The fifth edition of FOCUS ASIA, the industry section of the Far East Film Festival, concluded this year with a rigorously virtual awards ceremony. Thanks to its collaboration with 108 MEDIA, it offered a prize of $20,000 in international distribution this year to the best project selected in the new Far East in Progress section. Competing for the award were seven teams from seven different countries who over the past three days have been screening previews of scenes from their seven films, all still in post-production. And the winner of the 2020 edition is China/US/Italy co-production We Are Living Things by director Antonio Tibaldi.
Tibaldi is "thrilled to receive this award, during this unprecedented time, for this unconventional story that resonates with the current national and global controversies over migration, protectionism, and border patrols". "In this crazy year it's great to have such an important boost from FOCUS ASIA and 108 Media for the distribution of the film" say the producers Fan He (Enmaze Productions, China), Andrew K. Li (Usa), Stefano Mutolo (Berta Film, Italy) and Haider Rashid (Radical Plans, Italy).
The film represents the perfect synthesis of the work done by FOCUS ASIA in recent years to foster dialogue between different cultures and different skillsets and place Italy at the centre of a series of artistic and production exchanges.
In addition to this new section's work to seek out the best upcoming films, this year's programme also allowed the nine projects selected for the All Genre Project Market to identify possible partners and collaborations, and offered the 18 sales companies engaged in the export of European and Asian cinema the opportunity to promote their new films to the more than 30 buyers involved in the Get Ready For the Future section.
Not only did the transfer of the entire event online not compromise the high quality of the selected projects in the least nor the participation of important key figures from the sector, it also made possible over 800 requests for individual meetings over the space of just three days, confirming FOCUS ASIA’s vocation, both in a real and virtual guise, as the ideal place to bring together Asian and European stories, professionals and publics.
But alongside the business opportunities offered to all accredited participants, FOCUS ASIA 2020 aimed to provide space for looking at the challenges that the world film industry has faced in recent months, organizing a series of webinars and round tables on the future of production and festivals in Asia and Europe in collaboration with Ties That Bind, the main workshop for co-production between the two continents.
An extremely positive outcome, therefore, for this online edition of the Far East Film Festival market, which on the one hand highlights the surprising success of the creation of a virtual meeting space and on the other confirms the vital need to get to know each other in person, hopefully in Udine in April 2021.
Let's not forget that FOCUS ASIA is organized by the Centro Espressioni Cinematografiche/Far East Film Festival di Udine with the collaboration of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Audiovisual Fund and the MiBACT General Directorate for Cinema.