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26 Asian short films you shouldn’t miss at the 38th Busan International Short Film Festival (Part 1)

These are twenty-six Asian short films you shouldn’t miss at the 38th Busan International Short Film Festival which will take place from April 21st – 26th (2021) in Busan, 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.

Selected Films:

A Student by Lee Miji – Korea | 2020 – 15 minutes
Section: Korean Competition 3

Kyunghee is a lady in her 60s who often runs into problems because she cannot use computers. She decides to take a computer class at a community center, but they tell her that she can only apply for the class online.​ (BISFF)

Screening Dates:
April 21st, 2021 | Wednesday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 15:30 pm

April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 12:30 pm

Before the Summer Passes by Kim Sohyoung – Korea | 2020 – 26 minutes
Section: Korean Competition 3

Jeongyeon decides to celebrate her 60th birthday by visiting her daughter, who is married and living in Japan. Upon her arrival, Jeongyeon is greeted not by her daughter, but instead by her young granddaughter, Uekusa An.​ (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 21st, 2021 | Wednesday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 15:30 pm
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 12:30 pm

Blind Mouth by Leong Siew Hong – Malaysia, Taiwan | 2017 – 16 minutes
Section: Hub of Asia. Silent Voices

As 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have made wearing masks a necessity in regards to health, this anticipatory short film uses them for another radical purpose: to literally silence the poorest denizens of this dystopian, prison-like society··· including its children. If the people can’t even physically open their mouths, how could they possibly contest or challenge the authority?   (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 22nd, 2021 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinematheque | 19:00 pm
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 10:00 am

Digital Video Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro: The Real-World Guide to Set Up and Workflow by Hong Seongyoon – Korea | 2020 – 40 minutes – Section: Korean Shorts, Exceptional Perspectives

In order to remove a woman who appears in every scene of a film, a filmmaker hires an editor who is known for her ability to turn a bad film into a good one. As the filmmaker and editor negotiate the changes, the film’s genre shifts, and the film’s future becomes unpredictable. This film is an example of metacinema, a form that tells a story set in an editing room while also posing as a desktop film, with editing program screens serving as the camera lens. The film utilizes lively imagination and humor to depict the director’s desire to keep the final cut under any circumstances. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 23rd, 2021 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 18:30 pm
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | BNK Busan Bank Art Cinema | 16:00 pm
April 26th, 2021 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 10:00 pm

Elsa by Jen Nee Lim – Singapore | 2019 – 8 minutes
Section: Hub of Asia

Made within the director’s own household, this gender-themed documentary presents a clever twist on children’s physical appearance, on boy-or-girl ambiguity, and on letting them express themselves against type. It is as charming and relevant as it shows good and modern parenting, while contrasting the child’s innocent and playful imaginary against social norms and prejudice.​ (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 23rd, 2021 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 10:00 am
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinematheque | 13:00 pm

Eunseo by Park Joonho – Korea | 2019 – 29 minutes
Section: Korean Shorts, Ceasefire Chronicles

Eunseo, who defected from North Korea on her own 20 years ago, now lives in South Korea with her new family. She learns one day that her mother, whom she had assumed was still in North Korea, has fled to South Korea. She is overjoyed to see her mother again. With incredibly delicate acting, the film depicts how a North Korean defector, who has adjusted to South Korean culture, suffers from a crisis of identity as she reunites with her mother. The film also brings up the question of what we need to coexist in society, while casting a critical eye on South Korean society, where prejudice and discrimination against North Korean defectors prevails. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 24th, 2021 | Saturday |BNK Busan Bank Art Cinema | 14:00 pm 
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 15:30 pm
April 26th, 2021 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II I | 12:30 pm

Godpseed by Park Syeyoung – Korea | 2020 – 28 minutes
Section: Korean Competition 4

A package arrives by boat to the outskirts of a city. It passes from person to person, hand to hand. The package takes many forms. The deliverers are nobodies, strangers in the city. They walk. They stop. They do not talk. They pass the package on and disappear. It’s that simple until it’s not. A deliverer makes a mistake which creates a disruption to their movement, to the safety of the parcel and their lives. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 22nd, 2021 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 10:00 am
April 24th, 2021 | Saturday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 15:30 pm

God’s Daughter Dances by Byun Sungbin – Korea | 2020 – 25 minutes
Section: Korean Competition 5

Shinmi is a transgender woman who works as a dancer. One day, Shinmi is contacted by the Military Manpower Administration ordering her to undergo a military service examination to join the military. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 22nd, 2021 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 12:30 pm
April 24th, 2021 | Saturday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 18:30 pm

How to Get Lost in Your Own Room by Park Jaehyun – Korea | 2021 – 12 minutes
Section: Koran Shorts, Exceptional Perspectives

The film begins in a strange, foggy place. The viewer soon realizes they are watching a scene from a VR game. The film follows a woman in the game who is trying to find her way home with the audience inevitably joining her on her journey. The film’s unique format makes viewers feel as if they are playing a VR game with VR equipment and raises concerns about the increasingly blurred boundary between reality and virtual reality. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 23rd, 2021 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 18:30 pm
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, BNK Busan Bank Art Cinema | 16:00 pm
April 26th, 2021 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 10:00 am

Luzon by Chiang Wei Liang – Taiwan | 2017 – 13 minutes
Section: Hub of Asia, Animal Farm

Two fishermen on two boats, coming from two neighboring countries··· and a barrel of nuclear waste floating inconspicuously in the open sea. In this satirical allegory for how serious, life-threatening issues such as radioactive waste are being thrown around by states like diplomatic hot potatoes, the fishermen’s childish rivalry can only be matched by the sea’s unpredictability! (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 23rd, 2021 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 12:30 pm
April 26th, 2021 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinematheque | 13.00 pm

Men Without Women Looking for BananaFish, Girl Without Cat Telling Her Story  by Thim Kain Cheng – Malaysia, Japan | 2016 – 20 minutes – Section: Hub of Asia AFiS Special

Japanese, Thai, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin: this country-hopping, multilingual short film populated by lovelorn and erring characters alternates between different languages, places and moods in a series of interconnected quests and soliloquies on love, (re)discovery of self, and search for higher meanings. It also encapsulates the pan-Asian nature of this program as a whole, as well as the mandate of the Busan Asian Film School. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 23rd, 2021 |Friday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 10:00 am
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinematheque | 13:00 pm

Monster Never knows by Ming Yang – China | 2020 – 15 minutes
Section: International Competition 9

A father kidnapped his child in order to save him. (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 23rd, 2021 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 15:30 pm
April 25th, 2021 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 12:30 pm

Moonshine by Yoon Sangjun – Korea | 2020 – 19 minutes
Section: Korean Competition 2

After seven years together, Yeun decides to break up with her boyfriend, Doyun. In response, Doyun challenges her to a race. Doyun is desperate not to let go of her.​​ (BISFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
April 22nd, 2021 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema II | 18:30 pm
April 24th, 2021 | Saturday | Busan Cinema Center, Cinema I | 12:30 pm

To know more about this festival please go to: http://bisff.org

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