Kiwis in Korea

NZ Embassy dinner – group photo 2

We were privileged to take part in the 34th Busan International Short Film Festival (BISFF) in South Korea. What a beautiful city and wonderful festival run by passionate film lovers!

We presented a selection of New Zealand short films as part of a ‘prequel’ that included:

  • Wait, Yamin Tun
  • Madam Black, Ivan Barge
  • Ross & Beth, Hamish Bennett
  • Dive, Matthew Saville
  • Home, Thomas Gleeson
  • Accidents, Blunders & Calamities, James Cunningham

Our 2016 Best Film winner, Spring Jam by Ned Wenlock also screened in the family section of the BISFF programme. All the short films were well received, ‘Madam Black’ being a particular crowd favourite.

Festival Director Gina Dellabarca attended BISFF as a member of the Korean competition jury. There she watched a large number of Korean short films, took part in a transmedia conference, a panel discussion comparing New Zealand and Canadian cinema that featured short films by Matthew J. Saville, and introduced the Kiwi shorts with a waiata.

NZ Ambassador to Korea, Clare Fearnley, and her team were in attendance at BISFF. She and Deputy Head Ardi Barnard also hosted a networking dinner at the Ambassador’s residence in Seoul to foster collaboration between filmmakers in both countries. Gina was able to attend this thanks to Michael Stephens of NZ’s Korean Cinerama Trust, who was in Seoul at the time and able to introduce us to many of his extensive film industry connections.

New Zealand has a co-production treaty with South Korea. There are at least two feature film projects currently in development that will be co-productions between the two countries. We hope there will be some competition between them soon for which will become the first completed as an official NZ Korean co-production.

The 2018 edition of BISFF will see a much more extensive focus on Kiwi cinema in 2018 when we will be the official country of focus and able to showcase a larger number of our short films. We are now collaborating with BISFF and the NZ Embassy in Korea to ensure that we can deliver a memorable experience that benefits our filmmakers.

Check out all the photos from this trip on our Facebook page here.