Two low-budget productions are among those vying for the top award at Asia's premier film festival this week, with organisers praising their creativity despite their technical limitations.
The New Currents award at the Busan International Film Festival carries with it two prizes of US$30,000 and is open to first- or second-time Asian filmmakers.
Among the 10 entries this year are local director Lee Donku's $3,000 "Fatal", a coming-of-age drama, and Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit's experimental "36", which is set around 36 static images and was made for US$20,000.
"Shooting a film for that money is not something to be proud of - definitely not," said Lee. "We were under dire circumstances but we were dying to make this film."
Nawapol explained that financial necessity meant he was involved in every aspect of the production, both behind and in front of the camera.
"I acted, did sound, moved props - anything that was needed to get this film made," he said.
BIFF's executive programmer Kim Ji-Seok said this year's field represented the diversity of productions found across Asia and highlighted the two low-budget films as a reflection of the dedication needed to break in to the film industry.
"I think it shows their desire, and just how much sacrifice and hard work they are willing to do," he said. "And while these films might be missing some technical aspects, they show just how creative films in Asia can be."
This year's New Currents field represents eight Asian countries and includes two entries connected to acclaimed filmmakers.
From Iraq comes "111 Girls", an entry from husband-wife team of Nahid Ghobadi and Bijan Zmanpira centring around a group of Kurdish women who threaten mass suicide if their government cannot find them husbands.
Ghobadi's brother Baham Ghobadi ("No One Knows About Persian Cats") is an award-winning director who is currently working with Martin Scorsese.
Acclaimed Iranian director Amir Naderi ("Waiting") acts as producer on the Lebanese film Kayan from first-timer Maryam Najafi, which follows a single mother as she tries to run a business and her family in a foreign country.
Previous winners of the New Currents award include Jia Zhangke who won for "Xiao Wu" in 1998 and went on to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for "Still Life" (2006).
The New Currents winners will be announced on Saturday, the final day of the festival.