Big-name auteurs, stars to attend 26th Busan Film Festival

Big-name auteurs, stars to attend 26th Busan Film Festival

From left, filmmakers Bong Joon-ho, Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Leos Carax will attend the 26th Busan International Film Festival. Courtesy of BIFF

By Kwak Yeon-soo

With less than two weeks left until the scheduled start of the 26th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), an impressive line-up of filmmakers and stars have confirmed their participation in the event. Organizers expect the film festival to return to normal as the film industry anticipates that it will be able to shake off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

French auteur Leos Carax will visit Busan with his latest film, “Annette,” for the first time in nine years, since his last screening at the festival with “Holy Motors” (2012). “Annette,” which opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival and won the best director award, has been selected to premiere in the Gala Presentation section at this year’s BIFF. Carax will conduct a masterclass on filmmaking on Oct. 10.

Japanese filmmaker Hamaguchi Ryusuke, who won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival with “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy,” and the Best Screenplay Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival with “Drive My Car,” will have these two films showcased at the BIFF.

After screening his films in the Gala Presentation section, Hamaguchi will participate in a special talk with director Bong Joon-ho, Oct. 7.

“About 1,200 people are expected to attend the event on Oct. 6, and around 400 film industry participants will take part in the festival,” a BIFF representative said. “We expect that most of the Korean filmmakers and actors who have been invited to the festival will visit Busan.”

Director Im Sang-soo and the cast of the comedy drama, “Heaven: To the Land of Happiness,” which was selected as the opening film, will make their way to Busan.

Big-name auteurs, stars to attend 26th Busan Film Festival

Actors Song Joong-ki, left, and Park So-dam will co-host the opening ceremony of the 26th Busan International Film Festival. Courtesy of HiStory D&C, Artist Company

Meanwhile, auteur director Park Chan-wook will give a talk at the Asia Content & Film Market conference, which will be held primarily online. He will share his vision on overcoming the pandemic and the future of cinema.

Actors Song Joong-ki, who rose to stardom through “Descendants of the Sun” and “Vincenzo,” and Park So-dam, who starred in the Academy Award-winning film, “Parasite,” will co-host the opening ceremony.

A total of 223 films from 70 countries were invited to screen at this year’s festival.

Altogether, 11 films are vying for the prestigious New Currents Award, including “The Absent Director” by Arvand Dashtaray, “Photocopier” by Wregas Bhanuteja and “Farewell, My Hometown” by Wang Er Zhuo.

To reflect the increasing popularity of OTT platforms, the organizer launched the On Screen section, in which they showcase highly anticipated drama series via OTT platforms. This year’s lineup includes: “Train to Busan” director Yeon Sang-ho’s “Hellbound,” “Extracurricular” director Kim Jin-min’s “My Name” and Thai director Anucha Boonyawatana’s “Forbidden.”

The 26th BIFF will take place from Oct. 6 to 15. The film festival will keep its capacity level at 50 percent in theaters while face masks will be required to attend screenings.

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