Monday, October 23, 2006

PPP afterthoughts

So all the acronyms are now over – PIFF, PPP, AFM. PPP (or, Pusan Promotion Plan) was what I was directly participating in. Interestingly, PPP is basically just like UCLA’s Pitchfest, except the tables are turned – instead of taking a project around and pitching (and grovelling) to various companies sitting at tables in a large hall, YOU are sitting at a table in a large hall and various companies who might be interested in your project come around and see you. Yeah, it’s nicer this way!

It was cool to be in the PPP with notable directors such as Tsai Ming-Liang and Pen-ek Ratanaruang. Of course they were not at their tables pitching. Pen-ek was unfortunately not there (alas). As part of his director's statement in the PPP project book, he stated in a whole separate paragraph that in his new film, "A lot of close-ups will be used." Sweet.

TML conducted a rather bummer, bitter "master class" which I won't go into.

Cigarettes on offer at the festival. Free! Smoke wherever you like! Even at the food buffet! Lovely.

OK. Now. To write. Back to work. Over and out.

Seoul subway

In every subway station, a cabinet of gas masks. Nice.

Motorcycles on the sidewalk

Sorry for the delay in posts. These did not all happen in one day.

Seoul. Man, all my clothes smell like barbeque now. :) Mm. Meat.

Fact. Taxis in Korea do not make u-turns. If you try to hail a cab on the side of the road that is in the opposite direction to where you are going, the taxi will not turn around or go around the block. The driver will actually make you get out, cross the street and take another taxi. The first time this happened, we had no idea what the taxi driver was ranting and gesticulating about, so we stayed put and he had to take us to our destination, but boy, he seemed really put out (even though it was just a 5 minute ride!).


Next two pictures: octopus stew (not moving). Yummy or what. (no, it really was yummy.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Old boy

Yesterday, I did a dumb thing. I saw that there was an open talk between a Korean (director?) and Kore-eda (I don't remember his full name - the guy who did NOBODY KNOWS) and I was excited. I wanted to see Kore-eda speak! So I went down to the PIFF pavilion and it wasn't till I sat down that I realized: waitaminute. One dude's Korean and the other's Japanese. How the heck am I going to understand this talk? Well. I didn't.

Here's a picture of them in the flesh, which is just about as much as I got out of this open talk.

PIFF/AFM continues

To make up for no photos yesterday, here is a picture of a whole entire pig that was carved up at the Japan party. The Japan party was the best party so far. Most of the parties are identified by where the organizing delegates are from, e.g. the Hong Kong party, the Japan party, the Taiwan party, etc. Singapore is clearly too cheap to have a party. Ha. We do have a suite and a booth, and today, I was peckish, so I stopped by and they offered me cup noodles. I ate it. Of course.

And here's a photo of fans who love taking their picture with pictures of stars.

More meetings today, but just one more tomorrow! Hopefully I can catch at least one screening, though so far I've already missed all the movies that I really wanted to see.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Oh, the food

(Sorry, no photos as blogger is being uncooperative..)

Long days, meetings, meetings, parties, tired. Trust me when i say that "parties" are not generally as fun as they sound. Parties are just another just-as-tiring event where you meet and schmooze people and you know how exhausting that can be. Not to mention the fact that I've just about had enough of cold, crappy free party food too. Yuck. The upside is that I've been able to catch up and hang out with a few friends from LA whom I haven't seen in a while.

Now, the food... my food adventures in Korea continue. Last night a few of us ventured to a seafood restaurant by the beachfront (since Pusan is supposedly known for its seafood). We ordered raw fish, and bbq shellfish. Our mistake was sitting next to the tank. They pull out a poor fish into a bucket, as well as a squid. And you watch your dinner squirm, thrash and gasp its final breaths before being taken inside to be prepared for you to eat 10 minutes later. Did you know that squid wheeze really loudly when they are gasping for breath? Yes, it is just as grotesque as it sounds.

I also learned that raw squid, even after it's been chopped into little pieces, continues to MOVE for well over an hour. I couldn't stop staring at it after I found out. The pieces sort of contract and its surface moves continuously. I'm talking about a roughly one-inch CHOPPED UP piece of squid! I was told that raw octopus is worse and that its suction cups will actually fight you when you put it in your mouth. Ohhh.... I did not eat the raw squid. Not the part that moved anyway.

I found Korean seafood (raw and cooked) to be generally tougher and chewier than I am used to. Since I have no point of reference, I don't know if this is the way it usually is, or just the way this restaurant did it. I suspect the former, though.

Now, lunch today. Went out with friends Joan and Grace and Grace can speak Korean - yay! She brought us to a nice, authentic Korean bbq place where we took our shoes off, sat down and ate some great kalbi, bacon (which you wrap in vegetable leaves and eat) and spicy bacon kalbi (I think). Yum. Koreans sure do know how to bbq their meat!

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I'm here in Busan (or Pusan, depend on which signboard you are reading) and so far it's been unreal. I'm being treated so nicely - pick ups at every airport and a chauffeur to the hotel! What did I do to deserve this?

It looks like I'm staying at the hotel where the stars are because when I arrived, there was a crowd of young women and obasan-types (what is the Korean word equivalent?) toting cameras, being held back by security and eagerly awaiting some Korean stars I am sure I would not recognize. Though, apparently, Andy Lau is also here at my hotel. This information was printed in one of the Asian Film Market guides - which hotel everyone is staying in - in what my friend Joan and I immediately dubbed "the stalker's guide". They even told you which dates everyone was checking in and out! No room numbers, though...

Here is a picture of my first meal in Korea (excluding the airplane bibimbap) - a bowl of udon noodles from a small mom-and-pop place in Busan.
Sadly, the influences of tourism and the PIFF have resulted in an Outback Steakhouse and TGI Fridays near the beachfront. Having said that, tomorrow I am heading to Starbucks...

The other photo is of some korean star I don't recognize (he's the guy in the black shirt and khaki jacket). I keep stumbling onto crowds of fans/stars. The PIFF is in full swing by the beach. The AFM (film market) starts tomorrow, as do my meetings. Wish me luck.