While staff are in the midst of putting the finishing touches on the event, take a minute to check out the coverage in the OC Register on our upcoming Busan West Film Festival beginning this Friday, March 8. It’s movies, masters and martial arts all weekend, so get your tickets today!

One of Asia’s top film festivals is serving as the inspiration once again for a similar gathering of cinephiles in Orange County.

The Busan West Film Festival makes its third appearance at Chapman University in Orange, Friday through Sunday. Students and professors from Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts have selected highlights from South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival, Asia’s largest film fest, and are screening 12 of them here.

Busan West has added some special features, such as an opening-night screening of the 2013 action film “The Last Stand,” a Q&A discussion with its star, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and an award presentation for the movie’s director, Kim Jee-woon. Chapman alumnus Andy Knauer, who wrote the screenplay for “The Last Stand,” will also attend.

“We want to explode the students’ cultural bubble, to get them out of their own culture,” said Bob Bassett, dean of the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. He helped found the Busan West film fest. “We had this idea – maybe we can create this partnership with the Busan Film Festival, since they are kind of the Cannes of Asia. They bring in films from all over Asia.”

Bassett, with the help of Chapman Assistant Professor Nam Lee, collaborated with Lee Yong-kwan, director the Busan International Film Festival, to bring some of Asia’s best and most popular films to the U.S. The movies will come from five countries, including China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

This year’s lineup includes “Beijing Flickers,” directed by China’s Yuan Zhang (11 a.m. Saturday); “Bleak Night,” directed by South Korean Yoon Sung-hyun (3 p.m. Saturday); “Enter the Dragon,” a U.S./Hong Kong production starring Bruce Lee and directed by American Robert Clouse (2 p.m. Sunday); and “The Good, the Bad, the Weird,” directed by South Korean Kim Jee-woon (8 p.m. Saturday).

“Dangerous Liaisons,” a joint China, Korea and Singapore production directed by South Korean Jin-ho Hur, will close the festival at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

New this year is a competition of short films, mostly by Asian-American filmmakers. Twenty short films are scheduled to screen during the festival, and awards will be presented at the festival’s closing night reception Sunday. The two winning films will be programmed into the 2013 Busan Film Festival in October.

“The concept of the whole festival is, we want to bring new Asian films here, films that would travel well to American audiences,” said Lee, a Pan-Asian film expert who teaches film studies at Chapman and also serves as programmer for Busan West. “This year in particular we’re focused on transnational connections between East and West.”

The festival will also feature a martial-arts panel Sunday that will include renowned martial-arts writer/director Haofeng Xu (“The Grandmaster,” “The Sword Identity”).

Previous Busan West fests have attracted some of Korea’s most accomplished filmmakers, including Bong Joon-ho (“The Host”), Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy” and “Stoker”) and Lee Doo-yong (“Arirang”).

This year, organizers have made a special effort to get members of the regional Korean community involved. They’ve invited the Korean Film Council in Los Angeles; the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles; and Mayor Steven Choi of Irvine.

Tickets are $10 per screening, free for Chapman students, $25 for the opening-night film and reception. For more information, call 714-997-6765 or visit busanwest.com.

Contact the writer: 714-796-6026 or rchang@ocregister.com


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