Busan International Film Festival FORUM BIFF

Film Festival as Contact Zones

Film Festival as Contact Zones

Film Festival as Contact Zones

Currently in Korea, more than 1,700 film festivals are held per year. This is not a peculiar phenomenon unique to Korea. Film festivals have been on the rise globally since the end of the Cold War era. BIFF was also born out of this trend and has grown to be the representative IFF in Asia. On its 25th anniversary, BIFF is holding a film festival-themed forum with RCCZ.

Film festivals are contact zones where various cultures and values ​​compete and resonate with one another. They are nodes of the film culture in which people from different fields such as art, industry, and policy join forces. Film festivals cause multilateral contact with diverse cultural, regional, and ethnic contexts. This is not only a trait of individual film festivals, but also a trait of the global film festival network, often referred to as a circuit.

Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to dynamic collision, competition, and negotiation of various subjects and contexts at festivals. With this perspective, we will look into how film festivals have influenced the past, present and future of Asian films and discuss the power relations surrounding the festival, considering global geopolitics. We also need to look at how new media and a shifting technological environment put pressure on film festivals to change and offer new opportunities to them.

This is not only a reflection on film festivals, but also an attempt to participate in film festival studies that have been carried out for the last 20 years. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the film festival world is facing an unprecedented and serious crisis, which is also a problem for film culture as a whole. Facing the contactless, or “untact” era, Forum BIFF is going to explore the possibilities of how to create new “contact zones.”

I. Media Technology and the Future of Film Festivals

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving film festivals into very difficult situations, forcing their organizers to seek various alternatives for event logistics, largely through digital technology and online connections. However, many of these changes are not unprecedented: the digitization of film technology has profoundly changed the conditions of film production and acceptance. Film stocks have almost disappeared and movie theaters are rapidly losing their status as the main window for exhibition. COVID-19 is merely accelerating these changes and furthering the transformation of film festivals. Film festival practitioners must reflect upon the future of film festivals in relation to new media technology. In this session, the most innovative festival practitioners will share their insight for the future of film festivals, covering such technological possibilities as online screening, AR/VR/360°screens, and media convergence.

Moderator Hwang Hei-rim(BIFF)
Speaker Jarod Neece(SXSW) Film Festivals in the Time of Covid
II. The Geopolitics of Film Festivals in Asia

Film festivals are always geopolitical fields. From regional film policy to international cultural politics, a wide spectrum of power relations is present at film festivals. In light of geopolitics, the past, present, and future of Asian film festivals will be examined.

Moderator Jeong Seung-hoon(Seoul Nat’l Univ.)
Speaker Lee Sangjoon(Nanyang Technological Univ.) Asian Film Festival and the Cultural Cold War in Asia
Julian Stringer(Univ. of Nottingham) Film Festivals in Asia: Development Through Global Standards
Chris Berry(King’s College London) The Geopolitics of Film Festivals in the Sinophone World
Nitin Govil(Univ. of Southern California) Indian Film Festivals and/as Geopolitical Aesthetics
III. Film Festivals beyond Borders

Some time ago, many film festivals around the world began to present agendas and hold themed events every year. In particular, film festivals held in border areas consider themselves contact zones between academia and a political space in which the solidarity of the people is realized (referred to here as “plaza”). Through this initiative, the film festival has evolved into a platform that seeks regional opinions of global issues and a global consensus on regional issues. “Film Festivals Beyond Borders” will investigate the dynamics and aspects of how a film festival proliferates into an “événement” by declaring that film festivals cannot go back to the way they were due to the cultural politics of record and memory as they compete with and join both academia and plaza.

Moderator Kim Hankyul(Chungang Univ.)
Speaker Chon Woohyung(Chungang Univ.) Competition and Solidarity Among Film Festivals, Plaza, and Academia
Lee Yunjong(Cine-Gwangju) Cine-Gwangju 1980, the First Online Film Festival in South Korea as a State-led Commemoration Event
Lee Hoo-Kyoung(Sungkyunkwan Univ.) A Study on the Busan International Film Festival as a Cultural Movement