THE ORNITHOLOGIST (João Pedro Rodrigues / Portugal), THE IDEA OF A LAKE (Milagros Mumenthaler / Switzerland, Argentina, Qatar), GERONTOPHOBIA (Boris Sverlow / Belgium), THE RECONQUEST (Jonás Trueba / Spain), HEARTSTONE (Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson / Denmark, Iceland), HEART OF STONE (Johannes Naber / Germany)

Opening Doors – a programme designed to highlight the European films and talents presented at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF, October 6 – 15) – will this time support 18 European filmmakers and actors, who will meet with industry and press and enjoy the lively discussions with the Korean audience. Initiated 19 years ago by European Film Promotion (EFP), the leading international organisation for promoting European films and talent, the pioneering project recognized almost from the start the great potential of the festival's special focus on European films. As one of the main gateways to the Asian market, the festival has brought about an ever increasing presence of European talent and sales in Korea. Opening Doors is generously supported by the Creative Europe – Media Programme of the European Union and the participating EFP member organisations.

European film artists travelling to Busan with the support of EFP will bring a great variety of genres and formats to Asia’s most powerful film showcase. Four of them will celebrate their world premiere there: the German fantasy adventure Heart of Stone by Johannes Naber, based on a popular fairy tale, the visually stunning animated short film Gerontophobia, and the highly topical Amerika Square by the Greek director Yannis Sakaridis who locates his film about the immigration crisis around Athen’s most notorious square. The latter film also enjoys the privilege of being selected for the Flash Forward Audience Award together with the world premiere of the mysterious Night of a 1000 Hours by Austrian multimedia artist Virgil Widrich.

Also featured in the Flash Forward competition are the critically acclaimed British entry Starfish, a powerful, moving drama based on a real life story, as well as Caterina Carone’s intimate picture Fräulein: A Winter Tale about the unlikely coupling of two loners, starring Vittorio De Sica's son Christian, and the contemporary drama The Saint from Lithuania.

Unconventional love lies at the centre of three very different entries: Jonás Trueba’s The Reconquest tells the story of two teenage lovers trying to reunite after 15 years, starring the young Spanish actress Itsaso Arana. Quite a different attraction is encountered by the title character of the multi-award winning Swiss drama Aloys, who is intrigued by the mind games being played on him by a mysterious woman, while Polish director Tomasz Wasilewski tells a bitter love story in the strikingly lensed United States of Love.

With the Golden Leopard for Best Director from this year’s Film Festival in Locarno in tow, The Ornithologist will be represented by co-screenwriter and art director João Rui Guerra da Mata, together with the former Locarno winner Milagros Mumenthaler, who has once again a very intimate family story to tell in The Idea of a Lake. Fresh from this year's Venice Film Festival and honored with the Queer Lion Award, Heartstone by Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson perfectly captures the harsh beauty of Iceland in a tale of friendship and love between two young boys. Baltasar Kormákur’s thriller The Oath (Special Presentation at TIFF 2016) will be represented by former European Shooting Star Gisli Örn Gardarsson. Rounding off the great variety is the animation film Mullewapp – A Pig’s Tale by Tony Loeser and Theresa Strozyk, which has already been very popular with young audiences in Germany.

Equally important to the support of the film artists coming to Busan, is the continuous backing of European sales companies at the Asian Film Market since it was launched in 2006. EFP has made possible a strong annual presence under the European Umbrella. Together with UniFrance films, EFP invites European sales companies to take part in the prominent European Umbrella located at Busan's BEXCO from October 8 - 11. This year 36 companies have registered, amongst them regulars such as TrustNordisk from Denmark, Beta Cinema from Germany and Embankment Films from the UK along with several newcomers to the market. All companies may also take advantage of EFP’s Film Sales Support (FSS) for their marketing campaigns. Detailed information on the European Umbrella and FSS granted will follow on Sept 29.

The following film artists will be presenting their films in Busan with the support of
their respective EFP member organisations:

THE SAINT (Lithuania, Poland) *
Andrius Blaževičius (director) and Gelminė Glemžaitė (actress)
EFP member organisation: Lithuanian Film Centre

Caterina Carone (director)
EFP member organisation: Istituto Luce - Cinecittà (Italy)

Bill Clark (director)
EFP member organisation: British Council

HEARTSTONE (Denmark, Iceland)
Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson (director)    
EFP member organisations: Danish Film Institute/Icelandic Film Centre

João Rui Guerra da Mata (art director & co-screenwriter)
EFP member organisation: ICA Portugal

Tony Loeser (director)
EFP member organisation: German Films

THE IDEA OF A LAKE (Switzerland, Argentina, Qatar)
Milagros Mumenthaler (director)
EFP member organisation: Swiss Films

HEART OF STONE (Germany)    
Johannes Naber (director)
EFP member organisation: German Films

ALOYS (Switzerland, France)
Tobias Nölle (director)    
EFP member organisation: Swiss Films

AMERIKA SQUARE (Greece, UK, Germany) *
Yannis Sakaridis (director) and Yannis Stankoglou (actor)
EFP emmber organisation: Greek Film Centre

Boris Sverlow (director)
EFP member organisation: Flanders Image

Jonás Trueba (director) and Itsaso Arana (actress)
EFP member organisation: ICAA Spain

Tomasz Wasilewski (director)
EFP member organisation: Polish Film Institute

NIGHT OF A 1000 HOURS (Luxembourg, Austria, The Netherlands)*
Virgil Widrich (director)
EFP member organisation:  Austrian Films

* competing for this year’s Flash Forward Audience Award



Andreas Struck
Project Director
+49 40 390 6252

Doris Bandhold
Head of Press
+49 40 390 6252


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