New Currents Award is given to the two best feature films selected from the first or second feature of new Asian directors introduced in the New Currents section (a competitive section of BIFF for Asian films). A grand prize of USD 30,000 is awarded to each film. The jury consists of world-renowned film experts who will choose winners to discover and encourage the hidden jewels of Asian cinema.
Film director, musician, writer, curator, and photographer – Mike Figgis is an artist whose work has spanned across various disciplines. Following the success of his debut theatrical film Stormy Monday (1988) in the United States, he entered the world of commercial filmmaking. Figgis was celebrated internationally with the success of Leaving Las Vegas (1995) which gained him great plaudits and won several awards, including the Best Director Award at National Society of Film Critics Awards 1995, and the Academy Award for the Best Actor for Nicolas Cage. Encouraged by this huge success, Figgis explored more experimental and minimal approaches to filmmaking and directed Timecode (2000), the first real-time digital film ever made. Figgis now actively explores alternative strategies in film production, designing both economic and creative platforms for contemporary filmmakers.
Karel Och studied film theory and history at Prague’s Charles University. Since 2001, he has worked for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival as a selection committee member and also curated filmmaker retrospectives, including Sam Peckinpah, John Huston and Elio Petri among many others. He was appointed as an artistic director of the Karlovy Vary IFF in 2010. He is now a member of the European Film Academy, the Lux Prize selection, and FIRESCI.
A Kazakh actress, Samal Yeslyamova graduated from the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS) with a specialization in directing and acting. She starred in the film Tulpan (2008) by director Sergey Dvortsevoy, which won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. She also won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Ayka (2018), marking her as a renowned leading actress.
Lee Sinje made her debut Betelnut Beauty (2001) and won the New Talent Award at the Berlin International Film Festival. She earned a big splash with The Eye (2002) and became the first Malaysian recipient of the Best Actress Award at the Golden Horse Awards in 2002. In the same year, she won the Best Actress Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Hong Kong Golden Bauhinia Awards, and Chinese Film Media Awards, marking her as a world-famous star. She was invited as a jury member to the Taipei Film Festival and Golden Horse Awards, and has been the ambassador of the Malaysia International Film Festival since 2017.
Suh Youngjoo, the CEO of Finecut Co., LTD., has produced, financed, and internationally distributed more than 200 Korean and co-produced films: Burning (2018), Poetry (2010), and Oasis (2002) by Lee Chang-dong, Old Boy (2003) by director Park Chan-wook, The Host (2006) by director Bong Joon Ho, A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) by director Kim Jeewoon, The Wailing (2016) and The Chaser (2008) by director Na Hong-jin, and of course many of director Hong Sangsoo’s. She continuously challenges new attempts in the film industry by establishing an actor management division, Finecut Entertainment, and Korea’s first Writers Agency (WAF).