BUSAN, South Korea, October 6 (WNN) — The 26th Busan International Film Festival opened on Wednesday with a full slate of in-person events and screenings, a striking departure from last year when it was held almost entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asia’s largest international film festival, which runs from 6-15 October, began with the opening ceremony held at the Busan Cinema Center’s outdoor theater in the center of South Korea’s second largest city.
Over 1,000 guests attended the gala, which was hosted by Song Jong-ki, star of the recent Netflix hit Vincenzo, and Park So-dam, who starred in the 2019 Academy Award-winning parasites.
After last year’s tumultuous affair, in which no opening and closing ceremonies were held, glamor made a comeback as stars like Han Soo-hee and Yoo Ah-in walked the red carpet and director Bong Joon-ho. shook hands to appease the crowd.
A limited number of international filmmakers, actors and industry professionals are also traveling to Busan this year.
French filmmaker Leos Carreaux will arrive with his film Annette, which opened this year’s Cannes Film Festival, while Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi will present two films: wheel of fortune and imaginationy, winner of the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival and drive my car, Awarded Best Screenplay at Cannes.
Carracks will host a master class at the festival and Hamaguchi will participate in a discussion session with Bong Joon-ho on Thursday.
In all, the film festival will screen 223 films from 70 countries in several theaters around Busan, a significant expansion from last year’s online-focused festival.
Virus control measures will limit seating capacity to 50%, and all festival attendees must either be fully vaccinated or show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
The opening film of the festival was Wednesday Heaven: For the land of happiness, is a street film by director Im Sang-soo which stars veteran stars Choi Min-sik and Park Hee-il. The film was originally scheduled to premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, which was canceled due to the pandemic.
In addition to screenings, a full program of offline events will be held during the 10-day festival, including director talks and live interview sessions with leading South Korean actors.
A new section titled “On Screen” is devoted to the series on the streaming platform, coming in a year that has seen South Korea climb to the top of the global market with hits like Netflix. Squid game.
episodes of hell Bound, By train to busan Director Yeon Sang-ho and My name Kim Jin-min to be screened before release on Netflix, while Thai supernatural thriller Forbidden It will premiere before coming to HBO Asia.
The festival is taking place as South Korea prepares to enter a new phase of easier social distancing as soon as next month. The country is still battling a fourth wave of infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, but vaccination rates have risen sharply over the past several weeks.
As of Wednesday, 77.5% of the population has received the last one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 54.5% have been fully vaccinated.