BUSAN, South Korea — The Busan International Film Festival opened in grand style last night with the red carpet opening ceremony drawing thousands of guests, film fans and celebrity gawkers to the Busan Cinema Center. The ceremony was hosted by famed Hong Kong actor Aaron Kwok and Korean screen legend Kang Soo-yeon.
French film critic and film historian, Charles Tesson, received the Korean Cinema Award working as a catalyst for Korean cinema in attracting the French film industry’s attention. Rithy Pahn, a Cambodian filmmaker, also was on hand to receive the Asian Filmmaker of the Year award. Bhutanese monk Khyentse Norbu’s Vara: A Blessing was screened as the opening film, the first of 301 set for the festival. The director was a no-show to the event however, opting for meditation in a remote part of Bhutan.
The 18th Film Festival kicked off its first full day of activities today, with the New Currents Jury press conference this morning at the Culture Center in Shinsegae led by award-winning Iranian film director Rakhshan Banietemad. The New Currents section introduces the works of up-and-coming directors who are leading the way for Asian cinema. Two films will be chosen from the 12 entrants, each of which will be awarded $30,000.
The competition looks to be tough this year, a sentiment that was agreed upon amongst the jurors.
‘I think the most important thing is to focus on the unknown filmmakers,’ said Banietemad. ‘Judging first or second film is difficult. I hope this festival brings a great opportunity for you filmmakers to come together.’
This weekend brings some great Outdoor Meet and Greets and Open Talks, giving fans an opportunity to interact and hear from their favorite stars. There are also two planned concerts on the beach at BIFF Village, with the Hello?! Orchestra with Richard Yongjae O’Neill performing Saturday evening and the Stephane Wrembel Band on Sunday night at 8 p.m.
Photos: BIFF Press
Handprinting Ceremonies (BIFF Village)
Outdoor Meet and Greets This Weekend (BIFF Village, Nampo Outdoor Stage)
Open Talk (BIFF Village)
Meet the Guest – Talk to Talk (BIFF Terrace)