The 16th edition of the festival will open with Song Il-gon’s tragic love story Always, starring So Ji-sub and Han Hyo-joo.

The 16th Busan International Film Festival has announced its full lineup today at a press conference in Seoul, with the festival to open with Song Il-gon’s Always, starring So Ji-sub and Han Hyo-joo. There will be 135 premieres out of a total of 307 films from 70 countries during BIFF which runs Oct 6-14.

BIFF will close with Japanese film Chronicle Of My Mother, directed by Harada Masato based on well-known Japanese writer Yusashi Inoue’s autobiographical novel and starring Yakusho Koji, Kiki Kirin and Miyazaki Aoi.

The festival will also unveil its Busan Cinema Center, a dedicated festival venue with a 4,000-seat outdoor screening arena with a screen up against the inner wall of what is called the Cine Mountain. This houses one multifunctional theatre with 833 seats, a mid-size theatre with 413 seats and two smaller ones with 212 seats each.

The Busan Cinema Center will also house the festival’s offices, the Cinematheque Busan, the Busan Asian Film Archive and a 36-seat screening room.

Festival director Lee Yong-kwan, in his first solo press conference after iconic co-fest director Kim Dong-ho retired, said, “We’re in the post-Kim Dong-ho era, and it’s not the era of Lee Yong-kwan or anyone else, it’s the era of the new Busan Cinema Center and of us continuing the great mountain of accomplishments that Kim Dong-ho has established.”

Construction on the $158m Busan Cinema Center has been delayed so that the opening of the building is now due for Sept. 29.

Busan Mayor Hur Nam-sik reassured journalists that there would be no problem to hold the fest’s Opening Night Oct 6 there. “In fact, the interior construction is done and they are finishing up the exterior. The City is evaluating the constructuction daily. You are concerned but I tell you that we will make sure there are no concerns.”

“This year, as we open the new era of the Busan Cinema Center, we’ve changed our name from PIFF to BIFF, and the PPP to APM. The market will see flying leaps forward in development and this year we are starting international academic conferences that, in addition to our festival and market functions, will help us make our way to a world-class place through discovering Asian aesthetics and identities,” said Lee, announcing the Busan Cinema Forum 2011, which will have director Apichatpong Weerasethakul and professor Dudley Andrew as keynote speakers.

The New Currents Asian filmmakers’ competition and Flash Forward non-Asian competition, both for up-and-coming directors, have previously been announced. Flash Forward, however, will see a raise in its prize money from $20,000 to $30,000 to be the same as New Currents.

Guests will include previously announced Asian Filmmaker of the Year Tsui Hark, Yonfan – who will have a dedicated retrospective, actors Michelle Yeoh, Odagiri Joe and Isabelle Huppert, and other several directors such as Luc Besson, Johnnie To, Amir Naderi and Iwai Shunji.

The fest’s full line-up is online at