Last month, students from my university were given an amazing opportunity to attend a weekend of the Busan International Film Festival. We left on the day of my birthday, and returned the following Sunday. A weekend full of new experiences and memories, I could not have asked for a better way to spend my birthday weekend!
It was exciting to get to see pre-screenings of some films that I had been wanting to see for a long time, such as The Mountain Between Us. I also was forced to move out of my comfort zone a bit, when all of the films I wanted to see were sold out on Saturday; I ended up watching a political documentary about Cambodia (A Spring in Cambodia), and a romance film about unhealthy/interdependent relationships (A Worthy Companion). Both were definitely not films I normally would have chosen to see in normal circumstances, but I surprisingly enjoyed them. Mostly, I loved that we had access to and got to see films from around the world, rather than just American or Korean films, as I’m used to.
One of the major highlights of the festival though, has to be the location. I absolutely love the beach in Busan, especially at nighttime. Last time I was here, it was the middle of winter and street performers dotted the landscape, singing ballads against the crashing ocean and bustling crowds of people. This time, there were some platforms, stages, and decorations set up for people to take photos in front of and enjoy for the duration of the festival (called “BIFF Square”). Though my friends and I visited in the late evening, there were still a lot of people surrounding the square. Once past all of the festival props, we were able to escape the crowds a bit and people-watched along the beach. I didn’t have my tripod on me, so it was difficult to take these with the lack of light, but I was able to get a couple interesting shots from the beach.
Overall, it was a great weekend full of watching new films, learning how to navigate the festival, and exploring Busan with friends. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to return again next year!