By Seo Dong-shin
, the festival director for PIFF, was about 30 minutes late for a breakfast meeting with other film festival directors yesterday, which was originally set at 8. "I got up relatively late this morning, at about 6:30", he said.
Few would call that hour too late to get out of bed, but things are different for the 67-year-old Kim, as he has been sleeping barely more than two hours a day recently. Moreover, Kim has been drinking until 4 a.m. just the day before. It began when Kim met with directors from various parts of the world at a party organized by a film production, then somehow he ended up introducing them to over 50 young independent film directors at a local pub around 2 a.m., later staying on to watch them mingle and sing together.
"I'm okay because I'm used to it", Kim, who has been leading PIFF for nine years, said casually. "I also stayed up late two days ago, when I went out drinking with director Wong Kar Wai and other staff of the opening film `2046'. `Beer or Sake?' was the only question, then new bottles just kept on coming. Sometimes the bill runs up to more than a million won ($870). I don't always remember how I managed to introduce films or directors the next morning, but it's still okay".
No wonder that a city official says PIFF's current international status would have been impossible without Kim's mindset. The festival director also appears proud of having established such a valuable network. "I think the atmosphere at PIFF is different from that of other international film festivals, like when festival and film directors from around world all sat out on the asphalt drinking soju all night after the pubs were closed during the first PIFF. Now they say they can't forget the good memories and come back every year".
Fortunately he only had one breakfast meeting yesterday. Friday morning, for example, he had four breakfasts on the run, each in different company, including government officials, lawmakers, businessmen, and juries for PIFF.
After the breakfast, however, it all began again. Kim immediately headed to the nearby Yachting Center to participate in a walking event, being recognized and greeted warmly by Pusan citizens along the way, with some even asking for his autograph. He could not finish the course, though, as he had a full schedule for the day. He attended the press conference for European Film Promotion at a hotel, only to leave there before long for a luncheon meeting with the Cannes Film Festival team. The inaugural meeting of the Asian Film Commissions Network was followed by a reception, then there was Australian Films Night, a dinner with Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, Korean Films Night, and again a party for the closing film "The Scarlet Letter"
"Why I am doing all this? I am glad when great guests say they will come again", Kim said. "And it is a great pleasure to observe how citizens in Pusan and movie fans from around the world become more enthusiastic year by year at PIFF".