Organizers of the Busan International Film Festival have opted to delay the major Asian festival by two weeks due to ongoing COVID-19 related concerns.
The festival will now run October 21-30. This gives it an extra buffer of time after the Chuseok holiday (Korean Thanksgiving), which takes place September 30 – October 2; there is a concern that those holiday dates could provoke a spike in virus cases.
South Korea was commended for its early virus response, which included widespread testing, but a recent spike at the end of August led to fears of a second wave. In response, the government put in place tighter restrictions, which led to a downturn in box office after a promising post-lockdown summer that saw hits including zombie movie #Alive.
Busan has also said its 25th edition was be downsized, including the cancellation of all outdoor events such as the opening and closing ceremonies, to avoid crowds gathering. There will also be no international invitations, no parties or receptions, and no networking. Industry activity will be pivoted online.
Instead, the fest says it will focus on screenings, all of which will be held in accordance with government guidelines. Organizers also noted that if there is no reduction in lockdown measures, or if there is any kind of escalation, it will be forced to cancel entirely.
Busan’s official selections are due to be announced on September 14.