- The 38th Busan International Short Film Festival ends on April 26th.
- Safe on-site film festival completed by complying with social distancing measures
- The Grand Prix of the International Competition Film goes to <Bella>, the Grand Prix of the Korean Competition goes to <Georgia>, the Grand Prix of Operation Kino goes to <San 23-1, X>
The 38th Busan International Short Film Festival (BISFF) wrapped up its six-day program on Wednesday, April 26th. The BISFF is the oldest short film festival in South Korea and the first Korean film festival to be recognized by the Academy Awards. This year's festival ran with the theme "A State of Exception,¡± and introduced a variety of short films that contemplate and present hope when daily life is dramatically altered. It screened a total of 125 films from 39 countries in 5 different sections. The festival, which was held at the Busan Cinema Center and BNK Busan Bank Art Cinema, was designed to interact with moviegoers at home and abroad, regardless of physical distance, while maintaining the festival's on-site and online operations. Cha Min-chul, the chairman of the BISFF, expressed his gratitude and went on to say: ¡°The festival proved that a cultural event could be held safely on site if the audience strictly comply with the social distancing measures.¡±
A total of 13 award-winning films were announced at the closing ceremony held at the Busan Cinema Center. At the closing ceremony, which was live-streamed on the festival's official YouTube channel, <Bella>, the Grand Prix of the International Competition, <Georgia>, the Grand Prix of the Korean Competition, and <San 23-1, X>, the Grand Prix of Operation Kino, were announced and awarded. <Georgia> which won the Grand Prix of the Korean Competition, also won the NETPAC Award, which is awarded to the best Asian film in the competition category, making it a double winner on the night. Additionally, the Agora Award, which is selected by directors who visited the festival, was awarded to the winner of the Grand Prix of Operation Kino, <San 23-1, X> to rapturous applause. Finally, <Conversations at the End of Life> in the International Competition and <We Bloom> in the Korean Competition were selected by the audience for the Audience Awards.
¡à International Competition
The international competition judges said that this year's finalists were rich in terms of stories, perspectives and approaches to film. They also added that they¡¯re grateful to all the filmmakers who gave them the opportunity to travel around the world vicariously through film at a time when a lot of people cannot physically travel due to the pandemic. The Jury Award went to <Al-Sit> (Sudan/Qatar), the Excellence Award to <The Owl> (Sweden), and the Grand Prix to <Bella> (Greece).
¡à Korean Competition
In the general critique, the judges of the Korean competition said that they paid attention to the films that built up drama in a creative way, despite the time constraints of short films. Actor Hae-joon, who played the main character Shin-mi in <God¡¯s Daughter Dances>, was awarded the Best Acting Award. In addition, the Jury Award was awarded to <Blood Ties>, the Excellence Award to <Rats in the House>, and the Grand Prix to <Georgia>. Furthermore, the judges gave a special mention to <Snail>, which was not in competition but caught the eyes of the judges for its original concept and theme.
¡à NETPAC Award
The NETPAC Award is given by the Asian Film Organization to a remarkable Asian film from among the films in the International and Korean Competition. The judges commented that most of the films dealt with a wide range of issues deeply rooted in the socio-cultural environment, especially those that show interesting experiments in animation and technical excellence using the latest digital technology. In addition, the judges explained that <Georgia> was awarded the Grand Prix because its story was complete and the fantasy-like images powerfully and poetically portrayed the couple¡¯s effort to get justice.
¡à Operation Kino
Operation Kino is a program that produces and supports short documentaries to foster film talent in Busan and is sponsored by the Jung-gu District Office of Busan Metropolitan City. The judges commented that through the six films shown this year, "¡¦we were able to see the changes in the lives and spaces of various classes living in the present era, and it was impressive that the themes of each film were expressed in a consistent manner in such a short production period." The Agora Award, selected by the film directors who visited the festival, was awarded to <San 23-1, X>, the Excellence Award to <Always> and the Grand Prix to <San 23-1, X>.
Award-winning films and detailed reviews can be found on the Busan International Short Film Festival website (www.bisff.org).