The 28th Busan International Film Festival is set to kick off next month on the 4th for a ten-day run. Unfortunately, as the event faced budget constraints due to internal conflicts and an economic downturn, this year’s festival will feature a total of 269 films from across the globe, with 209 official films representing 69 countries and an additional 60 films in the Community BIFF section.
Song Kang Ho Presents BIFF 2023, Chow Yun Fat Honored as Asian Filmmaker of the Year
The Busan International Film Festival has selected Song Kang Ho as this year’s presenter. Song, the recipient of the 2022 Cannes Best Actor Award, gladly accepted the role, considering the festival’s transformative stage this year. In addition, This year’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year will be awarded to Chow Yun Fat. He will be honored during the opening ceremony of the 28th Busan International Film Festival. As part of this year’s Special Program in Focus, his latest film, One More Chance (2023), will be screened alongside classics such as A Better Tomorrow (1986) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Opening and Closing Films
The festival’s opening film will be Because I Hate Korea directed by Jang Kun Jae and headlined by Go Ah Sung. Based on the famous Korean novel of the same name, this film delves into the lives of modern Korean youth, exploring their struggles, frustrations, and the hopes they hold dear as they chase their dreams.
The festival’s closing film will be The Movie Emperor directed by Ning Hao, featuring Andy Lau in the lead role. In this comedic film, Andy Lau portrays himself as a Hong Kong movie star, while Ning Hao takes on the role of the director, offering a humorous look at their filmmaking process.
Korean American Special Programs and Sulli’s Final Interview
The Busan International Film Festival is gearing up for an exciting lineup, including a Korean American Special Showcase highlighting Korean-American talent in Hollywood, with director Lee Isaac Chung, known for Minari, and others like Justin Chon and John Cho among the attending stars. The festival’s guest list also includes famous actors from overseas, such as Fan Bingbing and Hirose Suzu.
Additionally, the festival will include a special screening of Dear Jinri, a Netflix documentary capturing the final interview of the late K-pop star Sulli.
Premieres of Korean Films and Original Series
Since its launch in 2022 and 2021 respectively, the Korean Cinema Today – Special Premiere section and the On Screen section have become irreplaceable parts of BIFF. An enticing variety of 3 unreleased commercial Korean films have been curated as part of the Korean Cinema Today– Special Premiere this year, including Believer 2, the riveting sequel to the box office hit Believer (2018), a provocative and captivating story, Ballerina, and Song Joong Ki‘s Hopeless, which was a 2023 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard selection.
On the other hand, the On Screen section presents a selection of trending drama series, and 5 out of this year’s selected 6 titles are Korean originals — The Deal, an exhilarating crime series about three friends’ ironic kidnapping scheme, I AM A RUNNING MATE, a directorial debut by Han Jin Won, the co-writer of Parasite, Vigilante, an enthralling take on a dark hero’s tale, A Bloody Lucky Day, a nail-biting thriller, and finally LTNS, which is Moonlit Winter’s Lim Daehyung and Microhabitat’s Jeon Gowoon’s first co-directed comedy series debut.
2023 Main Guests 1st Line-up
Host: Song Kang Ho
Asian Filmmaker of the Year: Chow Yun Fat
Opening Film Director: Jang Kun Jae (Because I Hate Korea)
Closing Film Director: Ning Hao (The Movie Emperor)
Gala Presentation: Fan Bingbing (Green Night), Kore-eda Hirokazu (Monster), Bertrand Bonello (The Beast)
Icons: Hamaguchi Ryusuke (Evil Does not Exist)
Jiseok: Miyazawa Rie (The Moon), Sugisaki Hana (Ichiko)
Wide Angle – Documentary Showcase: Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Talking with Rivers), Hana Makhmalbaf (The List)
Open Cinema: Luc Besson (Dogman)
A Window on Asian Cinema: Iwai Shunji, Hirose Suzu (KYRIE), Ogigami Naoko (Ripples)
Special Program in Focus – Korean Diasporic Cinema: Lee Isaac Chung, Youn Yuh Jung , John Cho, Justin Chon
Special Program in Focus– Renaissance of Indonesian Cinema & On Screen: Amila Andini (Cigarette Girl), Mouly Surya, Joko Anwar
New Currents Award Jury Members: Jung Sung Il, Ava Cahen, Edwin, Christina Oh, Han Junhee
Kim Jiseok Award Jury Members: Martine Thérouanne, Nishikawa Miwa, Lee Kwangkuk
BIFF Mecenat Award Jury Members: Hara Kazuo, Anke Leweke, Kyungsoon
Sonje Award Jury Members: Wei Shujun, Bianca Balbuena
CHANEL X BIFF Asian Film Academy: Suwa Nobuhiro, Kim Hee Jung , Artur Żurawski