October 21, 2020 13:20
This year's scaled-down Busan International Film Festival starts its 10-day run on Wednesday without a red carpet or glittering stars due to the coronavirus epidemic.
The BIFF, which ends Oct. 30, has been drastically downscaled as only 25 percent of theater seats can be filled and movie tickets are only sold online. Nightly outdoor movie screenings can fill only 600 out of 2,500 seats.
The number of films in competition this year has dropped to 192 from 68 countries, compared to 299 movies from 85 countries last year, and each movie will be shown only once.
That means screenings will drop from around 800 last year to just 180, which has led to intense competition for tickets. Online ticket sales had to be temporarily halted when the system crashed on opening last week.
And yet the BIFF will set some unexpected records as other prominent international festivals including the Cannes Film Festival were canceled this year. The BIFF will feature 70 world premieres and 20 new movies being shown for the first time outside their home countries.
Twenty-three films that were invited to Cannes will premiere in Busan. The opening film is "Septet: The Story of Hong Kong," an omnibus film by seven renowned directors including Sammo Hung.
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