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Vietnam’s ‘Rom’ wins top prize at Busan Film Fest

Saturday, October 12, 2019, 11:40 GMT+7
Vietnam’s ‘Rom’ wins top prize at Busan Film Fest
A poster for Vietnamese film ‘Rom’.

Vietnamese coming-of-age drama “Rom” and Iraq-Qatar co-production “Haifa Street” shared the top award in the New Currents competition section of the Busan International Film Festival.

The prizes were announced on Saturday morning in Busan, South Korea, Variety reported.

Rom, directed by Tran Dung Thanh Huy, follows a young bookie in bustling Ho Chi Minh City as he tries everything he can to help the residents of an old apartment complex keep their homes and fulfil his dream of finding his parents, the film’s synopsis reads.

The New Currents jury, headed by British director Mike Figgis, praised the Vietnamese film for its impressive use of “real, live locations” and “very satisfying” ending, Variety reported.

Rom is the first Vietnamese entry to receive the New Currents Award, which is given to the two best feature films selected from the first or second works of new Asian directors introduced in the New Currents section.

Haifa Street, a joint Iraq-Qatar production, shared the New Currents prize this year.

The film was praised as “a mature, grown up movie” made by a director that “exhibited a confidence and understanding of cinema language which set the film apart.”

A grand prize of US$30,000 is awarded to each of the two films.

A scene from Vietnamese film 'Rom'.
A scene from Vietnamese film 'Rom'.

That Rom remained in competition at Busan was a surprise to Vietnamese fans, as the film’s producers had previously filed to have it withdrawn following run-ins with Vietnamese authorities over licensing issues.

The film’s producers had reportedly submitted Rom to compete at Busan before it was licensed for screening in Vietnam, which is against Vietnamese regulations.

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), held annually in Busan, South Korea, was the first international film festival in South Korea and remains one of the most significant film festivals in Asia.

This year, in the festival’s 24th edition, organizers said that they had screened 299 films, of which 118 were world premieres, from 85 countries and territories.

Audience numbers over the ten-day period, between October 3 and 12, totaled 189,000.

A cinema is packed at the screening of Vietnamese film ‘Anh Trai Yeu Quai’ (Dear Devil Brother) at the 24th Busan International Film Festival in Busan, South Korea. Photo: CJ
A cinema is packed at the screening of Vietnamese film ‘Anh Trai Yeu Quai’ (Dear Devil Brother) at the 24th Busan International Film Festival in Busan, South Korea. Photo: CJ

A number of other awards of the 24th BIFF were also announced on Saturday.

The Kim Ji Seok Award, named after the festival’s co-founder and executive programmer who died in 2017, was jointly presented to Sarmad Sultal Khoosat’s “Circus of Life” (Pakistan) and to Pradip Kurbah’s “Market” (India).

Korean director Jung Jae Eun, Japanese director Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Dogwoof Founder Andy Whittaker presented the BIFF Mecenat Awards to Kim Jeong Keun’s “Underground” (South Korea) and Hou Ning’s “Noodle Kid” (China).

The actor and actress of the year awards, given to on screen talent in the Korean Cinema Today—Vision section title, went to Kim Jun Hyung and Mun Hye In in “The Education.”

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