As I previously wrote, the 12th edition of the Pusan International Film Festival opened last week in South Korea. One of the festival's newer initiatives, the Asian Film Market, started its second edition on Sunday. Variety's Patrick Frater reports that buyers and sellers "have been greeted with calls for a long-term approach to building a regional movie marketplace." The market has about the same number of participants as the inaugural edition last year, but the past twelve months have seen Korean exports drop by 50%, according to Variety.

In a separate article for Variety, Darcy Paquet writes of a possible bright spot for the industry: "Korean tradition has it that a good fright is the best way to fend off the summer heat," which explains why so many horror movies appear on South Korean screens between June and August. He says that, locally, there's a sense that the genre has undergone a "creative renewal." While horror movies also suffered from the national downturn in audiences, their producers have hopes that they will continue to appeal to foreign audiences, especially those in Europe and Latin America, and are making many of them available for the first time to buyers at the Asian Film Market.

Paquet notes three films that stood out this year, and one that's due out shortly. Black House (pictured) is the top grossing horror flick; it's a Korean-Japanese co-production, based on a Japanese novel, featuring "high production values and a well-known star in Hwang Jeong-min." Epitaph is set at a Seoul hospital during World War II and is a critical fave. Wide Awake is a medical thriller. The upcoming Shadows in the Palace, due for release on October 18, is already earning good buzz, according to Paquet. The murder mystery period piece premiered at the San Sebastian fest recently, where Jonathan Holland of Variety described it as "an Agatha Christie country-house mystery transposed to the royal court of Korea's Joseon dynasty, given a distinctive femme twist and then drenched with gore."
categories Movies, Cinematical