Inaugural Gangneung Film Festival Pays Tribute to Pierre Rissient

Kim Dong-Ho of GIFF Chairman of Organizing Committee, Ahn Sung-ki1st Gangneung International Film Festival, Gangneung, South Korea - 08 Nov 2019
Seokyong Lee/Penta Press/Shutterstock

The opening ceremony of the first edition of the Gangneung International Film Festival was dominated by a tribute to the French film scout and festival selector Pierre Rissient, who died in May 2018.

The new festival, 240 km from Seoul, counts former Busan festival co-founder Kim Dong-ho as its chairman and former Bucheon festival head Kim Hong-joon as its chief selector. It got under way on Friday and runs until Nov. 14.

Kim Hong-joon called Rissient a “cinephile” worthy of celebration. He played a part in introducing and highlighting global film talents, notably Korean film makers Im Kwon-taek, Lee Chang-dong and Hong Sang-soo (“Hotel by the River”) to global festival audiences.

Top Korean filmmakers Lee (“Burning”), Im (“Painted Fire”) and Yang Ik-joon (“Breathless”), were present at the event. Bong Joon-ho, currently supporting the U.S. release of “Parasite,” sent a video tribute and said that it was appropriate to recognize Rissient’s contribution in this centenary year of Korean filmmaking.

International guests included Cannes’ Directors’s Fortnight programmer Benjamin Illos, veteran Indonesian actress Christine Hakim (“Leaf on a Pillow”), and Rissient’s widow Song Yung-hee.

The tribute event was scheduled to run for 30 minutes, ahead of the screening of Rissient’s directorial work “Five and the Skin.” But the verbal tributes were so fulsome that the session ran for an hour and delayed the screening.