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Busan Announces Extensive Support To BIFF

Jul 10, 2018
  • Writerby SONG Soon-jin
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The City Guarantees Independence of BIFF and Pledges USD 90 Million

Recently elected on June 13, new Busan Mayor OH Geo-don has promised to provide full support to the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). On June 20th, OH met film officials including Chairman of BIFF LEE Yong-kwan and Chairman of Korean Film Council (KOFIC) OH Seok Geun at the Busan Cinema Center and announced that he will support BIFF with a financial contribution of USD 90 million. He also promised to “return to the Golden Rule of supporting without interfering.” 

BIFF has long been embroiled in a conflict with former mayor SEO Byeong-soo ever since its decision to screen the controversial documentary The Truth Shall Not Sink with Sewol (2014). The festival had to fight to maintain editorial independence from Busan Government, and it eventually turned into a political issue. After the election of President MOON Jae-in, BIFF appointed former festival director LEE Yong-kwan as its new chairman, in order to make the festival enter a new phase. 

“BIFF must become a film festival in which citizens can contribute”, said OH, “and that can be achieved by guaranteeing its independence and autonomy from political pressure.” OH has pledged to contribute USD 22.4 million every year for the four years of his tenure, with the aim to restore BIFF’s former glory and make it a more prominent event. He also announced that he will establish a special ordinance to ensure BIFF’s autonomy and independence, and expressed his ambition to turn BIFF into one of the world’s top three film festivals. 

Busan City Government said it will build a World Cinema Landmark and organize joint events between South and North Korea to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Korean cinema.
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