BUSAN: Kim Dong-ho Gets French Honor, Praises Opening Ceremonies

Kim Dong-ho, founder of the Busan Intl. Film Festival and one of the most internationally recognized faces of Korean cinema, received the highest award that France can bestow on a civilian Thursday night. The Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Legion D’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honor) was presented in the Grand Hotel Ballroom after the opening night film concluded.

The 77-year-old looked visibly moved as directorial heavyweights Im Kwon-taek and Kim Ki-duk and industry professionals such as Wilfred Wong and Roger Garcia watched. The award was presented by France’s ambassador to South Korea with the highest honor given out by the Order of Arts and Literature of France. It was the third time Kim was honored by the French government.

BIFF officials said the ceremony didn’t make up part of the opening ceremony due to Kim’s expressed wish that “attention should not be diverted from the New Currents jury and the cast and crew of the opening film, ‘Paradise in Service.’ ”

Asked about the recent ferry-related controversies plaguing this year’s BIFF, Kim told Variety that he was saddened, but that he does not expect the controversies will be resolved any time soon.

He also expressed delight at how elegant the opening ceremony has become after BIFF organizers announced a policy of not inviting minor celebrities with no films at BIFF.

“The actresses looked elegant and not so cold. I didn’t have to avert my eyes as I had to in other years. I could genuinely enjoy the ceremony this year,” he said.

He also expressed delight at how elegant the opening ceremony has become after BIFF organizers announced a policy of not inviting minor celebrities with no films at BIFF. “The actresses looked elegant and not so cold. I didn’t have to avert my eyes as I had to in other years. I could genuinely enjoy the ceremony this year,” he said.

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