Theme special

City of Film, designated by UNESCO Busan joins UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network

Large and small festivals are held throughout the year. From the Busan International Advertising Festival to the Busan Contents Market to G-Star Global Game Exhibition, to Busan One Asia Festival that launched this year, there is another title that has come to represent Busan, the city of film, where festivals packed with a variety of movie and video content are situated. "UNESCO Creative Cities, Busan!"

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UNESCO designates the Creative Cities Network to recognize cities around the world that possess reputations for being centers of excellence under seven categories in Film, Craft and Folk Art, Design, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. It aims to foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy. In December 2014, Busan was the first city in Asia to receive the designation. Busan has planned for the film and video industry to be the city’s strategic industry and has promoted various initiatives including an expansion of related infrastructure, the establishment of a one-stop film production system to foster planning to production and post-distribution, the relocation of public sector institutions in the film and video industry and the development of a 100 billion won fund with the Wanda Group in China for the Korean-Chinese film industry. In particular, the Busan Asian Film Academy, inaugurated this year, and Oksang Dalbit Theater on Sanbok Road can be regarded as representative projects that reflect the realization of the ideals of UNESCO.

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The Busan Asian Film Academy, established on October 4th of this year, is an institution for fostering international film industry professionals who can lead the global film industry. With distinguished film industry personnel representing the Korea and the Asian film industry as professors (lecturers), the academy recruits top talent from across Asia and conducts practical training related to the international film production business initiatives that are centered around production. Dedicated professors lead the planning and development of co-production projects and train how to make pitches through individual mentoring sessions with students, and offer practical opportunities from an international scope so that planning can actually be connected to production and investment. Since 2015, Oksang Dalbit Theater on Sanbok Road has been developed as a policy of Busan that was spawned from the ideas of citizens. Popular short and feature films, including films created in Busan, are screened in multiple settings, like an observatory and music salons, that have been created through urban regeneration projects of the old downtown area, which had relatively poor urban infrastructure and cultural facilities.

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The new attractions become realized when different elements, such as ‘Sanbok Road, moonlight and outdoors’ are integrated with 'film’, and are gaining positive responses from locals, as well as tourists. Busan will closely cooperate with the Creative Cities Network at home and abroad. Moreover, the city seeks to inspire citizens’ pride in their hometown by developing and promoting various projects that can strengthen the film and video industry and overall competitiveness of the region.