The Korea Herald


BIFF chairman, director to leave beleaguered film fest

By Rumy Doo

Published : Aug. 9, 2017 - 15:29

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Busan International Film Festival’s Chairman Kim Dong-ho and Executive Director Kang Soo-youn will resign from their posts after hosting this year’s edition.

“We will be leaving after the festival closes on Oct. 21, after making our best efforts to hold the festival, which will take place two months from now, because we firmly believe that the festival should take place this year no matter what,” the two said in a joint statement issued Tuesday.

Kim, one of the founding members of BIFF 22 years ago, was officially appointed the first civilian chairman of BIFF after the festival’s bylaws were amended last July to facilitate artistic independence from the Busan Metropolitan Government.

Previously, the chairman position was held by the Busan mayor.

Kim Dong-ho (left) and Kang Soo-youn (Yonhap) Kim Dong-ho (left) and Kang Soo-youn (Yonhap)

Kim was appointed BIFF chairman in 2016 after its former Executive Director Lee Jong-kwan was pushed out following a debacle with the Busan government concerning the screening of a controversial documentary.

Actress Kang, who had been co-festival director since 2015, became the sole executive director after Lee’s departure.

Despite efforts to organize the festival after the shuffle, last year’s 21st edition of BIFF saw a 27 percent drop in the number of visitors.

Some have taken issue with the new leadership, claiming their stance is not progressive enough to ensure the festival’s full artistic freedom. A large group of filmmakers and actors boycotted the festival last year.

On Monday, BIFF employees issued a statement calling for the return of former Executive Director Lee to ensure “the normalization of BIFF and successful hosting of the 22nd festival.”

The statement said Executive Director Kang had been uncommunicative and unilateral in her decisions.

BIFF is scheduled to take place from Oct. 12-21 this year.

By Rumy Doo (