Buyers and Sellers Express Concerns over Busan’s First Hybrid ACFM Release Date | New
Busan’s 2021 Asian Contents & Film Market (ACFM) wrapped up yesterday (October 14), after a four-day hybrid event.
International sales meetings were held online while national participants from the Asian Project Market (APM) and E-IP market met onsite in Busan.
Last year’s market was held entirely online, and most Korean sales reps have not traveled overseas since the 2020 Berlinale.
“After the pandemic, we may continue to be hybrids with online market projections, but what everyone agrees is that the most important thing is to be able to meet, to see each other. in their eyes and hear their voices in person, âsays ACFM co. -director Oh Seok Geun.
His team reported a total of 1,479 participants from 55 countries and 853 companies received market badges. This is an increase from 885 participants from 45 countries and 611 companies last year.
In total, 200 booths from as many companies (including 94 newly added this year) and 23 countries were opened with 970 contents in transaction. The E-IP market saw 824 meetings and APM saw 515 meetings.
Danny Lee, head of international affairs for Korean sales company Contents Panda, was in Busan from October 10-13 and said he found it refreshing to be back in the seaside town to meet people in person again afterwards. two years.
âBusan felt like a film festival again and it was good to see foreign film festival programmers there. It feels like Covid-19 is disappearing in Korea and the film festival vibe is returning, âsaid Lee, who has met with representatives from Cannes, Berlin and Rotterdam in Busan.
âOur sales team has hosted many Zoom meetings and our Korean film crew has hosted many face-to-face meetings at the APM. We met a lot of other people in the Korean film industry on the street and on the occasion of a drink, so we exchanged again. It was a holiday weekend so it was very busy and the atmosphere was good. I have a feeling that next year we may be able to become fully functional again. ”
The participation rate depended on the impact of the pandemic on a country, Lee said.
âBut even in countries where Covid-19 is bad, the OTT streamer hits like Squid game on Netflix have offset the atmosphere and kept Korean content on the rise. Everyone struggles, but Korean movies and series seem to do a little better in this regard.
Uncertainty of release schedule
Both buyers and sellers have cited uncertainties in theatrical release schedules as slowing the market.
Esther Yeung, Head of Sales and Distribution at Edko Films in Hong Kong, said: âBusan has always been the most important market for Korean films. Because the window between the auxiliary exit and the theatrical exit is so close [in Korea], if you can’t give us a release date, we can’t go for mid-budget or lower-budget movies. Maybe with blockbusters you can be confident every time you distribute it. But for those you’re not sure, even though they’re good genre films if they have to depend on the buzz you can create in Korea, the [uncertainty of] local distribution plan in Korea may have an adverse effect on our acquisitions.
âMost of the sales companies have announced a postponement to me, only moving their dates later and later,â Yeung added. âIt’s disappointing. The films I acquired over the past two years are still on the shelves with no fixed date. But despite all the delays for Korea, I still buy Korean films.
Edko Films also had Longman Leung’s film Anita as the closing film of the Busan International Film Festival. “I was hoping to go to Busan especially when Anita was selected, but it would be difficult for us and the actors to travel because the Hong Kong quarantine on return is 14 or 21 days if you are not fully vaccinated, âsaid Yeung, who has organized meetings of online acquisition during the market while overseeing the local release of Anita in Hong Kong.
Mia Park, head of international marketing and festival at CJ Entertainment in Korea, agreed that the inability to set theatrical release dates was hampering progress on deal announcements and new title launches.
âBusan feels less like an individual market for us than a continuum in a year where Cannes started late and we opened up sales on Kore-eda Hirokazu. Broker in Toronto and have continued to speak with buyers since then, âshe said, adding that she also didn’t expect to have any new titles to announce for the American Film Market (AFM).
Wayne Chang, founder of MovieCloud / GaragePlay in Taiwan, finds that he has held meetings with different companies on the platform they prefer over the past couple of years, but that usually isn’t about an official market platform.
âWe mainly do Zoom meetings and business through email and phone calls. American companies have their own conferencing systems, which are not formal market systems. It’s good to see yourself online but it’s not the same. Everyone is eager to return to physical markets. It seems that everyone is optimistic that the EFM will return to normalcy. A lot of Asian businesses are hoping to go there because it’s after Chinese New Year and it’s a good time for us, âhe said, adding that he hopes border control and restrictions on quarantine for fully vaccinated people will be relaxed by then.
Panda’s Lee agrees that with theaters soon being allowed to stay open until midnight, Korean vendors will be eager to travel more actively from EFM again next year.
âThe biggest obstacle is quarantine. It would be great if the organizers of the market could make an effort to secure quarantine exemptions for vaccine buyers around the world in both directions. A sort of green pass. Because physical markets are definitely different from doing business in front of a computer, âhe said.