2013 Busan International Film Festival

Saturday night, a friend invited me to take a last minute trip to Busan today to attend the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) on Sunday. We were able to reserve tickets to a screening of Jim Sheridan’s 1993 film In the Name of the Father. We hopped on the slow train (무궁화) from Dong Daegu Station (동대구역) to Busan Station (부산역). In Busan, we rode the subway to Centum City – the station connected to Shinsaegae Department Store.

신새계 Shinsaegae Department Store Busan Korea

Main entrance at Shinsaegae Department Store in Busan.

I was delighted to see dumbass-proof directions as soon as I stepped off the subway. There was a big sign on the floor that doubles as a path leading all the way to the BIFF ticket office.

2013 Busan Korea BIFF, sign to ticket office

This walkway led from the subway platform all the way to the BIFF ticket office.

2013 Busan Korea BIFF, Ticket office at Shinsaegae

The main BIFF ticket desk at Shinsaegae Department Store. I imagine it looks a lot less dreary when the weather is decent.

We picked up our tickets and headed into the main festival area – a huge, modern convention center across the street from Shinsaegae. Unlike the department store, it was nearly impossible to navigate the huge, complex convention center. Our tickets read, “Cinema II”, but there were no signs indicating where any of the screening rooms were.

2013 Busan Korea BIFF, Convention Center

The Busan Convention Center, where many of the BIFF movies are screened, is a beautiful and modern building.

2013 Busan Korea BIFF - main entrance

Thanks to the weather, I was unable to get a good photo of the main BIFF building. This is what it looked like on opening night. Source

After asking for directions at three different information desks in two buildings, we finally found our cinema. The directions, “go straight” weren’t quite adequate since the screening room was on the sixth floor of a building that can only be described as a labyrinth.

Fortunately, our timing was perfect. As we hit the seats, the film began to roll. It was not my first time seeing the movie, but it has been a long time. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first time.

At the end of the credits, a speaker came out and asked everyone to keep their seats. Jim Sheridan was making a surprise appearance to do a Question & Answer session. It was interesting to hear him speak as he wasn’t a particularly dramatic guy, so his answers were all short and to the point.

2013 Busan Korea BIFF, Jim Sheridan answering questions

Jim Sheridan answers questions from the crowd at BIFF after screening In the Name of the Father (1993).

By the time the movie and Q&A were finished, we had to hurry to the train station. I wanted more time to explore the festival grounds, but I’m hoping to have that opportunity this week. If the approaching typhoon doesn’t ruin our plans, my roommate and I will return to Busan to see two or three more movies on Wednesday. I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.

Until next time.


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