Lee Addresses Logistical Issues

On the eve of the Asian Film Market, BIFF’s director calms fears.

BUSAN, South Korea -- "Don’t worry!”

That’s what Lee Yong-kwan, the new Busan International Film Festival director who is overseeing his first BIFF edition without festival co-founder Kim Dong-ho, had to say when asked about possible logistical problems when the 6th Asian Film Market gets underway on Oct. 10. For the first time the market will take place at the 93,000-square meter Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) in the Centum area.

The vastness of the new venue looks daunting even from afar — the BEXCO parking lot itself outsizes the entire Seacloud complex, the first three floors of which had been used for the last three years as the market’s home. Adding to some pre-market jitters is the fact that the concurrently held Asian Project Market — formerly the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) — which is attended by some buyers simultaneously, is now being held at the Seacloud Hotel in Haeundae. For some market attendees the logistics and travel arrangements seem overwhelming, to say the least.

“We understand we all need to make some adjustments, but there is nothing for our attendees to worry about.

We have teams of staff and volunteers working around the clock preparing to help buyers and exhibitors with clear signage and maps,” said Lee.

Lee adds that organizers have also arranged shuttle buses going from BEXCO, the Busan Cinema Center, and the Haeundae Grand Hotel, where the Busan Cinema Forum takes place.

The traffic deadlocks in the Haeundae-Centum route as witnessed by all on Sunday hardly instill calm, but Lee said it was a special case because of a charity marathon. “There is usually no traffic jam during the day; only when people are going to the parties at night that traffic might be heavier,” he noted.

Describing his experience as festival director so far as “very difficult, because of the workload,” Lee’s voice is hoarse from numerous interviews since the festival began. Lee’s leadership has coincided with a number of changes to the 16-year-old festival — a name change and new venues for events, as well as a festival lineup that is decidedly more Korean. “Until last year we’ve only selected mainstream movies from Korea, but this year, as the independent and art house film scene grows in Korea, we have more films to choose from. They are the new hopes of Korean cinema,” Lee said.

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