Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh's film "Immortal" won the top award Saturday at the 20th edition of Asia's largest and most influential film festival, the Busan International Film Festival.
"Immortal" shared the prestigious 'New Currents Award' with Kazakhstan director Yerlan Nurmukhambetov's film "Walnut Tree", each receiving the grand prize of $30,000.
The 'New Currents Award' is given every year to the two best films selected in the New Currents category, which only includes the first or second works of new directors from across Asia to recognize the new talents and trends in Asian cinema.
"Immortal" tells the story of Ayaz, an old man whose enormous guilt over the loss of his family in a tragic accident that he caused himself drives him to suicide, and Ibrahim, his young grandson who tries with all his power to help him overcome his insufferable misery.
Eight films competed for the award this year, including three Middle Eastern talents, and the jury that chose the two winners was headed by world-renowned Taiwanese actress and filmmaker Sylvia Chang.
“’Immortal’ is an extraordinary feat of visual storytelling, filled with emotion. It is partly about how to die, but mostly about how to live, and how to keep our dignity as human beings. It is a beautiful film," Chang said of the Iranian film.
The low-budget film, which was screened three times at the 10-day festival, is Mohaghegh's second feature film. The 37-year-old started his filmmaking career in 2010, his previous films include 2010's 'Brothers of My Land', 2012's 'A Look into the Sky' and 2013's 'Bardou'.
The main focus of the Asian film festival, which is held South Korea's Busan and is particularly popular among young film enthusiasts, is to celebrate young filmmaking talents in Asia and present their work to larger audiences.
Despite funding issues, it managed to attract a record-breaking audience of 227,337 and screen 302 films from 75 countries this year between Oct 1-10.