Pusan, whose strength lies in promoting Asian film cultures, favors Hong Kong films. The South Korean festival seeks to develop and promote young talents in the New Current section. Every year a few films from Hong Kong are selected on a par with titles from other Asian countries and regions, covering a variety of categories of films from glamorous productions that have traveled to big festivals to low-budget independent or avant-garde films. In 2009, apart from the Venice picks Prince of Tears and Accident, Ann Hui’s Night and Fog and Ho Yuhang’s Malaysian-Hong Kong-Korean coproduction At the End of Daybreak were shown in A Window on Asian Cinema section. In addition, Rita Hui’s first experimental feature Dead Slowly was selected in New Currents, its only competition section "featuring the first or the second feature films by the future leading directors of Asian cinema’ and where all films ‘are restricted to world/international premieres." (1)
Night and Fog. Photo courtesy of Golden Scene.
Pusan has showcased works by the independent filmmaker Fruit Chan and Edmond Pang Ho Cheung, as well as some of the New Wave production titles by filmmakers such as Stanley Kwan and Ann Hui, but it is rare for a Hong Kong title to win a prize in competition. No Hong Kong films have ever won the New Currents Award, while Chinese titles, including Xiao Wu, have won three times; the only Fipresci Award from the International Federation of Film Critics given to Hong Kong cinema was for Fruit Chan’s Made in Hong Kong in 1997. Taking into consideration Pusan’s significance in capturing, recognizing and promoting regional identity through the venue of innovative cinema, we may want to ask: why are fewer daring, innovative and challenging works from Hong Kong being made/shown? What kind of interlocking power dynamics between geopolitics, culture, financial situation, film institution, filmmaker and audience are at play?