With the desire to create a ‘small but prestigious film festival’, Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) held its first opening ceremony on September 13, 1996.
Korea’s first international film festival took its first steps amidst many concerns about holding an ‘international film festival’ in Busan, not Seoul.
The first edition invited 169 films from 31 countries and held screenings in a total of six theaters.
This is the first time in the festival’s 28-year history that a Korean actor, rather than a director or executive committee member, has been chosen as the host.
The vacancy was created in May when the board chair and executive committee chair stepped down in tandem.
Song readily accepted the offer, considering that the festival is in a difficult situation this year. This year’s host will represent the festival in many ways, including welcoming guests at the opening ceremony.
Chow Yun-fat, who presided over the golden age of Hong Kong cinema and helped turn “Hong Kong noir” into a global film genre, has been named the 28th BIFF Asian Filmmaker of the Year. A special screening of his masterpieces, including A Better Tomorrow, will also be held during the festival.
Korean Americans in the film industry have recently taken the world by storm.
Some notable Korean Americans in the industry include director Lee Isaac Chung and actor Steven Yeun from Minari (2020), directors Justin Chon and Kogonada from Pachinko (2022), actor John Cho from Searching (2018), and more.
Also of note is the film Past Lives (2023), a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. This year, BIFF is celebrating their stories with a special Korean American program.
In honor of actress Yoon Jeong-hee, who passed away this year, we will be screening two of her masterpieces, Mist (1967) and Poetry (2010).
In particular, the special screening of Poetry will be accompanied by a special talk by director Lee Chang-dong.
Beacuse I Hate Korea by Director JANG Kun-jae (Korea)
The Movie Emperor by Director NING Hao (China)
Green Night by Director HAN Shuai (Hong Kong/China)
Monster by Director KORE-EDA Hirokazu (Japan)
The Beast by Director Bertrand BONELLO (France/Canada)
Burning by Director LEE Chang-dong (Korea)
Colombus by Director Kogonada (United States)
Jamojaya by Director Justin CHON (United States/Indonesia)
Minari by Director Lee Isaac CHUNG (United States)
Past Lives by Director Celine SONG (United States/Korea)
Searching by Director Aneesh CHAGANTY (United States/Russia)