Smaller Scale After Skirmish, Big on Asian Solidarity
Art and Experience: “A Quiet Dream,” by Korean-Chinese director Zhang Lu, will open the 21st edition of theBusan International Film Festival.
Iraqi director Hussein Hassan’s ”The Dark Wind,” co-produced by the Kurdistan Regional Government), and producers from Germany and Qatar, will close the festival, which runs Oct. 6-15.
“Since I joined [the festival] as chairman, I’ve been convinced that BIFF must take place normally no matter what,” said Kim Dong-ho at the press conference in Seoul. “I apologize to filmmakers in Korea and overseas for the past two years’ crisis and promise that it won’t happen again.”
The budget is smaller than that of previous years. “Sponsors were not given enough time to make decisions, as it had not been clear whether the festival would happen until very recently,” said festival director Kang Soo-youn. “But we have expected this to happen since May and have worked on arranging the event with a smaller budget. Although the scale will be inevitably smaller, the core of the BIFF—the program—will remain without any problem,” she continued.
Kim Ji-seok, the festival’s head programmer, described that this year’s programming represents “solidarity of Asian cinema.” “I could not fly to any film festivals during the first half of the year, which made it extremely difficult to watch potential selections for this year’s edition. Thanks to many Asian filmmakers who have volunteered to help, we could still select quality titles,” said Kim.
Kim emphasized that this year’s selection includes films that have been banned for political reasons, and films about freedom of artistic expression. Some of Asia’s top directors, Japan’s Kore-eda Hirokazu, Korea’s Lee Chang-dong, and Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien, will discuss solidarity in Asian filmmaking during the festival.
In terms of size at least, the festival seems little diminished by its two years of internal strife. The line up will include 301 feature and short films from 69 countries, including 96 world premieres and 27 international premieres.
The New Currents, the BIFF’s signature competition section for rising Asian directors, will highlight 11 titles from 10 countries. The jury is headed by Mali director Souleymane Cisse.
The festival’s four title gala presentation section includes Ben Younger’s “Bleed for This” and three Japanese films. These include Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s “Daguerrotype,” Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-il’s star-studded novel adaptation, “Rage,” and Shinkai Makoto’s animated feature “Your Name.”
Special programs include a retrospective for veteran Korean filmmaker Lee Doo-young, and a focus on Colombian cinema.
The festival’s annual Korean Cinema Award will be given to Laurence Herszberg, director-general of Paris’ Forum des Images, for her contribution to advancing the globalization of Korean cinema.
The lineup was announced at two events Tuesday, the first in Busan, the second, later in the day in Seoul.