Also, Korea has the largest film audience in the world (the average number of films watched by one person per year is 4.22 as of 2015), and Korea is ranked as the sixth country to produce the most domestic films (269 films as of 2015). Through BIFF, good Indian films can be introduced to the mass audience and through the Asian Film Market, the upcoming films or projects can be shown and Indian film professionals can discover original sources for producing Indian films.
What are the indicators coming off from the market this year in terms of deals and the way the industry is moving?
Unlike other international markets, Asian Film Market runs for only four days, therefore we keep track of the records of contracts after the market period. Of course there are some closed deals, we however need some time to collect the records after the event. In the case of Korea, <Train to Busan> has been an international success and dragged a lot of attention not only to the Korean films but also to other Asian genre films which may turn the tendency of buying completed films into pre-buying them.
Among 299 selections this year at BIFF, there were 16 Indian films which is 5 per cent of the total. On the other hand, there were 10 Indian participants at the Asian Film Market which was only 0.8 per cent of the whole participants. Most of them were distributors and the participation of producers or investors remained low. In 2015, India recorded 2 billion moviegoers and in 2014 and there were over 2,000 domestic films produced which is the world’s biggest number of domestic films produced. Also, in 2015, Korea and India signed the agreement on cooperation in audio-visual co-production and according to this, vigorous co-productions are expected to take place. Even though both countries are more likely to spend their own domestic films, now is the right time to collaborate on film co-productions more active between Korea and India. Also, in order to produce such a big number of films, more stories and contents are necessary. Therefore, the E-IP market at the Asian Film Market is a great opportunity for the Indian film professionals to achieve their needs.
What have been some of the record deals at the earlier markets, including the current one?
This year, Summer, a Corpse from Nowhere, a “Book To Film” selection made a contract for film adaptation on the first day of the market. Last year, five out of 10 E-IP pitching selections were contracted and more of selections will make progress soon.