Most of the dust has settled from another incredible year of the Busan West festival, and it’s time to look back to see what people loved the most, so we can start looking forwards to next year’s event!

In its third year,
the Busan West Film Festival
transformed into a wholly different event than we have put on in the past.

Busan West Instagram capture

Awesome student mashup of the Busan West signage and website


Our collaboration with the
Busan Film Festival in Korea
, from which our festival’s name is taken, continues to be strong, and the diverse selection of films culled from Asia’s most prominent festival continued to impress our American student sensibilities.  Within a strongly cultural focus which united the program, the lineup managed to cover a varied mix of comedy, drama, classic ‘midnight’ spooky fare, and of course, especially martial arts / action.

Especially action, indeed!  For the first time, Busan West has a decidedly singular theme: to
highlight the uniquely Asian brand of martial arts films
which rose to popularity in across the oceans in the early 70’s, with the likes of

the Dragon
Five Fingers of Death
.  The cultural influence of this revolutionary style of filmmaking cannot be overstated, as it changed the texture of global cinema and influenced generations of filmmakers far beyond the borders of its cosmopolitan birthplace, Hong Kong.  These influences were characterized by the first Busan West critical theory panel, ”
Martial Arts Cinema: Transnational Perspectives and Global Consumption
,” and re-focused students on the discussion of film theory which underpins all of their activities as scholars and artists.  And students loved it!

Clearly, our students are bright and in love with cinema, and enjoy being challenged.

To see even more of the overwhelming volume of reactions students shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, head over to our Storify collection Busan West: In Your Words

Arnold at the Busan West Film Festival 213

Arnold on stage during the Q&A (photo by Chapman News)

Of course, the biggest news of the weekend came from the opening night screening, where director Kim Jee-woon, actor Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and screenwriter (and DCFMA alumnus) Andy Knauer stormed the stage to answer questions about nearly every aspect of the film’s creation and the industry in general.  Students were understandably thrilled to come face to face with the actor, and took to Twitter with their excitement.  (For someone who comes off as very serious in his work as Governor, he was really quite hilarious on stage.)

Busan West Tweets

Arnold was a hoot.

As an adjunct to the main festival, we held our
first Short Film competition
this year as well.  Shown twice over the course of the weekend, the competition screened over a dozen short films, collecting stories and filmmaking techniques from across the globe as the short filmmakers were
challenged to give us their best work
which highlighted some aspect of the lives, challenges, or cultures unique to Asian countries.  You can still find
all the short films
, including bios of the directors who entered the competition here, and don’t be afraid to start brainstorming ideas for your short film entries in next year’s contest!

Busan West Tweets

Student reaction to the short film competition

The winner, and runner-ups, of the 2013 short film competition were:

Check out some of the photo highlights of the event, including the red carpet ceremony outside Marion Knott Studios, the opening night party, and throughout the weekend:


Although I couldn’t be there the entire weekend, apparently some very dedicated students managed to see everything save the midnight creepy feature “Tale of Two Sisters” – so kudos to those who took advantage of the mostly free-for-students event.

We’re very interested in everyone’s feedback, especially what you attended, what you found interesting, and what you’d like to see in the future from Busan West.

Busan West Tweets

Thanks for your input, everyone!

Let us know in the comments section!