And in second and third place, Korea with Choi Kook-hee's Split and Chang's Canola.
#FEFF19 closes with 60,000 attendees from over 40 nations.
The audience of the Far East Film Festival – who, since April 1999, have been the only judges of the films in competition (71, this year, out of the 83 in the vast programme) – gave the prize to the sweet, surreal Close-Knit by Ogigami Naoko, director of (beloved) little cult gem Rent-a-neko. And so, by popular demand, Japan takes home the Golden Mulbery 2017. On the second and third steps of the podium, though, are South Korea with sports drama Split by Choi Kook-hee and the touching melodrama Canola by Chang. And while Close-Knit also won the "quality award" of the Black Dragon pass holders, the MYmovies web-judges chose Mad World by Wong Chung, featuring a memorable performance from Hong Kong legend Eric Tsang (Golden Mulberry for Lifetime Achievement 2017, let's not forget, along with Feng Xiaogagang).
After nine days of showings, talks, meeting and panels – and without forgetting the brightly-coloured initiatives in the city centre - it is therefore time to take stock of this nineteenth chapter. An edition that, despite being the largest ever, has certainly not lost any of its unmistakable pop style, both in its now-famous laid-back atmosphere and in the various Asian zones in Udine (the “Giovanni da Udine” Teatro Nuovo, the Visionario and the city centre, dotted once again with the 100 Far East Events).
Nine days which the audience has continually shared with actors, divas, superstars, directors and cinema professionals of all kinds, as well as with the 10 young talents of the FEFF Campus, the journalism school led by Mathew Scott, the producers of the international Ties That Bind workshop (in its ninth Italian session) and the key players who converged on the FEFF from all over the world for the second edition of Focus Asia.
If, as per well-established tradition, the weather chose once again not to be generous, #FEFF19 has confirmed the fantastic results of the 2016 edition. Let's let the numbers speak for themselves: 60,000 attendees, 140 Asian guests, 1,200 pass holders (journalists, critics, film-makers, experts, cinema professionals and film-lovers, not only from Asia), 120 thousand euros of takings (including tickets and passes). Visitors - including the Focus Asia professionals - from more than 40 countries, including Austria, Spain, Germany, England, Japan, the United States, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, Croatia, the Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Belgium, Norway, Romania, Slovenia (students and teachers from the University of Ljubljana in particular) and Brazil.
More a "Festival of Cinema" than just a straightforward “Festival”, over time, the FEFF has become a genuine "Island of cinema": a place where movies are shown, discussed and dreamed up (two projects presented at Focus Asia, the FEFF's new genre film market, have already found financial backing). Popular, instantly recognizable films which are easily cataloged (by genre and origin) in a way that allows the organizers to structure the programme like an on-demand platform and the viewers to make their own decisions.
Having grown and grown up alongside the FEFF, edition after edition, the public (or more precisely, the wonderful tribe of Fareasteners) knows exactly what it wants from Asian showbiz and what it wants from the festival. "The FEFF is so exciting,” say Sabrina Baracetti and Thomas Bertacche, President and Festival Coordinator, “because there is no distance between the people who organize it, the guests and the public. Local and international. Everyone is committed to making the people around them feel at home. It's a great moment of civility." And so the only thing left to do is make a date in Udine for the 20th edition, from the 20th to the 28th of April 2018!
Press Office / Far East Film Festival 19
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