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Busan International Film Festival aims to connect Asia’s film industry

Opening ceremony for the 26th Busan International Film Festival held last year (BIFF)
Opening ceremony for the 26th Busan International Film Festival held last year (BIFF)
Busan International Film Festival announced its vision and goals to expand its presence in Asia on Tuesday.

Established in 1996, BIFF is the first international film festival in Korea, held annually in the local theaters of Busan.

According to the BIFF secretariat, it held the first general meeting of 2022 on Jan. 27 at BIFF Hill of the Busan Cinema Center. Following the meeting, it announced its new vision to hold an event to link filmmakers and moviegoers in Asia. BIFF‘s previous vision was more focused on becoming the best film fest in Asia.

The fest organizer also highlighted its goal to create a festival that is being held throughout different Asian countries, instead of as a centralized festival in Busan.

Through “BIFF Interlink,” the event organizer will mainly use online channels to allow audiences from different countries to enjoy the annual film festival in Busan.

BIFF‘s other goal is to establish the biggest Asian story market, where global buyers and sellers of the movie industry can gather.

The organizer said that it will create a platform that is more open and convenient to global film industry insiders.

The Entertainment Intellectual Property Market that assists in holding meetings between film-related intellectual property holders and buyers and that is held during the Asian Contents & Film Market, will also change its name to Story Market, while strengthening its online platform to meet the needs of the global market.

This year, the 27th Busan film fest will be held for 10 days from Oct. 5 to 14, and the Asian Contents & Film Market will take place for four days from Oct. 8 to 11.

Meanwhile, BIFF approved the reappointment of the chairperson, Lee Yong-kwan, during the general assembly. Lee, who was first appointed in 2018, will again lead the annual film festival for the next four years.

Lee Yong-kwan, chairman of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)
Lee Yong-kwan, chairman of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)
As one of the founding members of BIFF in 1996, Lee worked in different positions at the organization, including programmer in chief, vice director and director of the board.

According to BIFF, he led a successful festival while adopting preventive measures against COVID-19 last year.

During last year’s BIFF, 223 films from 70 countries were screened in-person at six theaters in Busan. The opening and closing ceremonies were also held offline in 2021. This was a significant change, as the BIFF organizer held a much scaled-down event with minimum screening and without an opening or closing ceremony in 2020, in light of coronavirus protocols.

By Song Seung-hyun (