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Iranian Director Wins Top Prize At Asia's Biggest Film Festival

The bustling metropolis of Busan hosts the largest film festival in Asia.
Iranian director Morteza Farshbaf has won one of the top two honors at Asia's largest film festival, South Korea's Busan International Film Festival.

Farshbaf's film "Mourning" was handed one of the event's two $30,000 "New Currents" prizes. The other went to director Loy Arcenas from the Philippines for his film "Nino."

More than 300 films from dozens of countries were shown at this year's festival.

The Busan film festival, now in its 16th year, focuses on first-time directors from Asia.

Organizers this year issued a statement expressing "serious concern" about the recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers on espionage charges, calling for their swift release.

Iranian authorities are also pressuring their homegrown filmmakers in other ways, including the reported one-year jail sentence for a woman who starred recently in the film "My Tehran For Sale," about frustrations in filmmaking.

Cinema owners are meanwhile threatening closures over financial strains as operating costs soar.

compiled from agency and RFE/RL reports