By Lee Hyo-won
The 13th Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival (PIFF) will open Oct. 2 with "The Gift to Stalin" by Rustem Abdrashev (Kazakhstan/Russia/Israel/Poland, 2008). Asia's largest and South Korea's foremost cinema event will run for 10 days, showcasing the longest lineup ever of 315 films from 60 countries including 85 world premieres. Korean helmer Yoon Jong-chan
's "I Am Happy"
will wrap up the festival Oct. 10.
Young director Abdrashev brings a story set in 1949 Kazakhstan, where a Jewish boy survives the former Soviet Union's forced migration of ethnic minorities to Central Asia. Yoon ("Blue Swallow
", 2005) brings yet another story about deeply pained, "unhappy" individuals in "I Am Happy"
The southern port city will turn into a cinematic playground, with 37 theaters around Haeundae Beach hosting the screenings. PIFF's feature film competition section, New Currents, features 14 works. In other sections, there will be 48 international premieres (first overseas screening after a film's domestic screening) and 95 Asian premieres (first screening in the Asian region).
There are 11 sections, including the Gala Presentation featuring the latest works by maestro filmmakers and Flash Forward showing pieces by rising young directors. The competitive short film and documentary divisions have expanded to include films from other Asian countries.
PIFF also introduces Romanian cinema that swept the Cannes Festival in May in "Romania New Wave" as well as the latest Asian feature animations in "Ani Asia!" The Korean Film Retrospective highlights classics by Kim Ki-young
and Han Hyoung-mo.
The Asian Film Market will take place Oct. 3-6 in various venues around Busan to facilitate international film exchange. Programs include the pan-Asia project Pusan Promotional Plan (PPP) and the Busan International Film Commissions and Industry Showcase (BIFCOM), Asia's foremost film industry and technology showcase.
PIFF will welcome cineastes from near and far. Guests include Hong Kong filmmakers Tsui Hark and Wong Kar-wai and Italian helmer Paolo Taviani, and actors like Hyun Bin
, Lee Bo-young
and Haruka Ayase
"PIFF has become Busan's most symbolic cultural asset", said PIFF festival director Hur Nam-sik, "I welcome everyone to the `sea of cinema', Busan".