Stars, directors and other key figures in the movie industry descended on Busan, South Korea as the 26th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) kicked off on Oct. 6.
The opening ceremony was held at Busan Cinema Center with “Vincenzo” star Song Joong-ki and “Parasite” actress Park So-dam acting as emcees.
Before the opening ceremony, celebrities walked the red carpet in the venue. Among the stars who attended the opening ceremony were Yoo Ah-in, Han So-hee, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Hyun-joo, Ahn Sung-ki, Choi Min-sik, Byun Yo-han, Ahn Bo-hyun, Bong Joon-ho, Jeon Yeo-bin and Kim Shin-rok.
The 26th BIFF will be held from Oct. 6 to 15 and will showcase 223 films from 70 countries including the Philippines.
“It’s so satisfying to see you face to face instead of via video call. Indeed, It is such a touching and precious moment,” said Song Joong-ki when the program started.
Park So-dam said, “Everyone in and out of the film industry had to struggle during the past two years. We wish BIFF can provide us with comfort, consolation and hope of recovery.”
“Busan this year in a word is ‘jackpot.’ Great films won awards at prestigious film festivals, and masterpieces to be discovered with pleasure,” added Song Joong-ki.
During the program, the Korean Cinema Award was given to Lee Choon-yun, the late chairperson of the Korea Association of Film Art & Industry (KAFAI). The Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award was presented to director Im Kwon-taek.
Filipino director Brillante Mendoza is nominated for BIFF’s Kim Jiseok Award, established in 2017 in honor of Kim Jiseok, one of the founding members of the festival who served as program director.
The Kim Jiseok Award “will be 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,” starrring Japanese actor Shogen, which tells “the true story of a handicapped athlete’s fight against discrimination to be recognized as a professional boxer.”
The two winners of the Kim Jiseok Award will be announced at the closing ceremony of the BIFF on Oct. 15.