The Busan International Film Festival got underway Wednesday, with a total of 269 films from 69 countries on playing on 25 screens in Busan throughout the 10-day festival. The related Asian Contents and Film Market for film, video and entertainment industry insiders will be held from Oct. 7-10.
The 28th edition of Asia’s largest film festival was scheduled to open with South Korean director Jang Kun-jae’s “Because I Hate Korea” and will conclude on Oct. 13 with Chinese director Ning Hao’s “The Movie Emperor.”
Actor Song Kang-ho, who has been picked to host this year's BIFF amid the resignations of the festival's executive director and chairperson in May, will greet renowned actors and filmmakers such as Luc Besson, Shunji Iwai, Hirokazu Koreeda, Fan Bingbing and Youn Yuh-jung and Chow Yun-fat during the festival.
On May 11, Huh Mun-young offered to resign from his post as the BIFF's executive director. It was later reported that a former staff member had reported Huh to the Center for Gender Equality in Korean Film, alleging sexual abuse. Following Huh's sudden departure, BIFF Chairperson Lee Yong-kwan also turned in his resignation on May 15.
Song said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald that he “happily accepted the suggestion (to become the BIFF host)” because he wanted to support the festival and he would be in Busan anyway this week. Song recently starred in director Kim Jee-woon’s black comedy “Cobweb.”
As the Busan city government has cut its budget for BIFF, the number of invited films are less than that of last year. However, the organizer sought to seek a change by introducing new programs like the Global OTT Awards and inviting more renowned guests, aimed at reflecting the industry trends and meeting the needs of the audience.
For the first time, BIFF is showcasing a new section called "Korean Diaspora," introducing works by Korean American filmmakers like Lee Isaac Chung of the Oscar-winning “Minari” and Anthony Shim of “Riceboy sleeps.” John Cho, Lee Isaac Chung and Justin Chon will meet with the audience.
High-profile works like Hirokazu Koreeda’s “Monster” and Lea Seydoux’s “The Beast” will get their Korean premieres, while the highly anticipated “Believer 2,” by Baik and director Lee Chung-hyun’s “Ballerina” will make their world premiere at BIFF. “Dear Jinri,” a documentary which includes the late singer Sulli’s final interview, will be also be screened for the first time.
Renowned Korean actors including Youn Yuh-jung, Song Joong-ki and Han Hyo-joo will participate in BIFF’s flagship Actor's House event to share their thoughts and insights with a live audience. Jung Woo-sung, Kim Hee-sun and more will also meet with audiences through open talk events.
Earlier this year, Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat was announced as the recipient of this year's Asian Filmmaker of the Year award. Chow's films, including “One More Chance” (2023), “A Better Tomorrow” (1986) and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” (2000) will be screened during the festival.