Magazine article Screen International

Crisis-Hit Busan Film Festival Has Calm Opening

Magazine article Screen International

Crisis-Hit Busan Film Festival Has Calm Opening

Article excerpt

The 21st Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) had a relatively calm opening on Thursday night (Oct 6), despite rumours of protest and a typhoon that had battered the city the day before.

Rumours swirled in the run-up to the opening ceremony that the local film industry would stage protests against political interference at the festival, as well as to support former BIFF executives, who are currently being prosecuted. A heavy police presence around the main venue, the Busan Cinema Centre, suggested that local authorities were on high alert.

However, only one protest was spotted as guests streamed up the red carpet; actor Kim Eui-suk, who appears in Zhang Lu's opening film A Quiet Dream, held up a sign saying "Independent Film Festival for Busan". Kim is also on BIFF's jury for the award for actor and actress of the year.

In the hours before the opening ceremony, local workers were clearing up the mess created by Typhoon Chaba, which disrupted attendees' travel plans and destroyed the BIFF Village temporary structure on Haeundae beach. More than 20 Open Talk, Outdoor Greeting and Hand Printing events have been relocated to Dureraum Square at the Busan Cinema Centre as a result of the damage.

By the time the ceremony kicked off, calm had been restored and the outdoor screening area of Busan Cinema Centre was packed with cheering fans.

Although there were fewer local stars and industry figures in attendance than previous years, long-time BIFF supporters including actor Ahn Sung-ki and directors Kim Ki-duk and Im Kwon-taek walked the red carpet, along with regional stars and filmmakers such as Ken Watanabe, Kara Hui Ying-hung, Ho Yuhang, Eric Khoo and Joko Anwar. …

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