The film industry worldwide was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many international film festivals are canceled, and most films have halted their productions. Even films already finished are struggling to find screening opportunities. With the Busan International Film Festival, renowned Asian directors and actors have stepped up as Asian Film Ambassadors and sent messages for young Asian filmmakers who have kept up their passion for cinema under these difficult circumstances. Korean directors Lee Chang-dong and Park Chan-wook; Japanese directors Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Koreeda Hirokazu, and Kawase Naomi; Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke and actress Zhao Tao; and Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang and actor Lee Kang-Sheng sent messages to young Asian filmmakers as Asian Film Ambassadors.
“Filmmakers should stand in solidarity and share courage with one another.”Lee Chang-dong
“Even a pandemic cannot stop our passion for communicating through cinema.”
“Filmmaking itself is always difficult and full of adventures.”
“The history of film has always been one of overcoming huge challenges and obstacles.”
“I strongly believe that films made under these difficult circumstances are masterpieces.”
“I do not believe we will stay disconnected like this. We will be reconnected in any shape or form.”Koreeda Hirokazu
“Please keep making films so that we make a world with many brilliant points of view.”Kawase Naomi
“Embrace cinema, embrace the screen, and embrace audiences.”
“Continue to work towards your goals and dreams.”
The messages contain determination and hope for overcoming these difficult times. The video messages are available from October 20th (Tue) on the Busan International Film Festival’s official YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/busanfilmfest). The videos are sponsored by Genesis, who supports filmmakers.
The directors and programmers from the three major film festivals—Cannes, Berlin, and Venice—sent their support for filmmakers and the Busan International Film Festival, which is held on-site. Thierry Frémaux, the General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, showed special fondness towards the Busan International Film Festival:
“In its 25th year, the Busan International Film Festival plays an important role in Korea, a blessed land of cinema.”
Including Carlo Chatrian, the Artistic Director of the Berlin International Film Festival, who commented, “I will miss your beautiful town, the talking with the filmmakers, [and] the thrill of watching films along with local audiences”; Christian Jeune, Director of Film Department and Deputy General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival; Alberto Barbera, Director of the Venice International Film Festival; and Serge Toubiana, the President of Unifrance, expressed their regret at not being able to be together this year and promised for next year.
Director Bong Joon-ho who has not made official appearances in awhile since the Academy Awards earlier this year, also sent his message of support and congratulations on the festival: “I am especially proud of this year’s Busan International Film Festival for coming to audiences without change.”
The Busan International Film Festival is first revealing video messages from directors Lee Chang-dong, Bong Joon-ho, and Koreeda Hirokazu. The rest of the videos will be released sequentially on the Busan International Film Festival’s official YouTube channel.
The 25th Busan International Film Festival, which screens all its 192 selections in theaters, opens on October 21st (Wed) and is held for ten days until the 30th (Fri) at the Busan Cinema Center.
Press release provided by Busan International Film Festival.
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