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Iranian, Filipino claim top Asian film awards

An Iranian film and a Philippine one have shared the top awards for Asian productions at the region's largest film event.
/ Source: The Associated Press

An Iranian film and a Philippine one have shared the top awards for Asian productions at the region's largest film event.

Organizers of the Busan International Film Festival said Friday in a statement that the $30,000 New Currents Awards each went to Iranian director Morteza Farshbaf's "Mourning" and Philippine director Loy Arcenas's "Nino."

"Mourning" is about a deaf couple and their orphaned nephew while "Nino" is about a family gripped by greed.

While describing Farshbaf's film as a "confident attempt to create a new film language that is disturbing at times and heartwarming," organizers said that Arcenas has shown "a new rise of modern day values" through his work.

In the Flash Forward section — which awards non-Asian directors — Italy's Guido Lombardi claimed the top honor with "LA-BAS-A Criminal Education," which the organizers have described as "a multilayered, simply told story of the contemporary issue of migration." Lombardi also took away $30,000.

The nine-day film festival began last Thursday with a South Korean romance. On Friday it closed with veteran Japanese director Masato Harada's "Chronicle of My Mother," a story about a mother who slowly loses her memory and her repentant son.

This year marked the first time that the festival has been conducted without the leadership of its charismatic founder Kim Dong-ho, who stepped down last year amid health worries. The 16th edition also opened a new era for the event by being held in a lavish multiplex that cost $156 million to build.

Having opened recently, the showpiece Busan Cinema Center revealed structural problems on the last day of the event when rainwater leaked through at least a dozen cracks — worrying movie fans and prompting organizers to express regret and convene an emergency meeting.

South Korean movie fans Lee Yong-beom and Cho Ho-yeon expressed anxiety after they saw water profusely leaking from a steel corridor that hangs above the ground in the western section of the complex. Journalists also reported cracks widening at a press center in the building's southern section.

The leaks did not stop the organizers from going ahead with a closing ceremony in the evening. Earlier Friday, organizers and construction workers scrambled to stop the leaks.

Festival director Lee Yong-kwan blamed Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. for the cracks. The South Korean company, which built the theater, declined to comment, saying it had to investigate the holes first.

The Busan film festival, held in the South Korean port city, has featured 307 movies from 70 countries, organizers said. Nearly 200,000 people came to the festival at the new multiplex, they said.