The organizers of the Asiana International Short Film Festival on Wednesday announced that this year’s festival has been canceled, after Asiana Airlines decided to drop its sponsorship.
“Asiana International Short Film Festival closes its doors, as the sponsorship of the Asiana Airlines has been discontinued due to various circumstances such as COVID-19,” the Asiana International Short Film Festival secretariat office said in a statement.
Established in 2003, the short film festival had been actively discovering, promoting and supporting short films and filmmakers. It also supported short films through onboard screenings on Asiana Airlines airplanes.
Directors Kim Han-min, the mind behind hit films like “War of the Arrows” (2011) and “Roaring Currents” (2014), is one of the filmmakers discovered by the festival. In 2003, Kim screened his short film “Three Hungry Brothers” at the festival. Kim was also appointed as one of the judges for the Asiana International Short Film Festival in 2018.
“We would like to sincerely thank Asiana Airlines who have sponsored the Asiana International Short Film Festival for the past 18 years and all the filmmakers, members of the media and partners who have stood by us,” the statement added.
Asiana Airlines’ decision to stop its sponsorship came after the company suffered financially due to suspending most of its flights on international routes since March last year, as countries strengthened their entry restrictions to stem the spread of the pandemic.
Also, in November last year, Korean Air announced plans to acquire the debt-ridden Asiana for 1.8 trillion won ($1.59 billion). Most recently, Korean Air announced its goal to launch a single integrated entity with Asiana Airlines in 2024.
“We first found out that Asiana will no longer sponsor us in February. The final decision to drop our sponsorship was made through a special meeting held on March 30,” Kwak Yeon-ok, an official from the festival’s secretariat office told The Korea Herald. “Our secretariat office will stay open until the end of April. Even after that, corporation of the festival will remain for a while as we look for a new sponsor. If we successfully find our new sponsor, then we will change the name of the corporation.”
However, Kwak expressed concerns over finding a new sponsor.
“We see that it won’t be easy. Due to the pandemic, every company is going through a difficult time. But we are doing our best,” she added.
Meanwhile, other independent film festivals here including Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival and Seoul Independent Documentary Film Festival also canceled their festivals this year due to the pandemic.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org