Director Brillante Mendoza's 'Gensan Punch' wins at 26th Busan Int’l Film Festival

Published October 15, 2021, 2:30 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Renowned Filipino director Brillante Mendoza’s movie won an award at the 26th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which ended on Oct. 15 in Busan, South Korea.

Mendoza’s film “Gensan Punch,” which had its world premiere at BIFF, bagged the Kim Jiseok Award, “given to the most attractive films that reflect the contemporary standing of Asian cinema in accordance with the late Kim’s intent,” according to BIFF.

“Incredibly strong story narrated in a documentary style. It is not just a story of a hero’s path to victory, but a story of building human relationships. Okinawa and Gensokyo are two seemingly different worlds, but they are connected by the warmth of people and their beliefs,” a jury member commented on “Gensan Punch.”

“Gensan Punch” stars Japanese actor Shogen that “depicts the true story of a handicapped athlete’s fight against discrimination to be recognized as a professional boxer.” GenSan is an abbreviation of General Santos City in South Cotabato.

The award is in honor of Kim Jiseok, one of the founding members of the festival who served as program director. Kim passed away in May 2017 due to a heart attack.

Seven films were selected as nominees for the Kim Jiseok Award and two winners were selected and will receive $10,000 each as cash prize.

The other winner of the Kim Jiseok Award is “The Rapist” by India’s Aparna Sen while Special Mention was given to “The Bargain” by China’s Wang Qi.

Other nominees for the Kim Jiseok Award were Roystan Tan of Singapore for his film “24”; Japan’s Ogigami Naoko, “Riverside Mukolitta”; Azerbaijan’s Ilgar Najaf, “Sughra’s Sons”; and Bangladesh’s Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, “No Land’s Man.”

This year’s BIFF, held from Oct. 6 to 15, showcased 233 films from 70 countries as official selections, and 58 films as Official Selections. The festival drew 76,072 spectators this year.