As a journalist covering entertainment in the last two or so decades, I’ve always wondered how it is to be like the movie and TV stars, writers, producers and directors I see in award shows, like the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys or Grammys. They always look camera ready, knowing perhaps that they will be like fishes in the fishbowl with eyes all focused on them. Yet, they all come prepared, that’s a fact.
Well, when with a couple of entertainment writers, I attended the opening ceremonies at the recent Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, I didn’t expect, I (or we) would walk down the red carpet to our assigned seats.
How did that happen, when we decided to just slip quietly to our assigned seats in the vast open-air auditorium of the Busan Film Center?
When our shuttle bus stopped, along with the other delegates, we were ushered towards where the VIPs were asked to wait in line. And I thought, it was because there were a lot of people, and the organizers merely wanted to make things right for each of the guests from across the globe.
We stood in waiting, and then an usher asked us to sign our names, someone checked it on the list in the computer and then we were led to a waiting area. Then I heard our names called out on the speakers systems and we were told to walk on the red carpet. “Oh, my God!” I heard Lolit Solis exclaimed.
It was a long walk, and we heard a polite applause from the crowd, after which we were led to our seats. It was raining hard and we could feel it inside. Some kind usherette handed us plastic raincoats that we put on se wouldn’t get wet.
We saw delegates from all over the world, and then Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairman Liza Diño finally arrived and joined us.
A few minutes later the opening ceremonies began with an interesting choreography that symbolized the dynamics of the film festival, now considered the region’s most vibrant. Hosting the ceremonies were Korean stars Yoona and Jad Dong Gun. It was also where Olivers Stone was introduced as head of the festival jury along with Bahman Ghobadi (Iran), Agnes Godard (France), Lav Diaz (Philippines), and Jang Sun Woo (Korea) as members.
The program was brief but substantial with a huge LED screen on the background and two other giant screens on both sides of the stage for everyone to see the proceedings up close.
The ceremony marked the official start of the festival. Then the delegates went back to their respective hotels and met up later at the reception in a hotel fronting the beach.
Seven Filipino movies were screened at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival, among which was Sonny Calvento’s Nabubulok.
We caught the screening of the film at a Lotte cinema across the Busan Film Center. Calvento’s movie focuses on a murder case. A woman is suspected to have been murdered, and the neighbors’ think her American husband did it,
The Busan website describes Calvento’s film as “part thriller and part social critique…[which] asks if the rot is in the house, the marriage, the town, or in Philippine society.”
I found the film wanting in so many things to make the narrative tight, but many “indie” patrons would insist that it is the new cinematic language adopted by millennial directors, which I, of course. don’t buy.
The following day, we visited, the Asian Film Market a block away from the Busan Film Center. A Philippine booth has been set up by Diño’s FDCP and was competing with other film groups from other countries.
Diño said that the first questions asked by people who show interest in Filipino films include what kind of sound do the films have (Dolby 5.1 or 7.1).
“It merely demonstrates how should we face the international market, we shouldn’t be content with monophonic sound. Audiences are looking for hi-tech entertainment and even small films should have decent sound engineering and design,” Diño said.
I don’t know how many films have been sold in the market, but I am sure those manning the booth now know what kind of films they should bring to next year’s Asian Film Market.
As for me, I think I will be ready for another red carpet walk in next year’s film festival, should I get invited again.
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