#ISUPPORTBIFF_Tiina LOKK (Festival Director/Black Nights Film Festival)
20 years ago Busan was a rather grey and bleak port city, which did not attract a lot of tourists. Also, 20 years ago Korean film industry was in a slump. Now, Busan has basically become the film center of Korea, the city florishes and numerous tourists visit the place. During that period, Korean cinema has seen many new waves and Korean film industry is firmly on the world map of film industry. Busan has become a gateway to Asia and the festival has become one of the most unique and facinating festivals in the world. There are no filmmakers who wouldn’t know Busan and the city behind it. That all becomes as a result of the decision the city and Korean governments once made by trusting the festival’s team and help their ideas lift off, forming the basis of Korean cinema’s success story. The task of film festivals is to discover new films and filmmakers and most important, defend their right to their freedom, their freedom of speech, and the freedom of telling their story, just as every nation has a right to tell its story. The festival is a choerent whole and none of the funders have a right to intervene with its content and censor free thought. If a festival director submits to censorship, he/ she loses the trust of the filmmakers. By curtailing Busan film festival and repressing its leadership, Busan will not only destroy its own reputation, but it will affect the reputation of Korean government internationally. It is easy to dismantle, but so much harder to re-build and achieve such a position and trust in the world, that the organisers of Busan International Film Festival have done. I urge you not to undo all of this.
Festival Director, Black Nights Film Festival