Kim tells festival tales

Retiring PIFF director remembers the ride

After 15 years as director of the Pusan International Film Festival, Kim Dong-ho is riding off into the sunset for new challenges and adventures.

Kim was the driving force behind the birth of the festival 1996 and has been the general commanding its march to prominence as the most important festival in Asia and one of the most important festivals in the world.

The Hollywood Reporter asked him to share some of his favorite memories of festivals past.

Opening Festival of 1st Pusan International Film Festival
"I'll never forget the moment when a large projection screen was installed on the outdoor stadium on the opening day of the festival on Sept. 13, 1996. We virtually started from scratch."
Street Parties in front of Pusan Hotel
"On our first year, I took guests to the streets of Nampo-dong and Jungang-dong where you can find lots of foods, but most restaurants closed at midnight. We ended up drinking soju until early morning on the streets with newspapers spread on the floor."
Riding on the Motorcycle of a Delivery Man
"Traffic from Nampo-dong to Haeundae can be hellish, and it can take over an hour on a bad day. There was one time where we had to take directors of New Currents section in Nampo-dong to the outdoor stage in Haeundae in 40 minutes. We decided to get on the motorcycle of a delivery man. In fact, we continued using them in the next two or three years."
Three Festival Directors
"In 2001 we invited new festival directors of Cannes, Berlin and Venice to Pusan. It was their first overseas trip to a film festival after taking their posts, and it was an occasion to spread the emerging reputation of Pusan."
Attending Festival Summit
"On Dec. 1, 2001, the European Film Academy hosted a summit of directors from major festivals around the world (namely the "summit"), and PIFF was the only participant from Asia. It was a sign of the festival's recognized status."
Hollywood Reporter's Nielson's Impact Award
"I was the second winner of Nielsen's Impact Award by The Hollywood Reporter after Geoffrey Gilmore of the Sundance Film Festival. I was quite pleased and thankful to gain recognition from the foreign press."
Wide Angle Party
"It's a party that takes place once a year for young film professionals, and I was having fun with my ‘improvised dance' on stage with the guests. I quite look forward to this year's Wide Angle Party."