The 26th Busan International Film Festival officially got underway on Wednesday, with the opening ceremony held at the outdoor theater of the Busan Cinema Center, co-hosted by well-known actors Song Joong-ki and Park So-dam.
Unlike last year, the festival has in-person opening and closing ceremonies as well as a red carpet event.
Though only half of the theater seats are available, the festival will screen each film two or three times across 29 screens in 6 theaters.
And, strict virus prevention measures are in place.
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 surpasses expectations.
"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."
This year's opening film was director Im Sang-soo's "Heaven: To the Land of Happiness", depicting the true meaning of happiness through the journey of two men, starring veteran actor Choi Min-sik, and 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 characters of 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."
"Until October 15th, movie-lovers, people from the film industry, and even globally-recognized directors such as Bong Joon-ho will be in Busan to enjoy a film festival that has returned to near normal. Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News, Busan."