Korean Filmmakers Threaten to Boycott Busan Film Festival

Courtesy of Korean Film Group’s Emergency Committee for Defending BIFF's Independence

Korean filmmakers Monday said they will boycott this year’s Busan International Film Festival if the city authorities do not allow the annual film event to operate freely.

The Korean Film Group’s Emergency Committee for Defending BIFF’s Independence, an activist group which includes directors, producers and screenwriters, called on Suh Byung-soo, the Busan mayor, to resign as the festival’s ex officio chairman and to withdraw an injunction against 68 newly appointed advisors to the festival.

The city authorities and the festival organizers have been at battle since October 2014 when the festival screened a documentary that Seo found objectionable. Last year the festival’s budget was cut. In February the festival director Lee Yong-kwan lost his job.

The festival recently appointed the advisors in order to ensure a majority on a special advisory committee that in turn controls the festival’s general assembly. On March 14 Seo took legal action against them and called them “unqualified.”

Sources close to the festival now say that close to the likelihood of its 21th edition happening as normal in October has dropped to just 50%.

“The world will witness the empty red carpet for the first time in 20 years of BIFF’s history, and the audience from all over the world will stop coming to Busan for the festival any more,” the Emergency Committee said in its statement.