The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) returns this year for its 23rd year. Running from October 4 – 13, 2018 the festival will feature over 300 films. The event is always widely attended and last year included entries from 76 countries. Screened in cinemas in and around the Centum City area, the Busan International Film Festival has offerings to suit the taste and interests of every movie goer.
BIFF was established in 1996 with the goal of introducing new films and first-time directors. It focuses on promoting movies from Asian countries but also those from around the world. Each year, the festival provides a location for the world premiere of around 90 films. Drawing crowds of hundreds of thousands, the Busan International Film Festival has earned the reputation as one of Asia’s most significant film showcases.
Every year, the festival is organized into several sections. Among the most important are the New Currents – an international competition featuring the first or second film by new Asian directors, Flash Forward – an international selection of up-and coming directors from non-Asian countries, Korean Cinema Retrospective – a look back at influential films and directors in Korean cinema history, as well as many others. In addition to screenings, every year BIFF recognizes outstanding achievements in 15 categories.
Among the most popular events at the festival are the opening and closing ceremonies. These have been sold out every year since its creation. Celebrated in the BIFF Theater, an outdoor venue at the Busan Cinema Center, the ceremony is a red-carpet event that includes stars from Korea and abroad and screening of significant films. Last year’s feature included Glass Garden and Love Education.
In addition to movie screenings, BIFF also provides a platform for networking and helping directors secure funding for their art. The main thrust of this is the Asian Project Market which is open to Asian directors and producers looking to complete a feature-length fiction film. It is billed as a co-production platform that offers emerging filmmakers the opportunity to meet leading international film professionals and will run concurrently with the film festival from October 7 – 9.
Another networking event created by the festival, Platform BUSAN, will be held from October 6 – 9. The express purpose of Platform BUSAN is to provide a venue where independent filmmakers in Asia can share their experiences and seek out opportunities for collaboration. This will be the second year for this event and features more than 160 participants from 21 countries. Filmmakers interested in attending can register from August 1 – September 14 on the www.biff.kr website.
Every year the festival organizes the Asian Film Academy. Running from September 27 - October 14, prospective filmmakers are provided with an opportunity to learn and discuss film making techniques and trends with established directors. Directors such as Béla Tarr, Jia Zhangke, Hou Hsiaohsien and Lee Chang-dong mentor aspiring film makers participating in short film production, workshops, and special lectures. This year two short films completed by the participants will be officially presented at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival.
For more information about ticketing and programming, visit www.biff.kr. Tickets are available online or at the door, but many screenings sell out quickly.