Gwangju festival shrinks to stay afloat

Event's budget dropped from $1.7 million in '05 to $160,000 this year

SEOUL — The sixth Gwangju Film Festival opened in a drastically scaled down edition on Thursday, in a bid to keep the event alive.

The festival, held in the southwestern Korean city of Gwangju, has seen its budget plunge from $1.7 million in 2005 to only $160,000 this year.

A series of operational snafus and administrative missteps have resulted in both city and state sponsors withdrawing their coin.

This year’s event, focusing on world and Asian cinema, features 49 films from 13 countries.

Japanese director Okuda Eiji’s “A Long Walk” (2006) and Phil Morrison’s “Junebug” (2005) screen as the opening and closing films, respectively.

New festival director Choi Jong-won called the event an effort to keep the festival viable, in the hopes of returning on a grander scale next year.