The Busan International Film Festival will further honor its co-founder and former programmer Kim Jiseok, who died suddenly in 2017, by expanding the existing prize in his name into a fully-fledged competitive section.

Previously, the Kim Jiseok Award was given to one of ten films selected from the ‘A Window on Asian Cinema’ sidebar which introduces new films from significant Asian directors, defined as those who have each made more than three films. 

“Starting this year, the Kim Jiseok Award nominees have been sorted into a section of their own, namely the ‘Jiseok’ section. Also, Korean films will be included in the ‘Jiseok’ section,” Busan organizers said. “This program section aims to both reinforce the spirit and determination of [Kim], who devoted himself to the growth and support of Asian films, and direct attention to the nominated works.”

The section comes with two cash prizes of $10,000 each. “Thus, the Jiseok section is expected to be recognized as a competition section that represents the Busan International Film Festival along with the New Currents section,” the festival said on a statement.

While the festival’s full line-up will not be announced until next week, organizers revealed the first eight films selected for the Jiseok section. They include” Yalkin Tuychiev’s “Alteration”; Anshul Chauhan’s “December”; Ali Ghavitan’s “Life & Life”; Hadi Mohaghegh’s “Scent of Wind”; Prithvi Konanur’s “Seventeeners”; M.L. Bhandevanov Devakula’s “Six Characters”; Ananth Narayan Mahadevan’s “The Storyteller”; and Lee Kwangkuk’s “A Wing and a Prayer.”

The festival also unveiled two titles for its Korean Cinema Today Special Premiere section, which premieres a handful of unreleased Korean commercial films that organizers describe as “appealing.” Film releasing in Korea has accelerated since the lifting of most COVID restrictions within the country, but the distribution calendar remains sclerotic and many completed titles have yet to reach cinema screens.

The first two titles are: “20th Century Girl,” from first-time feature director Bang Woo-ri, who previously won the 2014 Blue Dragon Film Awards for best short film with “Mrs. Young”; and “The Boys,” directed by Chung Jiyoung (“Unbowed,” “National Security”).

The festival was held as a scaled down hybrid event in 2020 and as a largely in-person event last year, albeit with border restrictions in place that heavily restricted the flow of foreign filmmakers and other guests. This year, Busan will operate as an in-person festival over a ten-day span Oct. 5-14 at the purpose Busan Cinema Center.