Busan International Film Festival FORUM BIFF


The Busan International Film Festival hosts Forum BIFF during the festival period, with the Jiseok Film Institute playing the key role. Forum BIFF aims to be a platform for diverse intellectual communication and production through film. It explores different aspects of film in various ways, and connects film with practices such as criticism, creation, industry, and movement. We hope that it will be an opportunity for various intellectuals, from scholars to the mass audience, to enjoy the world of film.

This year, Forum BIFF is organized around the fundamental issue of identity of film in a changing media environment. It examines the situation in which films have been dispersed and dismantled in all areas of production, distribution, and screening, and forecasts the future of cinema. Noting that the rapid development of digital information and communication technology (ICT) has mainly driven these changes, an in-depth discussion of the aspects and potential of technological innovations—such as visual special effects (VFX) that are functioning as the decisive cause—will be held. Documentary film is one of the main points of the cinematic chapter where these changes are layered. Taking into account the context of the ongoing cinematic shift, the forum also wants to examine the technological, aesthetic, and ethical innovations and explorations of documentary film in the 21st century. In addition, by analyzing and diagnosing serial dramas and movies that are actively produced with streaming services, we want to explore the possibility of reconstruction and expansion of cinema.

Forum BIFF is finally being held offline after a two-year hiatus. We hope that it will be a place of communication and exchange between domestic and foreign filmmakers and experts, and an opportunity to share sincere and useful information and insights with the audience and related parties who visit this year’s Busan International Film Festival.

Dates Oct. 6 (Thu) ~ Oct. 11 (Tue), 2022
Venue Busan Visual Industry Center Conference Hall & Screening Room (11F)
Host Busan International Film Festival
Co-hosts Korean Film Council (KOFIC), Korean Film Archive, Busan Film Commission

Cinema as Empire of Virtuality

Digital image technologies such as digital projectors, cameras, digital visual effects, and 3D·4D advancements that have replaced film in the last 20 to 30 years have changed our viewing culture from a single theater to a multiplex and network-based new media system. In addition, they have transformed and reconstructed the 21st century film culture industry by providing a more immersive and sensual spectacle to the audience. Also, the introduction of digitalization in the filmmaking process brought about not only the digital transformation of filming and editing as a technology, but also a major change in visual effects and the entire production process.

The full-scale introduction of digital visual effects (VFX), which were used in post-production in the past and remained in an auxiliary role, led to changes in narrative, direction, style, acting, and genre, starting with image expansion. In the 21st century, digital visual effects take a leading role in the entire process from scenario analysis to production, and have become a “storytelling technology of movies” that perfectly realizes the director’s imagination in a fantastic and realistic way that is incomparable to the photochemical method of film. A part of the film studio is currently transitioning to a virtual production system, which means full digitization and virtualization of the film production system. Now, cinema is not far from becoming a complete empire of virtuality.

In addition, the challenge of visual expansion, which has been steadily attempted since the birth of cinema with techniques such as large screens and widescreen, is providing a new cinematic experience by combining mixed reality (MR) technologies such as VR (virtual reality), XR (extended reality), and AR (augmented reality). In 2022, the overall impact of these 21st century digital technologies on the film industry was more innovative in the Korean film industry. VFX has now become an indispensable element of film production, along with shooting and lighting, which are direct operations in the production process. The film scene is also changing rapidly, with data preservation and transmission companies and VFX production companies emerging as important players in filmmaking. At this point, it is necessary to shift away from the existing analog perspective and toward a new way of looking at the digital era film and its components.

This forum raises the question of how to view movies and their elements in the digital age. In particular, it discusses the identity of film becoming an empire of virtuality, focusing on the change in the physical properties of film caused by the full introduction of digital devices and digital VFX in the film production process. We would like to hear and share opinions about the emergence of new immersive media such as VR/AR, technological progress, and the industrial, artistic, and economic possibilities of the virtual empire.

  • · Session 1: Korean Cinema Enters a Virtual Era
  • · Session 2: Collecting and Preserving Born-Digital Cinema Culture
  • · Session 3: Expanding Beyond the Frame of Cinema

New Perspectives in the 21st Century Documentaries

The adventurous documentarists who emerged in the 21st century have broadened our worldview with a bold and creative perspective, without being bound by complete objectivity, which was the serious or thematic approach of traditional documentaries. They have taken on cutting-edge technologies that were unavailable in the 20th century, and they have accepted challenges that erase and cross the boundaries between documentary and fiction, private and historical, as well as objectivity and subjectivity. While appreciating this new trend, we discuss what documentary is in our time and where it is going with what vision.

  • · Keynote Speech: Introducing the 21st Century Documentary Forum

(Re)constructing Cinema in the Transforming Media Environment

The rapid change in the media environment due to the digital transformation accelerated by the recent pandemic began at the end of the last century. This rapid change has been forcing fundamental shifts in all existing media. Cinema is no exception to this. The fundamental question about the viability of film as a unique medium has been raised amid the loss of the film negative and the dissolution of theater-based form. As a matter of fact, this question is familiar to us.

Amid the rapid proliferation and change of screening and distribution platforms, art forms, and viewing methods from traditional screens to streaming services, the cinema we know and love seems to have been gradually dispersed and dismantled. One particularly striking phenomenon is that in the arena of audiovisual storytelling, the artistic and industrial standard given to feature films that meet the standard of a running time of about two hours is collapsing. This is an omnidirectional phenomenon, but is more pronounced in relation to serial dramas. In the past decade, serial dramas have accomplished remarkable artistic achievements—perhaps more so than the movies of the same period. Of course, this was also the result of the transfer of cinematic capabilities. It is no longer surprising that some of the best filmmakers are involved in the production of dramas. This situation leads to questions such as: “Is the era of cinema over?”; “Aren’t those dramas really movies?”; and “How are they different from a movie?” The Busan International Film Festival intends to share and discuss these issues in Forum BIFF 2022. First, movies and serial dramas will be discussed. Whether the boundary between the two is still clear or whether they can be included in the name of cinema, we will pay attention to various aspects of production and criticism and raise questions. Questions about the boundary between film and drama inevitably go back to the fundamental question of “What is cinema?” This is why the session is prepared to theoretically explore the conditions of “post-cinema” and the possibility (or impossibility) of reconstructing cinema. This is a difficult and sharp issue in terms of laws, organizations, and support. A session will also be held to discuss issues raised in the context of Korea’s current institutional policy and their solutions.

This includes thinking about the fundamental changes in the human condition caused by changes in the overall media environment. The discussion on the present and future of cinema is central, but it also accompanies a rethinking of the history of cinema in the new contexts that such discussion evokes. Above all, the ultimate task will be the pursuit and exploration of creating and enjoying cinema (or whatever term may take its place).

  • · Session 1: Are Serial Dramas “Cinema”?
  • · Session 2: Theoretical Issues and Methodology
  • · Session 3: Laws, Institutions and Policies

Korean Film Council Forum

Korean Film Council (KOFIC) will host following events during Forum BIFF 2022. Please visit KOFIC KoBiz www.kofic.or.kr for more information.

Dates Program Venue
Oct. 6 (Thu) 14:00 Cinema Technology Conference KOFIC Theater (2F)
Oct. 9 (Sun) 17:00 Korea-Japan Cultural Exchange Through Cinema KOFIC Café (2F)
Oct. 10 (Mon) 15:00 2022 The Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion of Korean Cinema Busan Visual Industry Center Conference Hall (11F)
Oct. 11 (Tue) 15:00 KOFIC-CNC Industry Forum KOFIC Café (2F)