You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lee Yong-Kwan and Jay Jeon Reinstated by Busan Festival

Lee Yong-kwan and Jay Jeon have been reinstated as heads of the Busan International Film Festival. The decision is a rebuke of the city authorities that forced the two men out of office.

At a special assembly meeting Wednesday, Lee was appointed as chairman with a four-year term. Jeon was named as festival director with a three-year mandate.

The Busan festival management found itself on a collision course with city officials during the October 2014 edition, when then-festival director Lee decided to press ahead with the screening of “The Truth Shall Not Sink With Sewol” (aka “Diving Bell”), a controversial documentary that took a polemical stance against the South Korean government. Busan Mayor Suh Byung-soo, who was aligned with the government and sat on the festival’s board in an ex-oficio position, objected.

In the following three years, Suh and city authorities, which were also the festival’s biggest source of funding, put increasing pressure on the festival’s management. They reduced funding for the festival and successfully prosecuted Lee over the festival’s handling of commissions paid for sponsorship revenue.

Actress Kang Su-yeon and former chairman Kim Dong-ho were drafted in as interim leaders, but they were unable to broker a peace accord. The skirmish led to a partial boycott of the festival in 2016 and 2017 by large sections of the Korean film industry.

Many also believe that the witch hunt conducted against the festival organizers contributed to the death last year of Kim Ji-seok, Busan’s head programmer and a co-founder of the festival in 1996, along with Kim Dong-ho, Lee and Jeon. Kim Ji-seok died during a visit to Cannes last May.

The national government headed by former President Park Geun-hye, which Suh supported, has also since been widely discredited. Park was impeached late last year and forced from office after a series of corruption and cronyism scandals.

Park, her chief of staff and the then-minister of culture, Cho Yoon-sun, were discovered to have operated a massive blacklist of artists and entertainment talent who were to be denied public funding because they expressed political views different from Park’s government. Cho was last week jailed for two years for her part in operating the blacklist.

More Film

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • berlin film festival placeholder berlinale

    Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners: Complete List

    The 69th Berlin Film Festival kicked off on Saturday, with 16 films vying for the Golden and Silver Bears, among them such critically acclaimed entries as Wang Xiaoshuai’s Chinese drama “So Long, My Son” and “By the Grace of God” by François Ozon. Juliette Binoche served as Jury President, with other members of the jury [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel,' 'Lego Movie 2' to Lead President's Day Weekend

    “Alita: Battle Angel” is holding a slim lead ahead of “Lego Movie 2’s” second frame with an estimated four-day take of $29.1 million from 3,790 North American locations. “Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” meanwhile, is heading for about $25 million for a domestic tally of around $66 million. The two films lead the pack [...]

  • Marianne Rendon, Matt Smith, Ondi Timoner

    Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Team Talks 'Fast and Furious' Filming

    Thursday night’s New York premiere of the Matt Smith-led biopic “Mapplethorpe” took place at Cinépolis Chelsea, just steps from the Chelsea Hotel where the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once lived — but director Ondi Timoner had no sense of that legacy when she first encountered him in a very different context. “When I was ten [...]

  • Bruno GanzSwiss Film Award in Geneva,

    Bruno Ganz, Star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Dies at 77

    Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for dramatizing Adolf Hitler’s final days in 2004’s “Downfall,” has died. He was 77. Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer. In addition to delivering one of the definitive cinematic portrayals of Hitler, [...]

  • Steve Bannon appears in The Brink

    Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink'

    Stephen K. Bannon drinks Kombucha (who knew?), the fermented tea beverage for health fanatics that tastes like…well, if they ever invented a soft drink called Germs, that’s what Kombucha tastes like. In “The Brink,” Alison Klayman’s fly-on-the-wall, rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-a-white-nationalist documentary, Bannon explains that he likes Kombucha because it gives him a lift; he drinks it for [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content