Some people expressed disappointment over theater movies receiving less attention due to the OTT craze
At the press conference before the 28th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)began, an executive complained of difficulties while preparing for the festival. In fact, this year’s BIFF was planned to reduce in size due to various issues, such as internal conflicts. controversies, lack of time and budget, etc.
Amid the confusion, BIFF turned its focus on OTT. This resulted in regrets and criticism, such as “The Busan International Film Festival has become the Busan International OTT Festival this year”, pointing out that the meaning of the film festival faded due to the excessive participation of OTT.
Among the works screened in the “Korean Film Today: Special Premiere” section, “Ballerina”, “Believer 2” and “Hwaran” as unreleased Korean commercial movies. Except for “Hwaran”, the remaining two films were OTT works. In addition, 4 of the 5 OTT movies prepared for “On Screen” had open talks with viewers.
There have been various comments saying the meaning of the Asian Filmmaker Award (Chow Yun-fat) and Lifetime Achievement Award (Kim Jong-hak) had been overshadowed by the Global OTT Awards, which was organized for the first time this year. In particular, the popular series “Moving” even won 6 trophies. As such, some people also believed that the spotlights on Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee Jung-ha, Han Hyo-joo, Jeon Jong-seo, etc. at BIFF were greatly influenced by their OTT works.
On the other hand, theater moves fell behind OTT productions in terms of popularity. Even with the veteran actor Song Kang-ho, Hong Kong legendary actor Chow Yun-fat, and Song Joong-ki, who actively communicated with the audience and even danced to NewJeans’s song, these movies could not achieve as much attention as expected.
It is true that OTT is the trend of modern times and the film industry is also accepting the reality that the boundary between movies and series is fading as many movie actors and directors are also entering the OTT industry.
However, it is regrettable that BIFF failed to present a way for both movies and OTT to grow and shine together. A filmmaker confessed, “Looking around the venue, I saw the phrase ‘THEATER IS NOT DEAD’ on the goods sales booth and I thought it was so ironic because the ads for ‘Vigilante’ was on the wall right in front of it”, adding “The festival this year has clearly shown the harsh reality of the film industry”.
One of the important roles of a film festival is to introduce good films and connect them with the audiences. Due to the situation in the 2023 BIFF, it is worth considering whether they are doing their role properly.