Bhutanese Film 'Vara: A Blessing' to Open 2013 Busan Film Festival

35 FEA Busan FF Cinema Center Exterior H
Nathan Willock/

At 92 yards, the roof of the Cinema Center is reportedly the longest free cantilever ever built. "Our aim is to defy gravity," says Wolf Prix of architecture firm Coop Himmelblau.

The 18th edition of the South Korean cinema event will present 70 titles from 301 countries, with a stronger focus on works by emerging Asian directors.

SEOUL — Vara: A Blessing by Bhutanese filmmaker Khyentse Norbu will open the 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), organizers of the South Korean cinema event, which will open Oct. 3-12, announced Tuesday.

Vara is about an Indian woman making risks to model for and romance an artist from a lower caste. It is among 301 works from 70 countries that are included in the lineup. The selection is slightly smaller compared to last year’s 304 films from 75 countries, but includes a few more premieres. A total 95 films will make their debut at BIFF, of which 69 are features. There are also 42 international premieres.

“There will be strong presence of films by young emerging Asian filmmakers, and so expect this year’s edition to better reflect the Busan Film Festival’s identity,” said festival director Lee Yong-kwan. Over 90 films are feature debuts or follow-ups by up-and-coming directors.

There will be special showcases on films from Central Asia and Ireland, as well as a retrospective in honor of the late filmmaker Park Chul-soo, who died in a car accident in February. 

Among local works, festival-goers will be able to see the director's cut version of Bong Joon Ho's Snowpiercer, which despite having opened already in Korean theaters, will be shown for the first time at a major international film festival. Also to be shown is a Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB)-approved cut of Kim Ki-duk's controversial Moebius, due to the director's personal request, rather than the uncut version currently showing at Venice.
Taiwanese actor Jimmy Wong, Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan, and Korean veteran cineaste Im Kwon-taek will grace BIFF’s annual hand-printing ceremony. Im will also be featured in the Korean Cinema Retrospective section, which will open 10 days prior to the festival on Sept. 23 for the largest showcase to date on the filmmaker.

The Dinner by Korean indie filmmaker Kim Dong-hyun will close the festival. The film tracing the misfortune and unhappiness of a modern family was made with the support of BIFF’s 2011 Asia Cinema Fund.

Meanwhile, the Asia Project Market (APM), an indie film financing event held in conjunction with BIFF, have registered a record number of 249 titles.