Back To Top

BIFF award recipients to open and close this year’s festival

Films by directors who previously received commendations will open and close the upcoming 24th Busan International Film Festival, which organizers said was a testament to the annual film festival’s contributions to the Asian film scene.

Opening BIFF 2019 is “The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time” by Kazakhstan’s Yerlan Nurmukhambetov and Japan’s Lisa Takeba. The film is about a boy, his encounter with horse thieves and his life after his childhood is dismantled following the death of his father. 

It stars Kazak actress Samal Yeslyamov, the best actress award winner at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Closing the festival will be “Moonlit Winter” by Korea’s Lim Dae-hyung, a romance about a mother and a daughter who set on a path of reconciliation after the daughter finds out the secret her mother has been hiding all her life.

Both Nurmukhambetov and Lim received BIFF’s New Currents award -- for “Walnut Tree” in 2015 and “Merry Christmas Mr. Mo” in 2016, respectively.

BIFF 2019 director Jay Jeon speaks during a press conference in Busan on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
BIFF 2019 director Jay Jeon speaks during a press conference in Busan on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

“The fact that we’ve been able to feature our past New Currents winners as the directors for the opening and closing films holds a significance, that we are bearing fruit via our Asia Project Market and Asia Cinema Fund. We will continue support for the ACF,” BIFF 2019 director Jay Jeon said during a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.

Asia Cinema Fund is an initiative aimed at promoting Asian and Korean independent film productions, while the Asia Project Market is an investment and co-production market for Asian films.

The focus of this year’s BIFF will be on films dealing with social minorities, and the festival will aim to become more global in the future by inviting more countries to participate, according to Jeon.

“While BIFFs of the past were dominated by films from the Far East, this year’s BIFF features notable works from all across Asia,” said Jeon.

This year’s festival will feature 303 films from 85 countries, with the world premiere of 97 feature films and 23 short films. Thirty films -- 29 features and one short film -- will be shown for the first time outside their countries of origin.

The festival will take place Oct. 3-12, across 37 screens at six theaters in Busan: Busan Cinema Center, Lotte Cinema Centum City, CGV Centum City, Megabox Haeundae, Sohyang Theater Centum City and Lotte Cinema Daeyoung.

Among the programs at the festival are gala presentations of the new Kore-eda Hirokazu film “The Truth,” Wayne Wang’s “Coming Home Again,” Gloria Mundi’s “Robert Guediguian” and David Michod’s “The King.”

This year’s film fest will commemorate the past century of Korean cinema through a special program titled “The 100 Year History of Korean Cinema, 10 Great Korean Films.” This will feature works by past and present Korean auteurs, from “The Housemaid” by Kim Ki-young, “March of Fools” by Ha Gil-jong and “Seopyeonje” by Im Kwon-taek to modern greats like “The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well” by Hong Sang-soo, “Memories of Murder” by Bong Joon-ho and “Oldboy” by Park Chan-wook.

By Yoon Min-sik (