Busan Festival ‘100% Certain’ to Go Ahead, Says Co-founder Kim Dong-ho

The troubled Busan festival is “100% certain” to go ahead this year, according to Kim Dong-ho, the industry veteran who last week rejoined the event that he co-founded 21 years ago.

“After 15 months of conflict the two sides reached a compromise and appointed me to this post,“ Kim told Variety in Cannes. “The festival has been guaranteed freedom of expression and freedom of programming.”

The mayor of Busan, Seo Byung-soo, last week agreed to step down from the ex officio position of chairman, with Kim, the most respected figure in Korean cinema, drafted in as chairman of the organizing committee.

Conflict had flared during the October 2014 edition of the festival when selectors went ahead with the programming of controversial documentary “Diving Bell” (aka “The Truth Shall Not Sink With Sewol”) against the wishes of Seo.

The stand-off led to financial cuts at the 20th anniversary edition in 2015. Since then, festival director Lee Yong-kwan has been eased aside and large parts of the Korean film industry have threatened to boycott the 2016 edition.

“This is only a first step. And there are many things that remain to be done, but we can now be certain that the festival will go ahead,” Kim said. “It will go ahead with all the normal (competition, market and project market) activities that we have become used to.”

Kim acknowledged that with only four months before the festival kicks off in October, the time for preparation is significantly shorter than in a normal year. But he insisted that there was still enough time to make film selections.

From a financial and commercial point of view things may be harder. “We have not got many sponsors on board at this stage, but we have been maintaining contact with them and hope to secure some,” Kim said.


More Film

  • Joker movie

    With 'Ad Astra,' 'Joker' Likely, Venice Set for Strong Showing by U.S., Bolstered by Streamers

    Brad Pitt space odyssey “Ad Astra,” Noah Baumbach’s untitled new project, “Joker” with Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Harper’s “The Aeronauts,” Fernando Meirelles’ “The Pope,” the new “Rambo” installment, and heist thriller “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” starring Mick Jagger as a reclusive art dealer, all look bound for the Venice Film Festival, sources tell Variety. The fest [...]

  • CGV's Massive Imax Screen Order Shows

    CGV's Massive Imax Screen Order Shows Optimism for Chinese Exhibition

    Korean cinema giant CGV has signed a deal with Imax to install a further 40 giant screens in movie theaters in China. The deal suggests that China’s multiplex building boom still has some way to run, and that at least one Korean company is still willing to invest in China, despite China’s currently boycott of [...]

  • BAFTA headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London

    BAFTA Undertakes Major Renovation of Its London Headquarters

    BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent. Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its [...]

  • Andhadhun

    Booming Digital Lifts Eros Indian Film Distribution Giant

    Eros International, India’s largest and most controversial film distributor, says that its digital revenues now outstrip conventional theatrical and syndication revenues. Its Eros Now streaming platform claims 18.8 million paying subscribers. The New York-listed company reported annual results that were distorted by multiple adjustments to presentation. Reported revenues in the year to end of March [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Second Huayi Brothers Film Is Canceled as Company's Losses Mount

    Still reeling from the cancellation of the theatrical release of its blockbuster “The Eight Hundred,” production studio Huayi Brothers has been hit with another setback: Its comedy “The Last Wish” has also been quietly pulled from China’s summer lineup. Both films have fallen afoul of China’s increasingly heavy-handed censors. The unwelcome development comes as Huayi [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content