Busan Film Festival Cancels Pre-Opening Event as Typhoon Nears

Busan Film Festival BIFF Hill Building - Getty - H 2019
Woohae Cho/Getty Images

Despite Typhoon Mitag gathering force off the coast and leading to the traditional pre-opening gala being canceled, Thursday night’s official opening is still expected to go ahead.

Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) has canceled its pre-opening gala as Typhoon Mitag looms toward the South Korean port city of Busan.

Organizers behind Asia’s largest film festival said Wednesday the decision had been made to protect the “safety of our audiences and guests.”

The city of Busan traditionally hosts a pre-opening ceremony downtown, but with Mitag gathering force off the coast, the decision was made to cancel the event.

The Korea Meteorological Administration reported Wednesday afternoon that Mitag was battering the southern Jeju Island and was expected to make landfall on the southwestern coast around midnight, bringing with it high winds and heavy rain.

Thursday night’s official opening and the screening of the opening-night film The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time, starring 2018 Cannes best actress winner Samal Yeslyamova, is expected to go ahead as scheduled.

BIFF has had trouble coping with the traditional typhoon season in past years. Last year, the city was rocked by Typhoon Kong-rey, which laid waste to the main beach area at Haeundae and forced organizers to cancel a series of meet-the-guest sessions and to move others under cover at the Busan Cinema Centre.

BIFF runs from October 3-12 and features 299 films from 85 countries.