[Filmfestivalresearch] Victory in Busan

Jean-Michel Frodon jmfrodon at gmail.com
Tue Jul 26 11:44:31 CEST 2016

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Korean Industry Halts Boycott of Busan Festival
By Sonia Kil,  <http://variety.com/author/sonia-kil/>
Patrick Frater <http://variety.com/author/patrick-frater/>

   - 0

[image: KANG Soo youn Busan Film Festival]
PHOTOLUDENS ryuminhyeong
July 25, 2016 | 08:55PM PT

Korean film makers today said that they will call off their boycott of
the Busan
International Film Festival

The decision means that the 21st edition festival will go ahead in October,
albeit on a smaller scale than in previous years.

The move follows the acceptance on Friday (July 22) of amendments to the
festival’s regulations. Those changes were followed by meetings on Monday
between chairman Kim Dong-ho and festival director Kang Soo-youn with
industry representatives in order to end the stand off. Kim was drafted in
as chairman in May as the first concrete step in the healing process.

In a message sent to the Korean industry Tuesday (July 26), the ‘Korean
Film Group’s Emergency Committee for Defending BIFF’s Independence’ said
that it would now halt its action. While discussions will continue, the
group called the changed regulations “a victory for film makers.”

A separate newsletter, signed by Kim and Kang and headed “Finally
Independence” was also circulated this morning by the festival.

The festival has been in turmoil since October 2014 when the city mayor Seo
Byung-soo objected to the programming of politically controversial
documentary “The Truth Shall Not Sink with Sewol” (a.k.a. “Diving Bell),”
and since moved to force festival director Lee Yong-kwan out of his job.
Both Lee and deputy director Jay Jeon have also been charged with
embezzlement and fraud.

“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.

While the committee said that it would end the boycott in order to “support
the festival’s normalization,” it also noted that Mayor Seo has not
apologized and that the legal charges against Lee have not yet been
dropped. It will continue to press for these.

The letter from Kim, arguably the most respected person in the Korean
industry, and actress turned festival director Kang did not mince its
words. It talked of “sabotage” by the city authorities, “political
pressure” and “interference.”

“There was a time we even seriously thought about not holding the festival
this year to protest against the city government. But we came to conclusion
that such a drastic measure won’t solve the problems. We realized that it
is our responsibility and duty to have the festival no matter what happens
for all cineastes who supported the festival from the beginning,” the
letter says. “Putting the festival back on track is our main focus. It is a
bit late, but we will try our best to have successful festival this year.”

“As it had been in dark whether the festival can go ahead, our budget
sharply decreased, and it was extra difficult to earn sponsorship. This
inevitably led to dissolution of the BIFF research center and downsizing of
the Asian Film Market,” said Kang on Friday.

The festival is scheduled to run Oct 6-15, 2016.

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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