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THE APARTMENT WITH TWO WOMEN Wins a Record 5 Awards in Busan, Including a New Currents Award

Oct 19, 2021
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
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Kwon Hadam and Im Jeeho Win Actor and Actress of the Year Awards at BIFF 



Despite ongoing social distancing regulations in effect across Korea, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) recaptured much of its pre-Covid glory for this year’s 26th edition, which welcomed back international guests and press after staging a more closed off event last year. 


Topping the awards roster this year were Kim Sein’s homegrown indie The Apartment with Two Women and Wang Er Zhuo’s Chinese film Farewell, My Hometown, which shared the top prizes in BIFF’s signature New Currents competition.


From 29-year-old debut filmmaker Kim Sein, The Apartment with Two Women, which follows a particularly dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship, also picked up the Actress of the Year Award for Im Jeeho, who plays the daughter. The film also took home this year’s KB New Currents Audience Award, the NETPAC Award, and one of two Watcha Awards for a total of five prizes, the most awards picked up by a single film in the festival’s history.


This year’s Kim Jiseok Awards went to the Indian film The Rapist from Aparna Sen and Brillante Mendoza’s Filipino work Gensan Punch. A special mention was reserved for Wang Qi’s Chinese film The Bargain.


In the Wide Angle Documentary section, the Korean Mecenat Award was picked up by Heo Chulnyung’s Thai-Korean co-production 206: Unearthed, while the Asian Mecenat Award was bestowed on Zhang Mengqi’s Chinese title Self Portrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM. The Flash Forward Audience Award went to Fran Kranz’s American film Mass, and the Busan Cinephile Award was picked up by Zhao Liang for the film I’m So Sorry.


Earning the Actor of the Year accolade was Kwon Hadam, for his performance as a young man struggling to enter the workforce in Oh Seongho’s Through My Winter, which also won the other Watcha Award and a DGK Megabox Award.


Also earning three prizes was Yoon Seojin’s Chorokbam, including the CGV Arthouse Award, the Citizen Critics’ Award, and the CGK Award, which went to cinematographer Choo Kyeongyeob.


Park Songyeol’s Hot in Day, Cold in Night earned two prizes, the Critic b Award, and the KBS Independent Film Award, Kim Miyoung’s A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea won the other DGK Megabox Award and Park Kang’s Seire took home the FIPRESCI prize.  


Meanwhile, in Wide Angle Shorts, the Korean film A Winter Glove from Lee Hyeonju and Tumpal Tampubolon’s Indonesian work The Sea Calls for Me shared the Sonje Award, while Li Mingyang’s Sarira from China received a special mention.

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