Will Korean Film Community Boycott Festival over Government Tampering?

As the on-going saga continues between the Busan International Film Festival and the city of Busan, the 21st edition of BIFF may be in jeopardy of being boycotted by the entire Korean film community.

In a statement released yesterday by the Korean Film Group’s Emergency Committee for Defending BIFF’s Independence, the group slammed the mayor of Busan, Suh Byung-soo, and the Busan city government for political interference and a smear campaign of Korean film professionals which it alleges is trying to drive a wedge between what the city calls “outsiders from Seoul who are trying to control the festival” and Busan citizens.

They also noted in their statement that while the city of Busan does offer financial support, they “do not own BIFF” and that the festival should remain autonomous and independent.

Image courtesy of the Korean Film Group’s Emergency Committee
Image courtesy of the Korean Film Group’s Emergency Committee

The recent decision by the board of directors for the Busan International Film Festival to file a legal injunction to dismiss 68 advisory committee members who were appointed by the former head of the executive committee, Lee Yong-gwon, and the accused defamation of Korean film professionals, has led the group to consider a total ban of this year’s festival if their demands are not met.

The group has demanded the resignation of Mayor Suh from the organizing committee and to not only apologize, but to revise the articles that gives the festival its autonomy from the city, as well as the city government to stop interference on BIFF and withdraw the legal application for injunction against the suspension of the 68 new committee advisors.

The on-going controversy stems from the city government’s alleged pressure on the director of the Busan International Film Festival, Lee Yong-kwan, to step down from his position after the festival screened the controversial film “The Truth Shall Not Sink With Sewol” in 2014.

A version of this article originally appeared in Haps Magazine.

Picture of Jeff Liebsch

Jeff Liebsch

Jeff is the Editor in Chief at Haps Korea.


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