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Lee Yong-kwan Close to Exit as Busan Assembly Ducks Decisions

Lee Yong-kwan will Friday lose his job as director of the troubled Busan International Film Festival after the organization’s general meeting ended on Thursday without taking a decision on key issues.

The meeting ended abruptly when the city mayor, Seo Byeong-soo, who is also the festival’s chairman, halted proceedings after an hour.

The city authorities and the festival have been at odds since October 2014, when the festival went ahead with the screening of controversial documentary “Diving Bell” against the wishes of the mayor.

Since then the city unsuccessfully attempted to force Lee out of his job, then made him share it. Now, without decision-making by the assembly, it appears that Lee’s contract will simply be allowed to expire.

The feud meant that last year’s 20th anniversary of the festival was operated with the city providing less finance than in previous years.

The Thursday meeting began at 2pm with festival delegates presenting a request signed by 106 of its 152 members, seeking discussion of a change to the regulations. But the mayor refused to accept delivery of the letter. Last week Seo offered to resign as chairman, but the infighting is so fierce that many doubt his sincerity. And without the change in regulations, Seo’s resignation cannot take effect.

“I admit film makers’ contributions to the development of BIFF, but citizens of Busan, central government and the city council have clearly made their share of contributions as well. Thanks for all your opinions. I declare the general assembly closed,” Seo said.

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