The Busan International Film Festival returns on the 12th of next month with its 22nd edition, which will kick off with the world premiere of Glass Garden, the latest film from Madonna and Pluto director Shin Su-won. For the first time in the festival's history both the opening and closing selections hail from women filmmakers as director Sylvia Chang (Murmur of the Hearts) will close the event with her latest work Love Education.
Darren Aronofsky's mother!, John Woo's Manhunt and Koreeda Hirokazu's The Third Murder are among the hot Gala screenings this year, along with Butterfly Sleep, a new Japan-set melodrama from Jeong Jae-eun (Take Care of My Cat) and Yukisada Isao's Narratage. Other major selections include Ruben Östlund's Palme d'Or winner The Square and Guillermo del Toro's Golden Lion recipient The Shape of Water.
New Korean films include the latest works by several major filmmakers, such as Method by BANG Eun-jin (Princess Aurora), A Tiger in Winter by LEE Kwang-kuk (Romance Joe), Mermaid by O Muel (Jiseul), Romans 8:37 by Shin Yeon-shick (The Avian Kind) and Reborn by IM Heung-soon (Factory Complex). BIFF will also present a director's cut of Ryoo Seung-wan's The Battleship Island along with Bong Joon-ho's Okja, Hong Sangsoo's The Day After, Jang Hoon's A Taxi Driver and several other significant Korean titles from the past year.
Beyond those, Screen Anarchy is excited to check out some promising new works from emerging filmmakers such as Microhabit, the latest film from the Gwanghwamun collective (The King of Jogku, Queen of Crime) and Lee Dong-eun's Mothers, his Myung Films backed follow-up to last year's In Between Seasons.
In all, the festival is screening 298 films from 75 countries, including 100 world premieres. This year's sidebar include a retrospective on the late Seijun Suzuki, who will also posthumously receive the Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award, a focus on cinema from Sakha region in Siberia, and a Korean Cinema Retrospective on legendary actor Shin Seong-il, who starred in over 500 films, including dozens of stone cold classics such as Lee Man-hee's A Day Off, Lee Jang-ho's Heavenly Homecoming to Stars and Kim Soo-yong's Mist.
BIFF has had a rough journey over the last few years, dealing with censorship woes that led to leadership reshuffles and boycotts from several industry groups, yet Festival Director Kang Soo-yeon and Festival Chairman Kim Dong-ho remain committed to supporting independent cinema ahead of this year's edition, following which both have announced that they will step down.
This support includes introducing a Production Support Fund as part of it Asian Cinema Fund (ACF), which will give a yet-to-be-announced Korean independent film financial support worth KRW 200 million (USD 177,000). Commemorating the passing of executive programmer Kim Ji-seok, the festival is also launching an award in his honor and Platform Busan, a special networking event for Asian independent films.