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International Film Festival Starts in Cannes, and Ends in Pusan.

International Film Festival Starts in Cannes, and Ends in Pusan.

Posted November. 19, 2002 22:57,   


The Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) has increased its status around the global. With its 7th anniversary, it is now counted as the biggest one of its kind in Asia. What is left of the PIFF is to make itself anew in such a way as to step on the same plane with other worldly renowned festivals. In the morning on Monday, Kim Dong-ho, who is in charge of the PIFF`s Board of Directors, and Fremaux, the head of the Cannes Film Festival`s Board of Directors, had a conversation in the Paradise Hotel in Haewoondae, Pusan. Two commissioners have maintained a special personal relationship with each other ever since serving as judges together at the Berlin Film Festival in 2000.

▽Kim: I really appreciate your visitation to the PIFF twice. Your presence has contributed to increasing the status of it.

▽Fremaux: Last year, I was invited. This year, however, I voluntarily came here, finding that the PIFF serves as a venue where people in the film industry can enjoy themselves

▽Kim: What do you think of the PIFF?

▽Fremaux: The Cannes Festival is more like a starting point, while the PIFF is more like a wrapping up point. Most of the films invited to the Cannes are also invited to the PIFF. It`s like a checking list: whether we have selected the proper movies, whether our selection draws the attention, and the like. In addition, participating in the PIFF gives me more opportunities to experience various types of Asian movies and to find out what kind of films draw the attention. Without coming here every year, I may feel I may have missed something important.

▽Kim: By mid 1990s, only 4 Korean films were introduced in the Cannes. Thereafter, director Lim Kwon-tack succeeded in advancing two of his works to the Cannes. What`s your objective opinion about the Korean movies?

▽Fremaux: Experiencing more Korean films, I got to realize that Korea also has its own version of eccole. This may have been brought about by the PIFF. It may have stimulated the Korean filmmakers. Culture and economy are not separable. They work together. What is important in film-making is the history. I just got to know that Korea has a history of more than 100 years. Whenever I encounter a Korean movie, I feel like walking on a road not taken before. That`s what I think, approaching Korean films.

▽Kim: Korean movies have become known to the world through festivals like the Cannes and the Venice. In this respect, directors should make efforts to let the world understand their works through these festivals.

▽Fremaux: Some say the most independent is the most global. Lim`s works have demonstrated what it means to be Korean. That is why the works appealed to the world. And that is also the magic of the cinema. Strange images arouse a huge feeling of sharedness. In that context, we can understand why and how an Iranian film drew the attention in the Cannes.

▽Kim: Having a history of 55 years, the Cannes must have encountered tough times. What are they? How did you get over the times?

▽Fremaux: Once a film festival becomes famous, people want to include all the films in it. In the Cannes, only 50 movies can be introduced. It is crucial to guarantee the freedom of the judges to make it fair. That is why, in the Cannes, sometimes a Hollywood movie can win; other times, a film of an unknown director wins. It`s like in a sport. Nobody knows what will happen. 20 years ago, we set up our motto: the award goes to a film of quality. One good example is Pulp Fiction, whose director was not known at that time.

▽Kim: The PIFF got established to introduce Asian directors to the world. We have hosted the Pusan Promotion Plan five times to arrange a meeting of Asian directors with the investors. European movie-makers have big markets like North America and Europe. Furthermore, they can recruit sponsors in the Toronto Film Festival. But, Asians do not have such. That`s where the PIFF wishes to give help. Still, that is hard and seems to need a cautious approach.

▽Fremaux: A film festival is meant to serve as a meeting of culture and industry, which in turn requires our attention to marketability. Viewers here have shown, I noticed, a zeal that is hard to be found in other festivals. Thus, maintaining this unique image of the PIFF, you should make efforts to create a market for it. You should make the PIFF a standard accepted in Asia and around the world. What do you think of the PIFF in 20 years?

▽Kim: I will make it a must stop for meeting promising Asian directors and works. I will want to maintain good terms with the Cannes, thereby inviting over the films introduced there and have them evaluated here. In this respect, I will not make the PIFF a place of competition. I will just keep the identity of it.

Soo-Kyung Kim skkim@donga.com