Song Joong-ki, Park So-dam to host opening ceremony of 26th Busan Int’l Film Festival

Published September 16, 2021, 11:23 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Korean stars Song Joong-ki of “Vincenzo” and Park So-dam of “Parasite’ will be the hosts of the opening ceremony of the 26th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF).

BIFF announced on Sept. 16 that the two will emcee the BIFF opening ceremony to be held on Oct. 6 at the Busan Cinema Center in Busan, South Korea.

Song Joong-ki (left) and Park So-dam (Instagram)

The 26th BIFF will be held from Oct. 6 to 15 and will showcase 223 films from 70 countries including the Philippines.

Organizers said in an online press conference held on Sept. 15 that for the opening ceremony of the BIFF, about 1,200 people are expected to attend and social distancing rules will be implemented.

“With the consecutive success of his projects this year, from the film, Space Sweepers (2020), to the drama, Vincenzo (2021), actor Song Joong Ki, rightfully, caused a syndrome. After debuting in the 2008 film, A Frozen Flower, he solidified his position as a global star, proving both his popularity and acting capabilities by starring in various projects such as the dramas, Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), The Innocent Man (2012), Descendants of the Sun (2016), and Arthdal Chronicles (2019), and films A Werewolf Boy (2012) and The Battleship Island (2017). Along with the film Bogota, which he is currently filming, he is expanding his versatile acting capabilities by starring in films and dramas of diverse characters, eras, and genres,” according to a BIFF press statement.

Organizers said all film selections will be screened 100 percent in theaters and this year, each film will have multiple screenings.

Last year, physical film screenings were only held at the Busan Cinema Theater but this year, movies will be screened in various theaters, which will operate at 50 percent audience capacity to comply with social distancing rules.

Major events including the opening and closing ceremonies, open talks and outdoor greetings will be held in person this year. However, the Asian Cinema Fund (ACF), Asian Film Academy (AFA) and Platform Busan are suspended this year.

At this year’s BIFF, acclaimed Filipino director Brillante Mendoza is nominated Kim Jiseok Award, “given to the most attractive films that reflect the contemporary standing of Asian cinema in accordance with the late Kim’s intent,” according to BIFF.

Mendoza is nominated for his film “GenSan Punch,” which will be screened at the festival. According to BIFF, the film, “directed by master filmmaker Brillante Mendoza from the Philippines, stars Japanese actor Shogen and depicts the true story of a handicapped athlete’s fight against discrimination to be recognized as a professional boxer.” GenSan is an abbreviation of General Santos City in South Cotabato.