Lee Yong-kwan has been reappointed as chairman of the Busan International Film Festival for a further four years. He was one of the festival’s original co-founders back in 1996 and has held the chairman’s job since 2018. His renewal was agreed at a general assembly on Thursday.
The next edition of the festival will run Oct. 5-14, 2022. The accompanying Asian Contents & Film Market will run Oct. 8-11.
The festival operated for the past two years in physical form, but under tight anti-COVID restrictions that reduced screenings, pushed the ACFM largely online and meant few foreign filmmakers, media or other guests were able to attend. Both the festival and market were under new management from last year. Huh Moonyung was the new festival director while industry-administrative veteran Oh Seok-geun took over at the ACFM.
Following the end of last year’s edition, the festival said that that it had the strong support of the Busan city government and that it would undergo a strategic rethink that would establish its path for the next ten years. Details of the plan have not yet been made public.
“I will try my best to meet the expectations of the Busan citizens and the filmmakers,” said Lee in a statement. “With the festival director Huh Moonyung and the director of the Asian Contents & Film Market Oh Seok-geun, we will establish a toehold for the festival according to the newly prepared 10-year plan.”
In a final report after the 2021 edition, festival organizers said that although cinema seating was limited to 50% of normal capacity, occupancy ran at 80% and that the festival welcomed 76,000 spectators. Screenings for the new On Screen section, which gave public screenings to three streaming series, were all sold out.
Busan’s market events also rebounded. Online badge registrations climbed from 885 in 2020 to 1,479 in 2021. There were 200 online booths, up by 94 from the previous year. The E-IP Pitching section was particularly robust. It included 45 selections (from Korea, Japan and Taiwan) and organized 216 online meetings and a further 608 on site.
Speaking at last year’s wrap event, Oh said that while he is keen to return to in-person events next year, a digital or hybrid component is likely to be retained.