NETPAC commiserates with the board and staff of the Busan International Film Festival on the passing of their esteemed Deputy Director and Executive Programmer Kim Ji-seok. His passing has left a deep void in our hearts. We have witnessed the progression of the festival from small beginnings to its present status as a premier international event that is a model of innovativeness and programming quality, and Kim Ji-seok had been at the forefront of much of this development. His dedication to discovering and promoting Asian cinema was absolute, and he built up an intimate network of filmmakers from all over Asia whose careers he followed and even helped to advance. One of his last acts before Cannes was to attend the inauguration of the Busan Asian Film School for young producers from Asia with whom he unstintingly shared his thoughts and concern for Asian cinema. If Asian cinephiles thought that his only role was programming, they would be surprised to know that he was the voice directing the ceremonies and the opening and closing of the festival during the emcees’ recessions. It was typical of Kim Ji-seok to remain unpretentious and unobstrusive however significant the proceedings at BIFF, yet one sensed he had had an input. It is doubly sad that his passing should occur at a moment when BIFF was set to resume its good work briefly interrupted by a political exigency. But we take faith in the fact that the platforms he created, the foundations he helped to build and the programmers he inspired and nurtured will ensure the stature of the Busan International Film Festival as one of Asia’s great cultural movements.
The President, Board and Executive Committee NETPAC Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema