The southeastern port city of Busan, is bustling with a film lovers and people from the movie industry as the 26th edition of the Busan International Film Festival opens tonight.
Our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung is at the site right now, Bo-kyoung, how is the festival going?
Hi Jung-min, just an hour ago, the 26th Busan International Film Festival officially got underway.
The opening ceremony is currently going on at the outdoor theater of the Busan Cinema Center, co-hosted by well-known actors Song Joong-ki and Park So-dam.
This year's BIFF has a more familiar feeling to it than last year, given that the whole nation is now starting to return to near normal, and unlike last year, the festival has prepared in-person opening and closing ceremonies as well as a red carpet event.
Though only half of the theater seats are available, Asia's biggest film festival will screen each film two or three times across 29 screens in 6 theaters.
There are still strict virus prevention measures in place though.
To hold the festival safely, all visitors and participants are required to show that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past three days.
This year, a total of 2-hundred-23 films from 70 countries are going to be screened, and the programmers who selected the movies say the line-up tops expectations.
Interestingly, this year's BIFF is not just limited to films that are screened from theaters but also showcases those from OTT platforms.
"All films from three representative film festivals Cannes, Berlin and Venice are here including Titane, which won Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival,"Drive My Car", which won best screenplay and "Bad Bad Luck Banging" which received the Golden Bear in Berlin."
"Starting last year, lots of film directors started to show content through OTT platforms, so for the first time at an Asian film festival, we have come up with an "On-screen" section that introduces series from OTT platforms."
I can already see movie-lovers getting so excited and flocking to Busan. Last year you told us "Minari" was the noteworthy film to take a look at, how about this year and can we expect film maestros to visit this year's festival?
Well Jung-min, first of all, I would say there are so many films worth watching, but out of a total of 2-hundred-23 films from 70 countries that were invited this year, the opening film is what catches our eyes. That film is director Im Sang-soo's "Heaven: To the Land of Happiness."
The movie depicts the true meaning of happiness through two men's journey one who is an escaped convict played by veteran actor Choi Min-sik, and his travel buddy who is suffering from rare disease played by Park Hae-il.
"Though death is a natural event, to that person and those nearby it is horrible to face. As I grow old, I specifically began thinking about the death, and that was the starting point of this movie."
"Out of all the characters in my filmography, Nam-sik is a very adorable character who I myself wanted to hug. I was touched by how he struggles, but manages to live his life."
And of course, there are globally-recognized directors. Bong Joon-ho of "Parasite" will have a special talk with the Japanese filmmaker who won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at this year's Berlin International Film Festival with "Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy", and director Park Chan-wook will give a talk at the Asia Content & Film Market conference.
That's all I got, back to you, Jung-min.