Busan Film Festival to Launch Cable Channel for Art Movies

Cinema Center
Coop Himmelblau

The ceiling of the new Cinema Center is covered by an elaborate system of monitors that can display full-motion graphics.

The South Korean cinema event also plans to distribute independent films for the 1.5 billion-won ($1.38 million) project

SEOUL — The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) will launch a cable TV channel for non-mainstream films in order to provide an outlet for the genre outside of the festival period.

The channel, temporarily called “Channel BIFF,” is slated to go live before the end of the year, festival organizers announced Wednesday. It will also start distributing films through its own company.

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BIFF plans to invest 200 million won ($183,999) from its own pocket and start a private capital-inducing project for 1.5 billion won ($1.38 million). It will acquire shares of a local cable channel for independent cinema, Indie Film, and co-run Channel BIFF with Korean Creative Contents Agency (KOCCA), a government-run organization for promoting local cultural content.

Organizers expect the new endeavors to heighten the quality of films submitted to the film festival, and they plan to partner with cable TV operators and advertising firms to heighten the competitiveness of the TV channel.

The festival’s new distribution company will serve similar ends. It will buy rights for quality art films to be shown on its TV channel or in local arthouse theaters. Channel BIFF will broadcast movies invited to the festival, as well as other genre films from around the world.

“Channel BIFF will introduce old Korean movies as well as quality art films from Asian and European countries to Korean audiences,” said Lee Yong-kwan, director of BIFF. “This marks how the Busan Festival will take a step further from being an annual event, to contribute to the development of local art films as well as Asian cinema as a whole.”