These are the winners of the Asian Project Market 2021, which was held for three days from October 12th – 14th, during the Busan International Film Festival.
About the Asian Project Market (APM):
APM is a first launched co-production platform in Asia that offers emerging filmmakers the opportunity to meet international leading film professionals.
After launching in 1998 as Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), it has grown into the biggest and most important pre-market in Asia. In 2011, it was renamed as Asian Project Market and has been successfully delivering its role as cradle of creativity.
Each year APM discovers fresh feature film projects ranging from big-scale commercial ones to low-budget indies to link them with global film investors, producers and distributors. Numerous APM projects have already made it through to completion and received positive responses from both film festivals and international audiences. As such, APM continues to earn greater interest from filmmakers around the world.
– Winners –
Secret of My Father by Jéro Yun | Producer: Mo Sung-Jin | Korea
Production Company: Haegrimm Pictures. Co., Ltd. and K PLUS Y | Genre: Thriller, Drama
Project Status: Pre-production
Synopsis: Tae-seong, in his 20s, has just got out of the military. His dream is to become a musician. However, his mother wants him to have a stable job. She asks him to accompany his father on a business meeting with a shoe factory employer. She wants him to have some experience in commerce. Reluctantly, he accepts, and goes with his father to Incheon, where his father′s secret is revealed, causing a shocking incident, and the happy middle-class family is destroyed.
About the Award: Financed by Busan Metropolitan City, the Busan Award commits 15,000USD in cash to one selected project chosen from the official APM line-up. Busan Metropolitan City administers additional annual funds, aiming to lend stronger financial support to promising filmmakers participating at APM.
CJ ENM Award
Before, Now & Then by Kamila Andini | Producer: gita Fara, Ifa Isfansyah | Indonesia
Production Company: Fourcolours Films | Genre: Drama
Project Status: Post-Production
Synopsis: It is 1960 and a woman, NANA, cannot escape her past. The war and conflict in West Java were responsible for the loss of her husband, who was kidnapped and taken into the forest. Nana escaped from the gang, who wanted to make her a wife. This incident also cost the life of her father, causing her to fall into poverty, and also the loss of her child. Nana still dreams about them, even though she has started a new life with RADEN DARGA. Life is good with her new husband of Sundanese high society, and four children from his second marriage. Even so, dreams of the past keep returning and Nana doesn′t know why.
Although Nana is now living comfortably in a Menak (Rich) family, life is not easy for her. Many people around her still consider her a peasant, only interested in her husband′s wealth. Through many events that take place in their house, Nana is made well aware that her real place is only in the kitchen, not beside her husband. Furthermore, her husband’s patriarchal values and lifestyle at the time mean he is involved with other women. Nana can only be silent, although little by little, sores appear on her head.
Until, one day, Nana meets INO, one of her husband′s mistresses; a woman who is different from the others. Ino enters Nana′s life like water, freeing Nana from her feelings like a breath of fresh air. Ino becomes the only one with whom she can share her past as well as her present. They support each other. Her friendship with Ino makes Nana′s married life all the more complex, until one day she runs into her ex-husband, the man in her dreams, who is still alive! Now Nana′s past merges with her present life, and she continues her search for what freedom really means for a woman.
About the Award: CJ ENM Award commits 10,000USD in cash to an international project. The ‘First Look Option’ regarding production, investment, sales and distribution of the awarded project may be bestowed by CJ ENM through discussions between the winner and CJ ENM before presenting the award.
Fixed Love, Fixed Girl by Lim Sun-ae | Producer: Park Kwansu | Korea
Production Company: Kirin Productions | Genre: Drama
Project Status: Financing
Synopsis: It is 1999; the end of the millennium. KIM Yeong-mi, from accounts, is known for her unattractive looks, of which her co-workers constantly remind her by calling her names. KOO Do-yeong, from distribution, is the only male colleague who is nice to Yeong-mi, and she develops a crush on him. Her feelings grow, and when Yeong-mi discovers that KOO has been pocketing money from accounts receivable, she replaces it with her own money, taking on extra shifts to cover the costs. KOO finds out and turns himself in to the police, but Yeong-mi is also sentenced to 6 months in prison. Upon her release, she finds KOO’s wife, CHO Yoo-jin, waiting for her. It was during police questioning that Yeong-mi first learned of her existence. She was shocked to hear that there was a wife, and that the wife has a Grade One disability causing total paralysis. Now, she is even more shocked to see that the wife is beautiful, with delicate, doll-like features. Yeong-mi is embarrassed, jealous and feels a sense of betrayal rather than compassion. Yoo-jin makes a strange offer. She explains that she and KOO did not marry out of love, and promises to pay back everything Yeong-mi lost if she will help her to locate a nephew who is illegally using Yoo-jin’s name to borrow and spend money. Yeong-mi is confused but she is also flat broke and has no place to stay. She accepts Yoo-jin’s offer and they begin living together. Yeong-mi cooks, cleans and looks after Yoo-jin. Will Yeong-mi get back her money and her love?
About the Award: About the Award: KB Award commits 10,000,000KRW in cash to one selected Korean project chosen from the official APM line-up.
Lives of Crime by Hsieh Pei-Ju, Yang Chieh, Huang Dan-Chi, Lee I-Hui | Producer: Estela Valdivieso Chen, Hazel Wu | Taiwan
Production Company: Serendipity Films | Genre: Crime, Comedy
Project Status: Financing, Pre-Production
Synopsis: Qiu-Tao (female, 59), an ex-convict guilty of money laundering, now works hard to make a living. She lives in poverty in her old age, until she decides that the only way to turn her life around is to defraud the company of her ex-husband, who has been lying to her all her life.
