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The Pusan International Film Festival, South Korean Cinema and Globalization

The Pusan International Film Festival, South Korean Cinema and Globalization

SooJeong Ahn
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    The Pusan International Film Festival, South Korean Cinema and Globalization
    Book Description:

    This book is the first book-length study of a non-Western film festival. While studies of film festivals were still relatively uncommon in the 1990s, the new millennium has seen a growing academic interest in these festive events where culture often goes hand in hand with commerce. Recently, a variety of articles, book chapters, monographs and dissertations have been devoted to various aspects of the film festival phenomenon. However, very little primary empirical research has been conducted to date on non-Western film festivals. Therefore, this project is original and timely and will complement existing publications, without duplicating any. This project argues that the initiation, development and growth of the Pusan International Film Festival need to be understood as the result of a productive tension between the demands of the local, the national, and the regional, and the festival’s efforts to serve these different constituencies. The book also reflects the complexities brought about by the rapid transformation of the South Korean film industry which has striven to reach out to the global market since the late 1990s by closely looking at the first international film festival, PIFF in South Korea. As this book focuses upon PIFF’s vital role in linking with its national and regional film industries, it will offer a fresh perspective towards the existing discussions on the “Korean Wave” in the Asian region. Drawing on a wide range of primary materials and exclusive interviews, the book offers a unique and original perspective on the film festival phenomenon that will be of use to scholars of East Asian cinema, transnational media flows, and contemporary Asian culture more broadly.

    eISBN: 978-988-8053-86-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Note to Reader
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction: Film Festivals between the National and the Regional in the Age of Globalization
    (pp. 1-30)

    This book examines an international film festival in South Korea, the Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF), between the years 1996 and 2005.¹ The purpose of this research is to elucidate how an individual film festival in a non-Western country has worked to position itself within the rapidly changing global film economy, and identifies a series of self-definition processes it used to differentiate itself from its regional counterparts, such as the Hong Kong and Tokyo film festivals. Furthermore, this project also reflects the complexities brought about by the rapid transformation of the South Korean film industry, which has striven to reach...

  6. 1 Why Pusan?: The Political Economy of a Film Festival
    (pp. 31-58)

    The first annual PIFF was inaugurated on September 13, 1996 in Pusan, South Korea’s second largest city. Since this first unanticipated, overwhelming, qualitative, and quantitative success, the PIFF has gone on, in a relatively short period of time, to become the leading international film festival in Asia,¹ even surpassing the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF), which for the previous twenty years had been a key platform for the latest Asian films.² Its rapid growth also threatened the position of the Tokyo International Film Festival, which has been categorized as an A-level festival.³

    In this chapter I will examine the...

  7. 2 Negotiating a Place between Korean Cinema and Asian Cinema: Programming Politics
    (pp. 59-76)

    This chapter seeks to reveal some of the institutional dynamics of film festivals by focusing on the programming sections of the PIFF between 1996 and 2005. It specifically aims to illustrate how the festival’s programming of its national/regional sections is closely tied to its political, economic, and social interests. While the PIFF has served as a showcase for Asian films by evoking a strong Asian identity to differentiate it from its regional counterparts, it has equally striven to promote the national film industry by acting as a gateway to the global market for Korean films featured in its prime sections....

  8. 3 Re-imagining the Past: Programming Retrospectives
    (pp. 77-100)

    Following the discussion of contemporary Korean cinema and the PIFF in the preceding chapter, this chapter explores the relationship between older Korean films and the PIFF. The chapter specifically looks at a series of retrospectives organized by the PIFF between 1996 and 2005.² By recirculating classic Korean films in this particular section, the PIFF has sought to redefine the concept of Korean cinema and play a key role in sanctioning old films made in Korea as a legitimate agent of memory within South Korea.³ At the same time, the PIFF has highlighted old Asian films in these retrospectives in an...

  9. 4 A Global Film Producer: The Pusan Promotion Plan
    (pp. 101-120)

    This chapter aims to show how the PIFF’s regionalization strategy has been furthered by the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), a market in which new Asian feature film projects can seek co-financing and co-production partners from all over the world.¹ By looking at the PPP, the purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate that festivals have become a key location to sell and buy projects and ideas in the preproduction stage. The key argument of this chapter is that film festivals are beginning to play a new role in the global film industry, that of being a new kind of producer,...

  10. 5 Remapping Asian Cinema: The Tenth Anniversary in 2005
    (pp. 121-144)

    In this final chapter, I consider the tenth PIFF as a significant moment in its history in terms of its overall structure, identity, and position, and specifically examine the events and programs associated with the anniversary festival. Based on my field research in Pusan in October 2005, I will look at this anniversary in a wider context rather than simply provide a snapshot of any particular event. The key to understanding the goals of this anniversary is its varying degrees of “expansionism.” The grand scale and scope focusing on Asian identity were used on two fronts. On an industrial side,...

  11. Conclusion: Toward a New Channel
    (pp. 145-152)

    This book has brought the discussion of film festivals into an East Asian context by exploring how the PIFF in South Korea has actively positioned itself within the rapidly changing global film economy. By investigating the establishment and development of the festival between 1996 and 2005, I have demonstrated how and why the PIFF has used the Asian identity as its most visible marketing strategy. The book has thus brought to light a series of self-definition processes that the festival used to differentiate itself from its regional counterparts, such as the Hong Kong and Tokyo film festivals.

    This project has...

  12. Appendix 1. Film Festivals in East Asia (1999)
    (pp. 153-154)
  13. Appendix 2. PIFF over 15 Years (1996–2010)
    (pp. 155-156)
  14. Appendix 3. Main Program Sections of PIFF
    (pp. 157-158)
  15. Appendix 4. An Overview of the Tenth PIFF (October 6–14, 2005)
    (pp. 159-160)
  16. Appendix 5. PPP Project Accomplishments (1998–2005)
    (pp. 161-164)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 165-200)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 201-214)
  19. Index
    (pp. 215-220)