(ATTN: UPDATES with latest photo of closing ceremony)
BUSAN, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) wraps up its 10-day run Friday, leaving behind a vibrant festival mood for the event held at full scale for the first time in three years.
The 27th edition screened 242 films, including 88 world premieres, from 71 countries at seven theaters in the southern port city, which operated at full capacity without social distancing measures.
This year's festival registered 161,145 admissions, according to the organizers, sharply up from 18,311 in 2020 and 76,072 in 2021, when the events were scaled down amid the pandemic.
Asia's largest-film festival drew more attention this year as South Korea has cemented its status as a global cultural powerhouse, thanks in part to the explosive success of the Oscar-winning film "Parasite (2019)" and the Netflix series "Squid Game" (2021).
BIFF director Huh Moon-young expressed satisfaction with overall programs, while acknowledging some technical problems in the online ticket sales ahead of the opening.
"Despite some glitches in the online booking system, I think (BIFF) accomplished 100 percent of its goal in terms of quality during the festival period," Huh said in a press conference. "I think this year's festival matched the pre-pandemic edition in 2019, and returned in an even better form."
It brought together over 3,000 guests at home and abroad to provide audiences with rare chances to meet and talk with famed directors and actors.
Hong Kong star Tony Leung Chiu-wai stole the spotlight when he showed up at screening events of his movies selected by himself, talked about his acting career in the Open Talk session and attended a handprint ceremony.
At the On Screen section for over-the-top (OTT) content, major streaming platforms screened part of their upcoming Korean drama series ahead of their official releases.
The number of world premiered drama series tripled from last year to nine this year, reflecting the rising popularity of OTT content.
They include Netflix's new originals Roh Deok's "Glitch" and Jung Ji-woo's "Somebody," and local streaming platform Tving's "Yonder," directed by acclaimed filmmaker Lee Joon-ik.
Japanese horror master Takashi Miike's first Korean-language project "Connect" was also revealed ahead of its official release on Disney+ Korea in December.
This year "A Wild Roomer" by Korean director Lee Jeong-hong and "Shivamma" by Indian director Jaishankar Aryar won the New Currents Award in the main competition section for emerging talents.
In a new competitive section for established Asian filmmakers named after late BIFF program director Kim Ji-seok, BIFF's opening film "Scent of Wind" by Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh and "Alteration" by Uzbekistani director Yalkin Tuychiev were honored.
A closing ceremony, co-hosted by actors Kwon Yul and Han Sun-hwa, is scheduled in the evening. The festival officially ends with the screening of Japanese director Ishikawa Kei's "A Man" at 8 p.m.
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