Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Korean-Uzbek director Ruslan Pak nabbed the grand prize in the best international new talent category at the Taipei Film Festival on Wednesday for his film about third generation Koreans in Uzbekistan.
"Hanaan," about a Korean-Uzbek detective who tries to avenge the drug-fueled death of his friend, beat 11 other films to receive one of the festival's top prizes, which came with a cash award of NT$600,000 (US$20,114).
Another top prize at the competition -- the Special Jury Prize -- went to "Beyond the Hill," a film about a Turkish family in crisis by Turkish director Emin Alper, who received NT$300,000.
Veteran director Wang Tung, who chaired a panel of five judges, said it was "especially difficult" to select the top winners this year as each film was excellent. He said it took up to four rounds of voting for the judges to make the final decision.
Judges praised "Hanaan" for being "full of strength, simple yet strong," and its story for being “incredibly truthful.”
"Beyond the Hill" was touted for its "convincing world view and round characters," and for "fully expressing the fear of battling the enemy in one's heart."
Pak told CNA on the sidelines of the awards ceremony that the film, his first feature production, was based on the true story of his close friend, whose life story touched him deeply.
"There's nothing special about it. It's just real and human," Pak said, adding the film was completed on a low budget of around US$30,000.
Concerning future projects, the director said he plans to shoot an action movie in Moscow and a love story in Kazakhstan.
Also at the festival, the Audience's Choice Award went to the Taiwanese film "Touch of the Light" by Chang Jung-chi. Chang's film beat "GF*BF" by compatriot Yang Ya-che by a slender 0.2 points.
Special mentions were given to "Night#1" by Canadian director Anne Emond and to "The Mirror Never Lies" by Kamila Andini from Indonesia.
The annual film festival honors young filmmakers and new talents around the world. This year, 12 of around 200 submitted movies were selected to enter the final stage of the competition, organizers said.
The festival's NT$1 million grand prize will be announced on July 21. Forty Taiwanese feature film, documentaries, short films and animations will compete for the prize.
(By Christie Chen)