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Info Plus: Pusan International Film Festival

2005/10/07 | Permalink | Source

Time for our weekly look at Korea's cultural scene.
This week, we're devoting this segment to one of Asia's largest film events, the Pusan International Film Festival.
Son Hee-kyung is here for that.

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Welcome Hee-kyung.

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Good to be back. As I told you last week, I have a full report on the 10th Pusan International Film Festival, or PIFF, which kicked off in Korea's second-largest city, on Thursday. Local politicians and VIPs from home and abroad gathered on Friday, to commemorate the official launch of the project to build a film center for the festival in Busan. During the ceremony, organizers explained about the development of the PIFF Center, adding that it will be constructed by 2008.

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: You were just there so tell us what the mood was like.

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Well, it was VERY festive in Busan. First of all, thousands of people came to the opening ceremony to catch a glimpse of their favorite movie stars.

RECORDED: "I can't believe it's already the 10th anniversary of PIFF. I hope it'll still be going on in 20 or 30 years time".

RECORDED: "I was actually here last year and I can tell that the scale of the event is bigger this year, but the crowd control is good and people are making orderly queues".

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Also there were street performances going on in various locations around the venue.
The ceremony lasted for about an hour and was followed by the opening film "Three Times" by Taiwanese director Heou Hsiao Hsien, which deals with reincarnation and love.
Celebrities always make the festival more cheerful and exciting, as they walk the red carpet into the venue, in the opening ceremony.
Dignitaries from various areas including pianist Paik Kun-woo, designer Andre Kim and Gyeonggi Province mayor Sohn Hak-kyu attended the ceremony.

RECORDED: "I'm grateful that "Three Times" has been chosen as the opening film. I have reworked my film, in particular the third segment. I hope you enjoy it. This is already my fourth year participating at PIFF. This year, I can feel that the scale of the event has become larger. There's no doubt that the festival is the biggest in Korea".

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Heou Hsiao Hsien is a big name in Asian cinema, and we also have renowned directors from the West right, like Jean-Jacques Annaud who gave us works like "The Lover" and "Seven Years in Tibet".

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Yes, plus there's British filmmaker, Peter Greenaway, who made "Pillow Book" with Ewan McGregor.
There's also international movie stars like Jackie Chan, and Chang Chen and Vivian Hsu from Taiwan.
Over the next week at PIFF, there'll be a program of nine sections, and this year in the Korean Cinema Retrospective, the work of Korean director Lee Man-hee-I will be showcased. For the first time audiences can view 10 of Lee's finest films such as "Holiday" which was banned by the Korean government in the 1960s. Many films are already sold out, but those of you still interested can reserve your tickets by visiting the PIFF website.

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Hee-kyung, besides this annual film fest, Busan will be the venue of the world's largest gathering of leaders next month, the APEC summit and I hear PIFF has a special APEC program.

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: That's right. All the 21 APEC member economies, except for Brunei, have each chosen a film to represent their country. And Singapore chose the American movie "Cages" by Graham Streeter, which was made in Singapore.

RECORDED: "Singapore seemed like the right thing to do, because I was going to make a film, that was foreign, and bring it back to the United States. That was my strategy. As not a lot of countries have English as their first language, immediately that made the selection very slim. And having a background in Asian country to begin with, I grew up in Japan, I wanted to do something in the Asian genre".

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: I remember the first PIFF they held back in 1996 and it's been great to see this annual event grow every year.

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Yes. It's now not only the largest film fest in Korea but in Asia. There are altogether 31 screens showing PIFF programs and that's a huge jump from the 17 screens that were used last year.
During this time, more than 300 movies from 73 countries are being screened, and the nine-day event is expected to draw more than 180,000 film enthusiasts.

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: There's so much to choose from. Do you have a favorite pick, Hee-kyung?

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Well, I think the closing film of the festival "Wedding Campaign" by Korean director Hwang Byung-kuk would be a good choice. It's a heart-warming melodrama about two single male farmers looking for wives in Uzbekistan.

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: I understand the films all have English subtitles.

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: Uh huh, and almost all the films have Korean subtitles to aid those with hearing difficulties too, which should also help foreigners with some language skills, watching Korean films. More special efforts have been taken this year at the festival, to ensure access for all, including the disabled. Well, that's all I have for you this week.

AHN CHAK-HEE, ANCHOR: Alright Hee-kyung. Thank you for that wrap up.

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