Busan Festival to Open With Shin Su-won’s ‘Glass Garden’

Busan Festival: Shin Su-won's 'Glass Garden'
Courtesy of Busan IFF

“Glass Garden,” by Korean director Shin Su-won (“Madonna”) will open the 22nd edition of the Busan Film Festival, Asia’s largest film festival. “Love Education,” by multifaceted Taiwanese Sylvia Chang (“Mumur of the Hearts”) will close the festival, which runs Oct. 12-21.

The lineup announcement at two events Monday, the first in Busan, the second, later in the day in Seoul, was the first official occasion jointly attended by festival director Kang Soo-youn and chairman Kim Dong-ho since they announced their planned resignation.

“I have managed to revise the regulation and host the festival’s latest edition normally, my work is done,” said Kim in Seoul. But he said he was unhappy with the pressure that has been heaped on Kang, who has been accused of being dogmatic and communicating poorly. “I cannot understand why Ms. Kang, who has led the festival well under adverse conditions, has to resign.”

“It is normal for the director to take full responsibility,” said Kang. “We still have ongoing issues, such as the film industry boycott —three organizations, including the director’s guild, have not yet lifted their boycott. I don’t think the situation will change dramatically in a short time. But I believe that there shouldn’t be any more doubts whether the BIFF will still go on. I will stay until this year’s edition wraps up.”

The lineup includes 298 films from 75 countries, and includes 100 world premieres and 29 international premieres. And one or two more titles may still be added.

“Glass Garden” is a story of an oddball bioenergetics researcher who studies artificial blood, and a mysterious novelist writing about her. “Love Education” metaphorically depicts China’s modern history through the lives of three women of three different generations.

The festival’s operating budget is bigger than for the previous edition. “Fortunately, we have managed to add $424,000 to last year’s budget. Although the number of sponsors has decreased, the sum the same as last year. We secured some funding from philanthropic foundations and also from the city council,” said Kang.

Kim said that despite the turmoil and the death of executive programmer Kim Ji-seok, the festival’s program and events will remain as strong as in previous years. It will launch ‘Platform Busan,’ a networking program for independent filmmakers in Asia, and host seminar and forum sessions for nearlyt 100 Asian filmmakers.”

The festival’s four-title Gala Presentation includes Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!,” Kore-eda Hirokazu’s “The Third Murder,” Yukisada Isao’s “Narratage” and Jeong Jae-eun’s “Butterfly Sleep.”

Special programs include a retrospective for the late Japanese filmmaker Suzuki Seijun, veteran Korean actor Shin Sung-il, and a focus on cinema from Russia’s Sakha region. Suzuki is also the recipient of the Asian Filmmaker of the Year award.

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