The Most Powerful in Asia

in 20th Busan International Film Festival

by Ayman Youssef

Against the backdrop of the ocean and its magical pure light blue color, with a few waves full of charm and appeal, the twentieth edition of the Busan International Festival was held; this festival that assures the year after next it will be the strongest, most important and most serious festival in Asia. It is better than New Delhi, Kerala and even Tokyo considered the best in Asia some time ago. And it doesn’t have a movie market.

As for Busan, the sale and purchase marked in its growing and flourishing year by year. Whoever visits Busan once – for the festival or the market – returns. Last year, the festival and its market was attended by more than 226 thousand invitees and three hundred films from 79 countries; the festival expected to receive more invitees and films in this edition. It announced and declared that the Asian film market this year, will witness many official projects called “Entertainment Intellectual Market”.

The festival began since its tenth edition, the entertaining, amusing and cultural movies market when simultaneously these movies are artistically and commercially well distributed.

Beside this market, we find other  serious sections like “My French Cinema” where responsible people avoid the  academic concept of presenting the directors or films in an historical framework.  Of these films, good examples included as a Man and a Woman  of Claude Lelouch,  A Room  in Town by Jacque Demy, Summer Hours  of Oliver Assayas, and Bellamy by  Claude Shabrolle.

On the other hand, Busan offers great opportunities for youth and talent that needs help and support to enter the cinema world. Briefly, the university students or youth who want to participate in the Asian cinema in the near future, are able to choose the cinematic element they are interested in or already practice as the festival invites celebrities from each area of cinema including; photography, montage, directing and others.

Of the other good sections in the festival “Korean Cinema Award” offered annually to whoever assisted in supporting or furthering the reach of Korean cinema. The person who reecived it this year is Wield Speck, the German director who adores Korean cinema, its activities and displaying it in the festivals where he works. He has served Korean cinema well, having shown many films in several places, the most important of them being the Berlin film festival where he is responsible for choosing the films for the Panorama section; he showed 29 films in Berlin across 25 years and is often talking about Korean cinema, its creation and creativity. These are his words in praise of it :It will always be the source of surprises, it is an active, transparent, and pure mirror reflecting several social developments.

Wide Angle is not a main competition. However, it is performed in a lot of important spaces away from the main competition and feature length films, including; documentary, short, animation and experimental films, providing they have a different and distinguished cinematic concept. These films are represented in two completions: Mecenat and Sonie. The first is for documentary films with two awards, one for Korea and the second for another  Asian country. Sonie also offers two awards, one for Korea and the other for an Asian country.

The arbitrators on both boards include very famous names from the cinema world such as Artur Libhart, the great Polish director, and Suwa Nobuhiro, the Japanese director with whom we had a great and fruitful interview in Tokyo – why not, since he is still remembering and thinking of the atomic bomb which destroyed his grandfather’s body.

Of the festival guests and friends presenting and showing films for others, there was Kore-Eda Hirokazu and Naomi Kawase, whom I also interviewed in Tokyo in 1999.

Edited by Tara Judah