Busan, Korea's biggest port city, will see more celebrities of the world's film industry than ever during the 10th annual Pusan International Film Festival, which kicks off a nine-day-run tonight in its beautiful sea village of Haeundae and downtown Nampo-dong.
Inaugurated in 1996 as the nation's first-ever international film festival, PIFF has overcome the initial skepticism of many film fans and critics and established a reputation among professionals to grow up as one of Asia's major film festivals in such a short time.
For this year's event, a total of 307 films from 73 countries, classified into nine categories including "Windows of Asia", "New Waves", "World Cinema" and "A Retrospective Show of Korean Films", will be shown in the newly-opening outdoor cinema inside the Haeundae Yachting Center and 30 other indoor and outdoor venues around the city. Some 5,000 domestic and foreign stars, film producers, as well as about 200,000 viewers are expected to attend the film festival.
"At the beginning, we had to spend big to attract more people, but now we're worrying about not enough seats for those who are willing to purchase tickets to join the festival", Kim Dong-ho
, the director of the festival, who has been associated with this event ever since its inception, said in an interview. "The number of world-premiers has steeply increased from last year's 40 to 63 this year. But we will keep working on introducing more new films through the upcoming festival".
Among the celebrities to visit the city during the festival are Korean actors Jang Dong-gun
and Jung Wu-sung and actresses Kim Hee-sun and Jun Ji-hyun.
In addition to the main events and the opening and closing ceremonies, the PIFF will hold a variety of auxiliary events such as the Pusan Promotion Plan, the biggest free market event in Asian cinema, a hand printing event and reception parties for the participating stars and producers.
The opening ceremony will be held at the Yachting Race Venue in the Bay of Suyong at 8:00 p.m. Taiwanese film "Three Times: Best of Our Times" (2005), directed by Hou Hsiao-Hsien, will be shown as the opening film. The film shows different love stories in three different times, 1911, 1966 and 2005 by the same actor and actress but in different characters.
The closing ceremony will be held at the same site on Oct. 14, 8:00 p.m., with Korean director Hwang Byeong-kook's "Wedding Campaign
" (2005), a melodrama about two single male farmers looking for wives in Uzbekistan, being premiered.
Ten years ago, one of the festival's major goals was finding new Asian film directors, and the goal has been achieved to some degree, as such acclaimed film directors as Korea's Kim Ki-duk
and Fruit Chan from Hong Kong made their names through the past festivals.
Other special events include Directors' Choice Troopers and Actors' Choice Troopers, in which moviegoers can meet directors and actors to discuss film in depth. Director Kim Jee-woon
of "A Bittersweet Life
" and Choi Dong-hoon
of "The Big Swindle
" will participate in the sessions along with actors and actresses including Moon So-ri
of "A Good Lawyer's Wife
" and Yoo Ji-tae
of "Antarctic Journal
Other renowned guests expected to visit the festival include British filmmaker Peter Greenaway, Japanese director Seijun Suzuki, Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami and actor Jackie Chan
For more information about the 10th Pusan International Film Festival, call (051) 747-3010 / (02) 3675-5097 or visit its official Web site: Open the link
By Lee Yong-sung