×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Growing Busan Film Festival Keeps Focus on Local Talent

The launch of new Asian cinema remains a priority

When a festival nears the 20-year mark, many feel certain expectations have to be met. The Busan Film Festival, which will open its 18th edition Oct. 3, is no exception.

Busan seems to have taken the “bigger is better” philosophy to heart, expanding to 300 titles and so many sidebars that films can get lost. Some ask whether the fest has become too big for its own good.

Those running the festival do not seem to have a shred of doubt about its mission.

“The issue of identity is something that BIFF has thought long and hard about,” says festival director Lee Yongkwan. “Our focus has always been to be an event where the best of Asian cinema is introduced to the rest of the world, as well for Asian filmmakers to come together with industry professionals from elsewhere. It’s also where Asian filmmakers get to know each other over cups of soju by the beach.”

Lee is especially happy about this year’s edition. “We’ll be screening over 30 films to which BIFF has given financial support over the past few years,” he says. BIFF provides nearly $100,000 of financial support to Asian cinema per year.

Lee is also proud of BIFF’s support for Asian arthouse cinema. While 2013 has been a smashing year for Korean commercial pics, he says it has also been a great year for local auteurs, with black-and-white drama “Jiseul” grossing more than $910,000; and the doc “Project Cheonan Ship,” which opened on Sept. 5, on 11 screens. Shin Yeon-shick’s “The Russian Novel,” on 10 screens, is tracking in the top 20.

“BIFF has always been and will continue to be a platform for indie filmmakers,” Lee says. “We know how hard things are for them. We want to be a place where their voices are heard by government policymakers and those in the industry.”

Indeed, BIFF has three programs that support Asian cinema; “Jiseul” was among the beneficiaries.

Asian film programmer Kim Ji-seok says the festival has to play a strong role in telling the story of Asian film history. This year it will host a retrospective of Central Asian New Wave films. “We’ve
gone back to the forgotten films of the 1980s and 1990s, many by little known directors, or films that have almost never been seen,” Kim says.

The fest’s opening night movie illustrates BIFF’s commitment to Asian cinema: “Vara: A Blessing” by Bhutan’s Khyentse Norbu. The closing night film, “The Dinner,” an independent feature by Kim Dong-hyun, also offers encouragement to Koreans who are working outside the local studio system.

More Biz

  • The Laundromat Netflix

    'Panama Papers' Attorneys Sue Netflix to Block Release of 'The Laundromat'

    The lawyers at the heart of the “Panama Papers” scandal have filed a federal suit seeking to block Netflix from releasing “The Laundromat,” the Steven Soderbergh film that stars Meryl Streep. Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, the principals of Mossack Fonseca, allege that the film defames them and uses their firm’s logo without authorization. In [...]

  • Reese Witherspoon Kerry Washington Ryan Reynolds

    Market for Package Deals and Original Ideas Heats Up Ahead of Platform Launches

    Practically every studio in town wanted it, but in the end it was Apple that swept in to nab the reinterpretation of “A Christmas Carol” with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. To buy the highly coveted package, the tech giant was willing to shell out more than $60 million to the stars and the film’s [...]

  • Matt Lauer Times Up

    Time's Up Calls for NBC News to Make 'Structural Change' in Wake of Matt Lauer Rape Allegation

    Time’s Up — the anti-sexual harassment advocacy group launched by Hollywood celebrities — has responded to the ongoing sexual harassment allegations at NBC that continue to unfold this week following the release of Ronan Farrow’s new book. “Catch and Kill” details the investigative journalist’s experience reporting against systems of power, with much of the book [...]

  • Wilder Logo

    Paradigm’s Tom Windish Teams With Future Classic to Launch Wilder Label

    Future Classic and Paradigm agent Tom Windish today announce the formation of a new record label: Wilder, a singles oriented joint-venture set on creating a release pipeline for emerging young artists and bands. Wilder — named after Windish’s newborn son — launches today with the re-release of ”Applesauce” the first single from 19-year old Indiana-based [...]

  • Atlantic UK’s Ben Cook Steps Down

    Atlantic UK President Ben Cook Steps Down Over ‘Offensive’ Run-DMC Costume

    Atlantic UK president Ben Cook announced today that he is stepping down from his post due to an “offensive” appearance as a member of Run-DMC at a birthday party seven years ago. Parlophone co-president Mark Mitchell will take on the leadership of the label on an interim basis. “It is with great sadness that today [...]

  • Timbaland

    Hipgnosis Songs Acquires Timbaland Catalog

    The fast-rising Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited continues its aggressive growth surge, acquiring a catalog from songwriter-producer-artist Timbaland that comprises 108 albums and songs. Timbaland is one of the most successful songwriter-producers in the hip-hop/R&B realm: The catalog includes hits by Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Nelly Furtado, 50 Cent, Madonna, 2Pac, Rihanna, Drake and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content