BIFF requests Huh to return as festival director, calls for innovative commitee
The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)’s board Wednesday called for the immediate return of the event’s director Huh Moon-young, who said he would resign on May 12.
He offered his resignation after Cho Jong-kook was named as managing director of the festival earlier this month. The position is effectively of the same rank as Huh’s, managing the festival budget, personnel and administrative processes.
Although Huh had not specified the reasons for resigning, many see it as a protest against Cho’s appointment.
Lee Yong-kwan, BIFF president, said he would also step down to take “full responsibility” for Huh’s resignation on May 14. With both the president and the festival director positions vacant, the largest film festival in the country’s future looked bleak, and its board held a meeting to address this crisis Wednesday.
The BIFF board requested Huh to return immediately and said that an “unconditional return” of Huh was necessary for the success of this year’s festival.
Film industry organizations and insiders have been calling for Cho’s resignation so that Huh would return to his post.
Many see Cho’s appointment in the first place as a move to put a check on BIFF by administrative forces.
Lee plans to leave BIFF after the festival ends in October, the board said.
Those who attended the board meeting on Wednesday agreed that as BIFF is a highly regarded asset for Busan citizens and an important event for the film industry, the most important issue at present is the successful hosting of the festival rather than each person’s position.
BIFF’s board also decided to form an innovation committee, to set a new vision and direction for the festival, appoint a new president after Lee’s departure and prepare for the 30th anniversary in 2025. Details on forming the innovation committee will be decided at the next board meeting.
The 28th BIFF will be held in Busan from Oct. 4 to 13.
Meanwhile, Busan’s city government, the Korean Film Council and the Busan Film Commission will announce a plan Thursday to promote content production and a vibrant environment for the region’s film industry.
The plan will include expansion of support for production planning and development of films and video content, measures for attracting location crews to Busan and nurturing local experts and talent in the film industry.
BY LIM JEONG-WON [firstname.lastname@example.org]