[Filmfestivalresearch] Busan: not so clear

Jean-Michel Frodon jmfrodon at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 07:23:24 CEST 2016

Korean Industry Deadlock Means Busan Festival Boycott to Continue
By Sonia Kil,  <http://variety.com/author/sonia-kil/>
Patrick Frater <http://variety.com/author/patrick-frater/>
[image: Busan Festival Center]
Courtesy of Coop Himmelblau
July 31, 2016 | 06:22PM PT

In a partial reversal of a previously indicated position, Korean industry
groups Monday were deadlocked over a decision whether to continue or end
their boycott of the Busan International Film Festival

The Directors Guild of Korea voted by 48 to 82 on Friday (July 29) against
a proposal to end the boycott. The Producers’ Guild of Korea voted by 42 to
66 against a similar proposal. Also voting on Friday, the cinematographers’
guild also voted down the proposal.

That left six of the nine guilds that make up the Emergency Committee to
express their decisions on Monday (Aug. 1.) By Monday morning there was a
tie with four groups in favor, four against and one undecided.

The committee decided to continue its internal discussions. These may
continue for some days.

“The result was 4:4:1 so that the committee won’t make a decision as a
collective and will instead respect individual member groups’ decisions,
while discussions will continue,” it said in the statement.

The voting follows two months of negotiations, a week of scrambled
diplomacy and a seeming breakthrough earlier this week.

Ten days ago (July 22) the festival agreed to change its regulations in a
number of ways designed to ensure its editorial independence. New festival
chairman Kim Dong-ho <http://variety.com/t/kim-dong-ho/> and festival
director Kang Soo-youn on Monday last week held talks with the industry to
present the changes, which appeared to be in line with what the boycott
organizers had been seeking.

On Tuesday last week (July 26) the Emergency Committee circulated a text
message to its supporters claiming “victory for film makers.”

“We believe that the newly revised regulations largely guarantee the
festival’s independence and autonomy and that BIFF’s independence and
freedom of expression have been achieved to a certain extent,” the
Emergency Committee said in the message.

The same day the Kim and Kang sent out a letter in Korean and English
claiming “Finally Independence” for the festival.

But those victory cries may have been premature. The final position of the
Emergency Committee, however, needed to be put to a vote among the
different guilds that backed the boycott.

The Busan festival has been in turmoil since its 2014 edition when the
Busan mayor and city authorities objected to the selection of a documentary
film that was critical of the Korean government in its handling of the
Sewol ferry tragedy.
Jean-Michel Frodon
Professeur associé à Sciences-Po Paris
Membre du comité pédagogique de SPEAP
Professorial Fellow, University of St. Andrews. Scotland
Professor of Global Cinema and Creative Cultures, IGCCC

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