The award was established in memory of Kim Ji-seok, the deputy director and executive programmer of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) who died of a heart attack in May 2017.
He devoted his whole life to discovering young Asian directors and supporting the growth of Asian cinema. This prize worth $10,000 is awarded to two films.
Directed by Tehran-based Afghan filmmaker Navid Mahmudi, “Drowning in Holy Water”, also known as “To Die in the Pure Water”, is a co-production between Iran and Afghanistan.
It is about Rona and Hamed, two young Afghans who are in love with each other. Searching for a better life, they have decided to immigrate to Europe but they have to make a big decision to make it happen, a decision that relates to their religion and beliefs.
“The Slaughterhouse” directed by Abbas Amini tells the story of Amir, who has recently been released from jail and finds himself in a difficult situation when his father, who works at a slaughterhouse, calls him to help him cover up a crime which has happened there.
In addition “The Art of Living in Danger”, a co-production between Iran and Germany, and “Sister J” by Lee Soojung from Korea received the BIFF Mecenat Award.
The BIFF Mecenat Award is granted to the best documentary from Korea and Asia in the Wide Angle competitive section.
In “The Art of Living in Danger”, director Mina Keshavarz recently discovered a family secret about her grandmother’s death. Her grandmother, forced to marry at a young age, gave birth to seven children and took her own life at the age of 35 during her eighth pregnancy.
The New Currents Award went to “A Balance” by Harumoto Yujiro from Japan and “Three”, a co-production of Kazakhstan, Korea and Uzbekistan by Pak Ruslan.
“Georgia” by Jayil Pak from Korea and “Mountain Cat”, a co-production between Mongolia and the UK by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir was presented with the Sonje Award, which is given to the best Korean and Asian short films in the Wide Angle section.