This year’s Busan International Film Festival, Asia’s largest film festival, will be hosted by actor Song Kang-ho amid the absence created by the resignations of the festival executive director and chairperson in May.
On Tuesday, the BIFF announced that Song will fill in as the host, adding that renowned actors and filmmakers such as Luc Besson, Shunji Iwai, Hirokazu Koreeda, Fan Bingbing and Youn Yuh-jung and Chow Yun-fat will attend the festival.
Chow Yun-fat was announced as the recipient of this year's Asian Filmmaker of the Year award Tuesday. His films, including this year's “One More Chance” (2023), “A Better Tomorrow” (1986) and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” (2000) will be screened during the festival.
“Song, who won the Best Actor award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, happily accepted the role of the host of this year’s BIFF, understanding that the BIFF has been going through various difficulties,” said Nam Dong-cheol, senior programmer and acting executive director of this year's 28th BIFF, adding that Song will represent the BIFF and greet the guests at the opening. Song attended last year’s BIFF with director Koreeda’s “Broker.”
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 for sexual abuse. Following Huh's sudden departure, BIFF Chairperson Lee Yong-kwan also turned in his resignation on May 15.
The 28th edition of the BIFF will screen 209 films from 69 countries, Oct. 4-13. There will be 87 world and international premieres. Director Jang Kun-jae’s “Because I Hate Korea” will open the ceremony, while director Ning Hao’s “The Movie Emperor” will close the festival on Oct. 13.
For the first time, the BIFF is showcasing a Korean American section, "Korean Diaspora," introducing works by Korean American filmmakers like Lee Isaac Chung of the Oscar-winning “Minari.”
“We thought it was a pivotal moment to cover Korean American works amid the global attention towards these talented filmmakers,” Nam told reporters during a press conference held online on Tuesday.
Different content formats other than films will also be screened during this year's BIFF, such as six OTT series as well as the much-anticipated documentary titled “Dear Jinri,” about late singer Sulli, which includes the singer’s final interview. Director Baik’s “Believer 2” and director Lee Chung-hyun’s “Ballerina” will get world premieres at Busan.
Late actor Yun Jung-hee will be celebrated with a special screening of her acclaimed films “Mist” (1967) and “Poetry” (2010). There will also be special screenings celebrating late composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The Asian content and film market will run in Busan Oct. 7-10.
The screening schedules will be updated on the BIFF official website on Sept. 15, while ticket sales will open Sept. 20.