‘Normalized’ BIFF vows new beginning with 323 films

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Oct 3, 2018 - 15:45
  • Updated : Oct 3, 2018 - 15:45

Busan International Film Festival has been limping on since the “Diving Bell” incident of 2014, which resulted in a number of cinema groups boycotting Korea’s largest cinema event.

With the reinstatement of key members of the festival who had been sacked -- including the appointment of Lee Yong-kwan as the new chairman and bringing Jay Jeon back on board -- the organizers said 2018 will mark the first year of the normalization of BIFF.

The 23rd BIFF, running Oct. 4-13, will feature 323 films from 79 countries at five Busan theaters: Busan Cinema Center, Lotte Cinema Centum City, CGV Centum City, Megabox Haeundae and Dongseo University Sohyang Theater. World premieres of 115 films will be held during the festival period.

Actress Lee Na-young (right) and director Yun Jero attend the press conference for the 23rd Busan International Film Festival, held on Sept. 4 in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Kicking things off is the first showing of “Beautiful Day” by director Yun Jero, which marks actress Lee Na-young’s first film in six years. She plays a mother with a tragic past as a North Korean refugee.

Capping things off on Oct. 13 will be the world premiere of closing film “Master Z: The Ip Man Legacy.” The Hong Kong film is directed by Yeun Woo-ping.

Three films from the Far East were selected for the Gala Presentations of the festival: “First Night Nerves” by Stanley Kwan of Hong Kong and China, “Killing” by Tsukamoto Shinya of Japan and “Ode to the Goose” by Chinese-born Korean Zhang Lu.

A Window on Asian Cinema, Korean Cinema Retrospective, World Cinema, Korean Cinema Today and other programs feature some of the significant films.

Poster for 23rd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)

The Busan Classic section has been newly created this year, introducing classic films from the past years.

Among events and exhibitions at BIFF are special screenings of master filmmaker Lee Jang-ho’s works.

“The Other Side of the Wind,” a Netflix original by master auteur Orson Welles, will get its Asian premiere at the festival.

Organizers vowed to boost other sideline events, including the Asian Film Market, which will feature comics, books and films and other original content from Asia from Saturday to Tuesday at Bexco.

Actors, directors and other personnel from the movie industry will pay a visit to the portside city during the festival.

Lee Na-young, the leading lady of the opening piece, will participate in the Thursday opening ceremony and an open talk show the next day at the outdoor stage at the BIFF Village on Haeundae beach.

Yoo Ah-in and Jeon Jong-seo of the award-winning “Burning” by director Lee Chang-dong will communicate with fans Saturday on the same stage, followed Monday by a talk between fans and actresses Kim Hee-ae and Kim Hae-sook of the fim “Herstory.”

Park Hae-il, Moon So-ri and K-pop star and actor Choi Soo-young will also be featured at the BIFF.

Foreign guests include actors Marcello Fonte, Yuya Yagira, Valerio Mieli, Jasper Liu, Ivy Chen, Karata Erika and Masahiro Higashide, along with directors Hosoda Mamoru, Laura Luchetti and Letizia Lamartire and producer Jason Blum.

For more details on the festival, visit www.biff.kr.

By Yoon Min-sik