Biggest festival ever, promise PIFF organizersPusan International Film Festival organizers said this year’s festival will have the largest number of entries in its history.
At a press conference Monday at the Westin Chosun, festival director Kim Dong-ho said the event, which will run from Oct. 7 through Oct. 15, will have a total of 266 films from 63 countries, showing at 17 theaters.
“This festival is by far the most comprehensive we ever had; there’s an average of two films each from the 63 countries. We have invited an even number of films from all over the globe, including the African continent and South America,” Mr. Kim said. Depending on the film, English, Korean, Japanese or French subtitles will be provided.
Thirty-nine of the films are world premieres, 16 are international premieres and 50 are Asian premieres. The festival has nine sections, including “A Window on Asian Cinema,” “New Currents,” “Korean Panorama,” “World Cinema,” “Wide Angle,” “Open Cinema,” and “Critics’ Choice.”
The opening film, Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai’s “2046,” will be screened after its Sept. 31 release in China. According to a festival programmer, the film, which already premiered at Cannes earlier this year, was reshot and re-edited for the Busan release.
The closing film will be the critically acclaimed Korean film “The Scarlet Letter,” the second work by David Byun.
Following the special feature “Spotlight on Canada” last year, the highlight this year is German Panorama. Co-organized with the Goethe Institute of Korea, 11 representative works from East and West Germany from the 1960s, 1970s and onward will be showcased. The first weekend of the festival will see film industry luminaries such as Wim Venders attend German Night on Saturday at the Paradise Hotel.
In other events, the retrospective on Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos will feature 12 of his works including “Reconstruction,” a trilogy of modern Greek tragedy and “The Weeping Meadow,” the first part of his new trilogy on the 20th century. The trilogy will make its Asian premiere in Busan.
The quality of films showcased at PIFF each year has contributed to the presence of tens of thousands of attendees, including directors and programmers from the world’s major festivals. The festival is by far the most influential in Asia and has paved the way for Asian filmmakers and marketers to reach a global audience.
The cinematic experience of the festival is enhanced by star-studded red carpet moments. Appearances by actors such as Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Sylvia Chan and Andy Lau are expected at the various seminars and nightly parties.
According to festival programmer Kim Ji-seok, this year the festival has more sophisticated outdoor concerts and art-related films, which are also part of the contemporary art exhibition, Busan Biennale 2004 (http://work.busanbiennale.org/), which runs until the end of October.
Tickets will be available online at the official Web site (www.piff.org) tomorrow and Saturday; general ticketing begins Sept. 23. You must be a PIFF member to buy tickets online, and only “PIFF-cash” can be used to buy tickets. The PIFF cash card is sold and can be recharged at Pusan Bank branches. Tickets can also be picked up at the bank’s branches or at ticketing offices at theaters in Busan.
by Ines Cho