Oliver Stone has been announced as the head of the jury at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival. The Academy Award-winning director will lead four jurors for the New Currents, a competitive section in Asia’s largest film festival, that introduces the works of up-and-coming Asian directors.
Joining Stone on the jury will be world-famous director Bahman Ghobadi (No One Knows About Persian Cats) from Iran, renowned French cinematographer Agnès Godard (Bright Sunshine In), a multi-artist and an ideological father of the New Philippine Cinema Lav Diaz (The Woman Who Left), and Jang Sun-woo (A Petal, Lies), a leader of New Wave in Korean films.
Stone has become an outspoken voice in Hollywood specifically when it comes to American culture, politics, and military. His most recent film Snowden followed the controversy and life surrounding American whistleblower Edward Snowden and his 2008 film W. was a satirical view on former U.S. President George W. Bush. American capitalism was the focus of the iconic 1987 film Wall Street while his other films like Born on the Fourth of July and Platoon examined modern history with critical insight and significant cultural impact. He also is no stranger to South Korea, having participated in local anti-militarism protests in 2013.
The Busan International Film Festival has been having its fair share of trouble in the past year. In October 2016, BIFF came under fire when organizers were ordered by Busan government chiefs to cancel a screening of The Truth Shall Not Sink, a documentary which criticized the government’s failed rescue measures at the 2014 Seoul ferry disaster. This resulted in local filmmakers boycotting the event. Former fest head Lee Yong-Kwan was a big supporter of screening the film at the fest, which then resulted in his ousting from the event. Soon after, BIFF founder Kim Dong-Ho and fest director Kang Soo-Youn announced that they would also be leaving after this year’s edition.
As a prominent and globally influential voice of historical events and political issues, BIFF hopes Stone’s attendance as chief juror will draw more attention to the winners of New Currents. The festival is set to run October 12-21.