Magazine article Variety

Star-Packed Busan Fest Opens under a Cloud

Magazine article Variety

Star-Packed Busan Fest Opens under a Cloud

Article excerpt

THE 22ND EDITION of the Busan Intl. Film Festival got under way Thursday under a deluge of pouring rain. That felt like another burden for a festival that has suffered plenty of late.

Indignities vented against the festival by a right-wing government that itself was booted out of power earlier this year include budget cuts and the ousting of former festival director Lee Yong-kwan and former deputy director Jay Jeon. And in May, co-founder and lead festival programmer Kim Ji-seok died suddenly.

Despite the ongoing issues, the red carpet had more stars and especially local figures.

Notable Korean filmmakers such as Jang Sun-woo ("Lies"), Kwak Kyung-taek ("The Classified File"), Jeon Soo-il ("El Condor Pasa") and Kim Tae-yong ("Set Me Free") walked the red carpet along with their cast. Star actors included Moon Geunyoung ("Glass Garden"), Son Ye-jin ("The Last Princess"), Kim Jae-uck ("Butterfly Sleep"), Cho Jin-woong ("The Handmaiden"), Ahn Seo-hyun ("Okja") and Choi Minho ("Derailed"). Another notable attendee was Busan mayor Seo Byung-soo, who was absent at the opening ceremony last year.

In the past year, it has emerged that, during the regime of the now impeached president Park Geun-hye, South Korea's entertainment industry was targeted for punishment by Park and the culture ministry A blacklist of some 9,000 artists was created in order to exclude film makers and stars who were deemed unfriendly to Park's regime, from accessing funding by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

Other high-level political-industrial scandals, including the arrest of the head of Samsung Electronics, have also impacted the film business. …

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