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Iranian, Filipino take top Asian film awards

(BUSAN, South Korea-AFP) – An Iranian film that reveals the “heart and soul” of its director has shared the top award with a production from the Philippines at Asias largest cinematic event Friday.

Morteza Farshbafs “Mourning” was handed one of two US$30,000 prizes given in the New Currents award at the 16th Busan International Film Festival and the first-time director said he hoped his film revealed something of the life of common people in his homeland to the world.

“Mourning” follows the story of a deaf-mute couple who left to care for a young boy after his parents are killed in a car accident.

“It took a lot of people a lot of time to make this film and I am just thankful to everyone who helped me along the way,” said Farshbaf.

“There is a lot of myself in this film — my heart and my soul — so I am honoured by the fact that this festival chose my film to be in this competition.”

New Currents jury head Yonfan, the veteran Chinese director noted for such productions as the arthouse hit “Prince of Tears”, said the 13 films representing 12 countries that made it into the final field were so good they had presented unique problems.

“After the first round of selections the jury had only narrowed that field of 13 down to 10, so I think that shows how strong this years selections were,” the director said.

The award — which hands out two US$30,000 prizes to first- or second-time Asian directors — was shared by first-time Filipino director Loy Arcenas with his family drama “Nino”, which focuses on how people are pulled apart by greed.

An acclaimed New York-based production designer and theatre director, Arcenas said he had turned to cinema because the medium allowed him to explore the nature of human relationships.

“I have always been interested in chronicling human relationships and that is what I have tried to do with this film,” he said. “I think it is a very small, quiet film but I have tried to show how we as people relate to each other.”

The Busan festivals other main prize — the US$30,000 Flash Forward prize for young non-Asian filmmakers — was taken by Italian director Guido Lombardi who presented the gritty drama “La Bas — A Criminal Education”.

The nine-day Busan festival closes Friday.

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