HUH Moonyung

Source: Busan International Film Festival

HUH Moonyung

Busan International Film Festival director Huh Moonyung is set to welcome back guests from around the world, as the festival stages its first full-scale edition since pre-pandemic 2019.

To what extent are you seeing industry guests from outside of Korea coming back to Busan?

We are expecting and preparing for the same level of overseas guests as 2019, before the pandemic. We might see a little more coming to the market than in 2019 because Hong Kong Filmart, the other largest market in Asia, was online only [this year].

Have you been experiencing budget challenges compared to rising costs and pandemic measures?

It’s one of our biggest concerns. Our budget in 2019 was about krw12bn [$8.4m] and this year it’s about the same. In addition to the increase in prices in the past three years, there is the increase in airfares, cost of labour and pandemic safety measures. The most important fundamentals are the films and invited guests, so we’ve been trying to solve the problem by finding ways to economise on other costs.

Going into your second edition as director, what is your long-term vision for the festival?

No matter how hard of an era humanity has gone through, even in wartime, refugees would gather to share and enjoy things they have made, to laugh and talk and create. That is something that will never disappear no matter what kind of online digital tools come along. But cinema has fundamentally changed and how we adapt to that is the biggest challenge. Films are no longer made by a minority of cultural elites — even a student with a mobile phone can make them. They have become ordinary daily media and tools.

So how does a film festival respond to this situation?

We will continue to celebrate the many great filmmakers due our respect, and at the same time, create various events for ordinary daily films at the festival as with our Community BIFF programme. In the same way that writing expanded rapidly in the 17th and 18th centuries from a global minority to become a completely natural circumstance for everyone, films are on the same path. Our job is to help people learn to use the medium well and to expand cinema literacy.