Zhen-Shu (female, 30), who has failed for many years to pass the prosecutor’s examination, is strongly attracted to her neighbor, masseur Leo (male, 30). Struggling between morality and lust, she realizes that confronting her own desires is the only way to break free of the demons in her mind.
Mimi (female, 16), a lonely live-streamer, immerses herself in the virtual online world to validate her existence. After going viral, she becomes all the more obsessed and even sacrifices a precious, real-world friendship.
A-Ju (female, 55) and Shi-Ying (female, 38), both victims of domestic violence, meet by chance. In the past, A-Ju castrated her husband in order to free herself from his clutches, and now Shi-Ying has to kidnap her own son to enable their escape. With lives that they both find hopeless and ridiculous, the two women decide to help each other.
These criminal women come and go in one another’s lives. Their harsh, turbulent existences and their frailties force them to the edges of society, having endured violence, betrayal and poverty. Their only remaining option is to struggle to find a way out for themselves.
About the Award: NUTRILITE Award commits 10,000,000KRW in cash to one selected project chosen from the official APM line-up.
ArteKino International Award
If wood could cry, it would cry blood by Nguyen Phan Linh Dan | Producer: Ngo Thi Bich Hanh | Vietnam
Production Company: Vietnam Studios, May Pictures | Genre: Drama, Coming of Age, Historical
Project Status: Development, Pre-production
Synopsis: Adapted from the autobiographical novel, ‘Tam Van Phong Dao’, by famous Vietnamese comedian, Mac Can, the movie delves into his past, as the middle child in a family-run traveling circus. The film centers on the three siblings who, together, perform the famous knife-throwing act. Ba, a quirky 14-year-old boy is the one who holds the wooden board into which his older brother, Hai, throws knives. To add extra thrill to the performance, their little sister, Tu, stands in front of the board. His brother′s talent and his little sister′s fearlessness create the blueprint for a tragedy waiting to happen. Born as the only girl in a family of circus performers, Tu was ‘destined’ by her own father to become a target girl. Women in peril have always been a recognizable fad in entertainment. At its core, this is a coming-of-age story, exploring identity and one’s place as an individual within a family and society. The movie unveils the world inside Ba’s head, as he attempts to save his sister from the inevitable fate he has foreseen in his dreams, under the financial pressures of their family life and the political pressures of a country at war.
About the Award: ARTE Kino awards 6,000EUR in cash to a project chosen from the official APM line-up. The winner may allow the screening of the film on the ARTE Kino Festival website.
Pop Up Film Residency Award
Elephants in the Fog by Abinash Bikram Shah | Producer: Anup Poudel | Nepal
Production Company: Underground Talkies Nepal | Genre: Drama, Thriller
Project Status: Script Development
Synopsis: Elephants in the Fog is about a group of five trans-women, who are on the verge of breaking up, living in a small village terrorized by wild elephants. Led by the witty and sly matriarch, PIRATI (40), they make ends meet by performing at other people’s celebrations. Each night, they volunteer a member for the village patrol team, to keep the wild elephants away.
PIRATI is an amateur practitioner of herbal medicine, who provides free herbal treatments for the villagers, listens to their secrets, and deliberately demeans herself in front of them in order to keep them happy and win their trust. She is impatient to develop her herbal medicine business, which is slowly gaining momentum, and desires to quit her current profession. But the final decision rests in the hands of PIRATI’s guru, the ‘grandmother’ of their group.
One night, the youngest member of the group, APSARA goes missing. Blame falls on PIRATI, whose negligence of the family due to her personal aspirations, and her everyday conflicts with the other trans-women, could have played a part in APSARA’s disappearance. Her guru, annoyed, orders PIRATI to find APSARA before their Biwaha ceremony in ten days, or else, she will not let her leave. PIRATI must now find APSARA if she wants to be free to pursue her dreams.
But in her search, PIRATI has to deal with the villagers and the patrol team, who don’t care about her group; the police, who have better things to do than find a missing trans-woman; APSARA’s family, for whom APSARA has been dead since she came out; and the deep, dark forest, which holds greater threats than the wild elephants.
About the Award: Pop Up Film Residency and APM collaborate to offer one selected filmmaker with an APM official project an opportunity to take part in an individual, tailor-made 3 week-long residency program in Europe in 2022.
Spectrum by Kim Bora | Producer: Byun Seungmin | Korea
Production Company: Climax Studio | Genre: Sci-fi, Drama
Project Status: Script Development
Synopsis: In the near future, Do-yeon, a woman in her 40s, works at the Korean Astronomical Research Institute as a narrator for presentations of space images at a planetarium. She has been living in the same house for 40 years; her life is simple. But now she feels something needs to change.
She decides to learn how to drive an old-fashioned, conventional car, not a self-driving car, and to go to Arizona, a place of which she has always dreamed. At the driving academy, which has opened again due to a retro craze, Do-yeon meets Steve Linda, an attractive driving instructor. Steve Linda underwent a nonbinary transition to become male. He wants to be called by two names to keep Linda as a part of him.
During driving class, Do-yeon spontaneously tells Steve Linda about her mother, Hee-jin, an astronaut who went missing for 20 years before returning to Earth. Along with all the other fake news around, people usually treat Hee-jin’s tale like some kind of ghost story, but Steve Linda listens sincerely to Do-yeon and asks her questions without prejudice. Do-yeon shares stories of Hee-jin’s beautiful and extraordinary experiences in space whenever she meets Steve Linda.
About the Award: MONEFF Award commits 20,000 USD in post-production service and facilities, especially editing or VFX to a project chosen from the official APM line-up.