Kim Dong-ho, one of the most reputable names in Korean cinema, has been appointed chairman of the strife-torn Busan International Film Festival.

According to the festival, Kim’s role will be to ensure that the festival goes ahead as normal this year, Oct. 6-15. His wider role may be to try to end the conflict over artistic independence that has raged for more than 18 months between festival organizers and the city authorities.

Kim, who was one of the festival’s champions at its debut 20 years ago, is currently an honorary executive director. His new appointment will require a change of the festival’s statutes – likely to be done within the month.

“We have continued discussions with the Busan city for a long time, in order to ensure freedom of expression and the festival’s independence. […] We will remove the clause that automatically institutes the city mayor as the ex-officio chairman of the BIFF organizing committee, opening the post to the private sector,” said the BIFF in a statement.

With former festival director Lee Yong-kwan’s term having ended in February, actress Kang Soo-youn is currently set to as the sole festival director.