37th Busan International Short Film Festival – Korean Competition Finalists

BISFFfilmskorea2020We present the films that will compete at the Korean Competition of the 37th Busan International Short Film Festival, which will take place late August 2020, in Busan, South Korea.

About the festival:
Founded in 1980, the Busan International Short Film Festival launched with the aim of creating the film-making friendly environment and finding talented film professionals. It has introduced many different kinds of films, including 8mm and independent films made by students and general public. Many young talents in those days are now taking the lead in the Korean cinema. The BISFF has been introducing short films and cultures of the Guest Country. In addition to the competition section, various sections have given audience the chances to see the trend in a short film in the world and to guess its future.

The BISFF is also an Oscar-Qualifying film festival, and the movie that wisn the competition award will be a candidate for the American Academy Awards next year.

This year the BISFF received 593 films, 21 pre-selection juries (6 overseas and 15 Korean) selected 19 films as finalists. 82% of the films submitted were fictions, 7% documentary, 6% animation, and 5% experimental films.

Selected Films:

Assembly by Shin Taeksoo – Korea | 2019
For Sale by Lee Youngseop – Korea
Going My Home by Shin Jonghun – Korea | 2019 – 25 minutes
Painter & Mom by Kim Younmi, Forest Ian Etsler – Korea
Pick-up by Roh Dohyeon – Korea | 2019
Tiger and Ox by Kim Seunghee – Korea | 2019
The Insect Man by Kim Hyun – Korea | 2019 – 19 minutes
* – Films with no English information



AKA 5JO by Lee Kyeongwon – Korea | 2019 – 15 minutes

A has-been rap star and his old fan accidentally ride the Ferris Wheel together in an amusement park. The short story AKA 5JO is from the Omnibus feature, Different People with the Same Name Project Season 3. (Kang Sowon)




Alien by Yeon Jegwang – Korea | 2019 – 15 minutes

When her roommate and co-worker dies attempting to evade immigration agents, Reonghee, in solidarity with her tragically departed compatriot, tries to ensure that the latter receives the dignity in death that she deserves. (Palm Springs Film Festival 2019)



Bizarre Research

Bizarre Research of a High School Girl by Kim Bowon – Korea | 2019 – 20 minutes

One day, a high school girl learns about the theory of evolution online, then realizes that our DNAs dictate success and failure in life. She then sets off to find the meaning of life, desperately hoping that a low achiever like her should find a reason to live. She seeks advice from online lecturers, pebbles by the river, and a Catholic priest, but none can give her a clear answer. After all, she must come up with her own answer. [Lee Hookyeong]



Dear Elephant

Dear Elephant by Lee Changmin – Korea | 2019 – 24 minutes

Asked to produce a documentary film to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Thailand, I track the life of the first Korean to settle in Thailand, film director Kengson Lee.




Empty by Kim Minjae – Korea | 2019 – 20 minutes

A middle-aged restaurant worker with a slacker husband discovers she’s pregnant. She also has an annoying boss, a deaf dog, and fantasies of letting people have it. (San Diego Asian Film Festival 2019)




Freckles by Kim Jihee – Korea | 2019 – 27 minutes

Young-shin and Joo-hee become good friends at a fasting center. While Young-shin succumbs to her unbearable appetite, Joo-hee plans to succeed in losing weight and start a new life. As Young-shin finds herself increasingly attracted to Joo-hee, the latter gets into trouble. Some people may pluck up the courage to give love to those who recognize their beautiful side ─ like lovely Young-shin. [Jeong Jihye]




Leo by Lee Deokchan – Korea | 2018 – 28 minutes

A graduate from a top university overseas, cellist Eun-ae has played the cello every day for the past ten years. Tomorrow, she has a job interview at a PR department. She plans to sell her cello, which has become part of her identity. She seems determined to bid goodbye to her life as a cellist. She gets a call from someone who is interested in her cello. Is this how it all ends? The film maintains its pace and conveys Eun-ae’s sorrow. [Jeong Jihye]




Parterre by Lee Sanghwan – Korea | 2019 – 27 minutes

In wrestling, the term “parterre” refers to the penalty that puts you at a disadvantage over your opponent. This concept oddly goes along with the film. High-school student Oh-seong is a promising wrestler, but he is an illegal immigrant. To enter the nationwide sports competition, he has no choice but waits to be adopted by someone. Meanwhile, a man keeps pestering him, and it seems like he is at a parterre position. [Jung Han-seok]




Pointer by Lim Sora – Korea | 2018 – 15 minutes

Hyunjeong searches for hidden cameras in public bathrooms she has used. The film depicts the difficulties of sexual violence victims through Hyunjeong, who relies only on her memory as she visits bathrooms on a list she made in a desperate situation where no one wishes to help. The film takes a stellar turn when the main character prevents other women from becoming victims, discovers new cases or takes revenge on offenders, as she moves beyond being a victim and finds her own agency. [Bae Juyeon]



Proxy Exam

Proxy Exam by Kim Nakyung – Korea | 2019 – 17 minutes

The deep emotions running through this film arise from the fear that we may never belong anywhere. Choi and Park find themselves in an uneasy relationship where they must rely on each other. Choi’s anxiety stems from the impossibility of proving her own existence. Therefore, her anxiety provides the reason for her claim that she does not mind being Park. In the twilight by the Han River, her existence comes face to face to her name. [Chi Seunghak]



Snail Man

Snail Man by Park Jaebeom – Korea | 2019 – 22 minutes

An old man named Lot is pushing a round barrow, heading toward a desert with his grandson named Aram to collect his son’s body. After getting some help from a black woman he met beside a well, he leaves Aram behind and continues the journey by himself. But Aram follows him. Amidst war, Lot arrives in the town to collect his son’s body. Then, another battle starts and Aram witnesses the death of his father, Moab. (BIAF 2019)



To Each Your Sarah

To Each Your Sarah by Kim Deokgeun – Korea | 2019 – 26 minutes

The film portrays the anguish of an abandoned person and yet focuses on the process in which she grows more conscious of her true self. As she handles the foul giblets of slaughtered pigs, Sarah gets to realize that her real name is Jeong-ja. Every time she vomits, it seems as if the Jeong-ja inside her bursts forth. This short film shows what her real name is and who she really is. Her struggle ripens during the process of recovering her name. [Chi Seunghak]

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