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It’s BIFF now

Busan International Film Festival to kick off with new vision for future; annual event to run Oct. 6-14


It is now BIFF, not PIFF.

Previously known as Pusan International Film Festival, Korea’s first and largest international film bash is getting a new acronym for its name, along with a new, exclusive screening venue in Haeundae.

Starting this year, the festival will be officially renamed as Busan ― not Pusan ― International Film Festival.

On Thursday, the organizers of the festival held a press conference in both Seoul and Busan to announce its opening and closing films, as well as other significant details about the upcoming event which will run from Oct. 6-14. The upcoming event is the first festival since its founding director Kim Dong-ho’s retirement.

Lee Yong-kwan, the newly appointed director who is preceded by Kim, said BIFF is now facing a new era along with its new venue ― Busan Cinema Center. “We are now in the era of new Busan Cinema Center,” Lee told reporters on Thursday. “We will only continue to develop what Kim Dong-ho has established so far.”
The night view of Busan Cinema Center, which will be used as the official venue of BIFF after its official opening on Sept. 28. The opening ceremony of the 16th BIFF will be held, at its outdoor screening space where 4,000 seats are available, on Oct. 6. (Yonhap News.)
The night view of Busan Cinema Center, which will be used as the official venue of BIFF after its official opening on Sept. 28. The opening ceremony of the 16th BIFF will be held, at its outdoor screening space where 4,000 seats are available, on Oct. 6. (Yonhap News.)

The building, which is a 167.8 billion won ($156 million) project, will be used as the official screening venue of BIFF every year upon its opening this month. It houses four movie venues, cafs and restaurants. Its outdoor screening space can house up to 4,000 viewers.

A total of 307 films from 70 countries will be screened at five venues in Haeundae, including the newly opening venue this year.

The festival will open with Korean director Song Il-gon’s upcoming film “Always.” Co-starring actor So Ji-sub and Han Hyo-joo, the movie tells a love story between a former boxer and a young visually impaired woman who works as a telephonist.
Director Song Il-gon (left), whose film “Always” will open the Busan International Film Festival, speaks during a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. Next to Song is So Ji-sub, who appears in “Always.” Festival director Lee Yong-kwan is on the right. (Yonhap News)
Director Song Il-gon (left), whose film “Always” will open the Busan International Film Festival, speaks during a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. Next to Song is So Ji-sub, who appears in “Always.” Festival director Lee Yong-kwan is on the right. (Yonhap News)

Song, who won New Currents Awards at BIFF back in 2001 with his film “Flower Island,” said he is honored to screen his soon-to-be released film as an opener for this year’s festival. “It’s been exactly 10 years since I won New Currents at BIFF,” Song told reporters on Thursday. “Winning the particular award at the festival really helped me building my career as a filmmaker. I am both thrilled and happy to participate for the same festival this year.”

The closing film has been selected to be Japanese director Masato Harada’s 2011 work, “Chronicle of My Mother.” It tells a story of a successful author whose mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and the secrets of her life that ironically unveil has she begins to lose her own memories.

The festival’s Gala Presentation will feature seven new films by renowned directors in Asia. The included films are director Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host 3D” ― the 3-D version of Bong’s famous 2006 movie of the same title ― and “A Reason to Live” by director Lee Jeong-hyang, which stars big-name actress Song Hye-gyo as a young female producer whose fianc has been murdered by a teenager.

Busan’s official name was changed from Pusan to the current one in 2000, as the Korean government launched its revised Romanization of the Korean language in the same year.

BIFF, which started off as PIFF in 1996, kept its Pusan spelling until last year in spite of the revised Romanization.

For tickets and information, visit www.biff.kr.

By Claire Lee  (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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