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BIFF Leaps into Stabilization

May 09, 2018
  • Writerby SHIM Eun-ha
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LEE Yong-kwan and Jay JEON Returns as Festival Chairman and Director

A new team of leaders will be spearheading the 2018 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). After ex-chairman KIM Dong-ho and ex-festival director KANG Soo-youn stepped down following the October festival last year, BIFF was without a leader for 3 months. The successors are familiar faces. On January 31, BIFF board members held an extraordinary general meeting and decided on previous festival director LEE Yong-kwan to be appointed as the chairman. In turn, Jay JEON who was previously the deputy director has been appointed as the new festival director. Both individuals are members of the festival since it first started in 1996. They were dismissed from their positions in 2016 due to the controversy surrounding the screening of The Truth Shall Not Sink with Sewol (2014).

A BIFF personnel quoted, “Including the inspector, 17 board members, and 4 executive committee members were in attendance for a total of 21 individuals who voted to appoint the new chairman and the festival director. Chairman LEE Yong-kwan especially took an overwhelming lead.” Chairman LEE Yong-kwan was a professor in the Department of Theater and Film at the Kyungsung University in 1996 when he got involved with the 1st BIFF as a senior programmer. Then, he became deputy director and festival director. He’s currently the dean of Im Kwon Taek College of Film and Media Arts at Dongseo University. Jay JEON was the Director of Asian Film Market and then its deputy director. Their terms are 4 years and 3 years respectively.

With the return of the two leaders, BIFF will take steps to normalize business operations. Ever since The Truth Shall Not Sink with Sewol incident, many filmmakers announced their boycott against BIFF. This is because they believed that PARK Geun-hye’s administration forced the chairman out of the festival for screening a movie about the Sewol Ferry. In 2016, 150 international film industry professionals participated in a campaign for the independence of BIFF at the Berlin International Film Festival.

The 23rd BIFF with new chairman LEE Yong-kwan and festival director Jay JEON will be held from October 4th until the 13th.
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