5 Things to Know About the Busan Film Festival

5:20 PM PST 09/30/2011 by THR staff
Chung Sung-Ju/Getty Images

The film festival begins Thursday, Oct. 6 in South Korea's second-largest city.

1. Pusan or Busan?: Busan has largely gone with "B" for the past decade, though the festival dates to when Romanization of the name meant it was called the Pusan International Film Festival. Organizers say visitors will no longer be confused about whether Pusan and Busan refer to the same port city (they do). And because BIFF has gone with PIFF for so long, Internet search engines can find information about the festival using either keyword.

2. Ticket Tech: Hur Nam-sik, Busan mayor and festival chairman, says the organizing committee is working to provide more mobile access to tickets. South Korea is one of the world's most tech-friendly countries, and fans can now purchase movie tickets with smartphones that can then be claimed at any Busan Bank location. Advance tickets also can be purchased through the festival's website at www.biff.kr.

3. Kim Kee-duk: BIFF plans to honor the life and career of Kim Kee-duk, the prolific helmer who defined 1960s Korean cinema. Since debuting with Five Marines in 1961, Kim turned out 66 features during a 16-year career through 1977. Hermes Korea, the local branch of the French fashion line, will hold a special reception in honor of 76-year-old director Oct. 7 in the Grand Ballroom of the Paradise Hotel.

4. Luxury Lounging: With fabulous suites that BIFF organizers reserve for the VIPs, the Westin Chosun Hotel — named after Korea's last royal dynasty, the Joseon (Chosun) Kingdom — offers fine dining, spa facilities and a view overlooking Haeundae Beach. The Chosun also offers access to Dongbaek Island and its mysterious mermaid sculpture as well as an open-sea garden for a great view of the Gwangan Grand Bridge. Rooms start at $163 a night. Visit www.echosunhotel.com.

5. Attention, Foodies: Haeundae Beach is a haven for food lovers, offering everything from upscale Italian cuisine to quirky local fare found in an entire alley lined with sogogi gukbap, or beef-stew eateries. Because Busan is a port city, seafood fans should head to Jagalchi Market for fresh fish. Bustling with vendor stalls and makeshift restaurants where you can eat charcoal-roasted clams on the spot, the area offers an experience not to be missed.

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