Oliver Stone to Head Jury of Troubled Busan Film Festival

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Oliver Stone

The filmmaker is no stranger to controversy in South Korea, where he had joined local anti-militarism protests in 2013.

Director Oliver Stone will lead the jury of the upcoming Busan International Film Festival's main competition, New Currents, organizers of the South Korean event announced Monday. The 22nd edition of the festival is set to run Oct. 12-21 in the port city of Busan.

New Currents is a competition that is designed to introduce up-and-coming Asian directors. Other members of this year's jury include Bahman Ghobadi, the Iranian filmmaker known for Cannes-winning No One Knows About Persian Cats, among others; Agnes Godard, the French cinematographer who has long collaborated with filmmakers such as Claire Denis and Wim Wenders; Lav Diaz, the Filipino auteur of Venice Golden Lion-winning The Woman Who Left; and 1990s Korean New Wave director Jang Sun-woo (A Petal, Lies).

Stone, the Oscar-winning director of films including Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, visited South Korea four years ago. Anti-militarism leaflets handed out during the 2013 Busan festival featured Stone among protestors opposing the construction of a U.S. naval base on South Korea's Jeju Island.

The American filmmaker's visit to Busan is a timely one, as the South Korean festival struggles to get back on its feet.

Since fighting a censorship battle against local authorities in 2014, the fest has seen the local film community divided and torn. Two of its founding members have since been ousted while another, its former head programmer, met an untimely death during the Cannes Film Festival in May. Another founding member, Kim Dong-ho, who had retired in 2010, returned to help last year by stepping in as chairman, but recently announced that he will be leaving along with current fest director Kang Soo-youn after this year's edition comes to a close.

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