A velvety red carpet adorning the long corridor, shiny black limousines arriving one at a time, police officers blocking a mob of fans, and bodyguards standing behind their stars. Cameras are flashing, fans are screaming, actors, directors and artists are waving and smiling, and journalists begging to get an interview. Welcome to the 19th Busan international film festival considered as the biggest and hottest film festival that entices every year the most creative artists from all around the world.
In 2014, it screened 312 films from 79 countries. 96 films were awarded world premieres and 36 were awarded international premieres. Famous foreign and Korean companies such as Artistry and CJ E&M sponsored the BIFF (Busan International Film Festival). Jury members are from all around the world such as Jacques Rancier a French philosopher, Bong Joon-ho, one the most famous Korean directors and Asghar FARHADI, an Iranian director and the head jury of the 19th festival. In 2014, about 226 473 audiences from all around the world came to feel the vibe and jazz of the festival and to watch the selected films. It is in fact the spotlight of Busan luring visitors, foreign artists, companies and other film industries from other countries. The film festival not only enhances the power of the Korean film industry it also globalizes Busan and South Korea.
In October 2014, the terminale ES and L classes had the chance to go the 19th Busan Film Festival and to watch a Korean and French movie: Wild Flowers directed by Park Sukyoung and The Gate directed by Regis Wargnier.
Let’s get an in-depth view on how the Busan International festival is an important aspect of globalization in Busan through its spaces, economics flows and the Asian Film Market.
Haeundae is located on the south-eastern part of Busan. It’s a popular tourist destination because it has luxurious hotels, shopping malls (it has the biggest Shinsegae shopping mall), a beautiful beach (Haeundae Beach), a breath-taking urban ocean panorama and, of course, because it has been hosting the Busan International Film Festival for 19 years.
The subway line 2 goes across Haeundae allowing us to go the famous beach, BEXCO, the film festival and lots more. Did you know that the sound of a seagull singing is played when you arrive at Haeundae Station?
Do you prefer watching a movie in a pitch black room smelling like sweet and buttery popcorn with great sound effects or watching a movie outdoor at night while feeling the vibrancy of Busan? You can go to any of the six movie theatres at Centum City Station, MEGABOX at Haeoundae Station and MEGABOX Busan theatre at Jagalchi Station. Famous Korean movie theatres companies such as Lotte Cinema, CGV and MEGABOX participated in the film festival which would open more doors to foreign movies to be screened in Korea. It’s great that all of the theatres are close to the main and most used subway station in Busan: Centum City Station, Haeoundae Station and Jagalchi Station. They are in fact the touristy hearts of the metropolis. Haeoundae Station is in front of the famous “Haeoundae Beach”, Jagalchi Market is one of the biggest fish markets in Korea, and Centum City Station is simply the heart of Busan.
We’ve seen many tourists in Busan and yet, we’ve not seen that many at the festival! There is no doubt that if 79 countries participated in the festival then many visitors would want to watch a movie shot by their country. It is easy spot a tourist or a visitor as they speak different languages other than Korean, act differently and they don’t seem as if they are at home. The city itself was so embracing and opened to other cultures by screening movies from all around the world, that visitors didn’t seem to be “visitors” or tourists didn’t seem to be “tourists”. In fact, in 2014, the festival enticed 22 000 viewers who were not only Korean yet also French, English, Chinese, Japanese and American. You name it! Its success in luring tourists shows that Busan is trying to make a new step towards globalization. It reveals that the 2nd biggest metropolis in South Korea is catching up with Seoul considered as the first tourist destination in the country. When foreigners think of Korea the first thought popping out of their head would not be Seoul anymore: it would be Busan!
Parties are even hosted after watching a movie. Our class was lucky to be invited at a “French Night Party” where many people working in the movie industries from all around the world came to cherish a special night at Busan. An enormous bus dropped us off at the party taking place near the beach. We could listen to exciting music and go out to inhale the exotic scent of the salty ocean and the creamy sand. The film festival shows that not only movies can gather up people from all around the world but parties can also erase walls between diverse cultures because everyone at the party were having fun all together. This reveals that Busan is trying to globalize itself by screening foreign movies. It additionally sets up parties and outdoor cinemas so that visitors can meet new people and to create an international bond.
If the festival screens movies from all around the world wouldn’t the film market be an important factor? Every year during the festival, the Film Market takes place in BEXCO. Filmmakers and producers can meet their potential investors, financers and co-producers. Movies, documentaries are sold, exchanges are made between different organizations or institutes, more foreign assets such as China are starting to invest in the Korean film industries. Every country, every movie company and agency have their own stand to promote their products.
In 2014, the Asian Film Market screened 96 times 85 films from 15 different countries. Among them 17 were from the film festival. The market broadens the film industry in Korea and in Asia.
Without the Busan International Film Festival, Busan wouldn’t be able to globalize itself quickly. It is an enormous festival which can gather up many artists and tourists because the movies make them one. It is located in a wonderful city, Haeundae and the public transportations are accessible at any time. Busan was organized in an effective way to enable for tourists and visitors to travel easily. Yet the film festival makes it more attractive not only to tourists but also to foreign investors through its film market.
Iris Lee and Léna Clevenot TL ES