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Busan film fest pushed back 2 weeks, downsized amid COVID-19

The 24th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)
The 24th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)

The 25th Busan International Film Festival has been postponed two weeks and scaled down considerably as the new coronavirus cases continues to spike in number nationwide.

The board members of the festival’s organizing committee on Friday afternoon held an extraordinary general meeting and decided to delay the festival two weeks from Oct. 7-16 to Oct. 21-30. The decision was made out of concerns over further spread of COVID-19 following the Chuseok holiday season that is set to start on Sept. 30 , the festival organizers said in a statement.

To prevent crowds from gathering, all outdoor events will be canceled, including the opening and closing ceremonies, outdoor greetings and open talk sessions. There will be no invitations of international guests nor networking opportunities for cineastes and film industry experts -- which had been one of the main roles of the festival -- for this year’s edition.

The selected films will be screened only at the Busan Cinema Center, and other programs, including Asia Contents & Film Market, Asia Project Market, BIFF Forum, will move online .

The festival itself may be canceled if the social distancing protocol -- currently at Level 2 in Busan -- continues to stay at Level 2 or above during the festival period, the organizers added.

More details and the official selections will be announced during an online press conference at 3 p.m. Monday.

By Choi Ji-won (