Kim, who is also special adviser to Korea’s president on cinema matters, offered no reason for his move, though avoiding a possible conflict of interest appears a likely explanation.
Since the festival’s last edition in October, BIFF has been embroiled in a protracted battle with the city’s mayor. City authorities have severely criticised festival boss Lee Yong-kwan and are seeking to have final say over the festival’s lineup.
Lee has yet to accept Kim’s resignation.
Meanwhile, at a public hearing in Seoul on Tuesday leading film makers protested against the Busan mayor’s stance.
“Oldboy” director, Park Chan-wook said: “It is the city government, not BIFF, that is being way too political. It is political that the city government themselves consider the programmers’ choice of screening ‘Diving Bell’ as a political decision. It is not about right or left, it is simply about freedom of expression.”