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[Editorial] The Pusan International Film Festival Should Become World Class

[Editorial] The Pusan International Film Festival Should Become World Class

Posted October. 11, 2005 03:02,   


The 10th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) is making Busan into a happening city.

With its opening ceremony on October 6, Busan transformed itself as a “cinema paradiso” where moviegoers and people working in the film industry at home and abroad gathered together and stayed up all night for movies. This year’s PIFF features 307 films from 73 countries, the largest number ever, and the number of attendees easily exceeded 160,000, the entire number of audience for last year’s PIFF, just three days after opening.

PIFF is recognized as Asia’s film festival. Asian filmmakers now want to make their names known to the world through this film festival, while Western moviemakers come to Busan to grab the trend of Korean and Asian movies and to find promising movie people. Movie people in the world do not spare their compliments about PIFF being successful in such a short period of time.

The “Korean wave” over the past few years was helpful for the movie festival, but the opposite is also true. The PIFF contributed a lot to the Korean wave by enhancing recognition of Korean movies.

Above all, success of the movie festival is the product of professionalism of organizers and aggressive support from Busan citizens. The organizers excluded political nature, which is often part of local festivals. This film festival has a proud tradition of not allowing celebratory remarks from outsiders, including figures in politics or government, in its opening and closing ceremony. This was possible because the organizers were firm in their conviction that the festival should be made by industry insiders since it would ultimately be ruined once outsiders begin to participate in it.

Citizens of Busan, with an exceptional passion for movies, have become the festival’s strongest supporters by standing behind the organizers and by actively participating in every event. Also, the mindset of the city authorities, which willingly accepted the organizers’ principle of “receiving support but rejecting intervention,” deserves high regard.

Now is time for PIFF to take a leap into becoming a world-class film festival, such as the Cannes International Film Festival or the Venice International Film Festival. As a film festival focusing on Korean and Asian movies, it should pursue becoming world-class in operation and substance. Participation in and support for it is a way to develop Korea’s movie industry. If PIFF becomes a film festival that goes beyond Asia, it won’t be long before the Korean film industry makes inroads into the world market.