4 Pinoy films make it to 25th Busan International Film Festival

Published September 15, 2020, 11:58 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Four Filipino films have been selected to the 25th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) to be held Oct. 21 to 30 in Busan, South Korea. 

The BIFF announced the official selection for this year’s festival.

There will be 192 films to be screened from 68 countries, down from 299 films from 85 countries because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

(From left) “The World of the Married” star Kim Hee-ae, Japanese actress Yuko Nakamura, Sung Yu-bin, Kim So-hye, film director Lim Dae-hyung and BIFF Festival Director Jay Jeon walk the red carpet at the closing ceremony of the 24th BIFF last year. Kim’s movie “Moonlit Winter” was the closing film of the festival. (Photo by Jonathan Hicap)

Selected films from the Philippines in the A Window on Asian Cinema section are “Cleaners” by Karl Glenn Barit and the Philippines-US movie “Death of Nintendo” by Raya Martin. 

A Window on Asian Cinema takes a peek “into the various styles and visions within Asian cinema, highlighting the films of this year’s most talented Asian filmmakers as well as the work of directors already established within the industry.”

Chosen for the Wide Angle section’s Asian Short Film Competition are “How to Die Young in Manila” by Petersen Vargas and “Kids on Fire” by Kyle Nieva. 

Wide Angle is “dedicated to showing outstanding short films, documentaries, and experimental films that offer broad cinematic viewpoints and a distinct vision.”

Last year, six Filipino films were showcased at the festival: “Mindanao,” “Basurero,” “Verdict,” “The Halt,” “John Denver Trending,” and “Lingua Franca.” 

Organizers have scaled down this year’s festival due to COVID-19.

There will only be five screening venues, all at Busan Cinema Center, compared to 37 screens and six theaters last year. 

The BIFF was originally scheduled to be held from Oct. 7 to 16 but due to the virus, it was delayed by two weeks and will start on Oct. 21. 

“The concern over the spread of COVID-19 after Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holidays was the main reason behind the rescheduling. The decision was taken to host a safer festival,” according to a statement from BIFF.

Chuseok holidays this year will be from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. 

Organizers said all outdoor events are cancelled including the opening and closing ceremonies, outdoor greeting and Open Talk segments to prevent people from gathering. The Korean government has implemented strict social distancing due to a surge in coronavirus cases. 

There will be no international invitations, receptions and parties.

The Asian Contents & Film Market, Asian Project Market, and Forum BIFF will be held online.

“However, if Level Two social distancing protocol is continued or escalated during the rescheduled festival period, Busan International Film Festival may ultimately be cancelled,” the organizers said.