Kim Ji-seok, deputy director and the executive programmer at the Busan International Film Festival, died on Thursday after suffering a heart attack while attending the Cannes Film Festival. He was 57.
“In undying efforts, contribution and devotion in discovery of Asian films, Kim led Busan International Film Festival to be the center of Asian cinema and one of world-class film festivals,” the festival said in a statement. The organization also posted a note on its website saying, “We will miss him and his devotion for Asian films and bringing them together at the Festival.”
Kim was a founding member of the Busan festival, the 22nd edition of which will be held in October.
Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux said in a statement: “He was one of the great inspirations behind the Busan Festival where he always stood out. He was a great professional and a great program organizer, always curious about everything – he saw every film there was to see. He was a fierce defender of Korean cinema, having accompanied the emergence of the new generation in his country. With Christian Jeune, we loved him dearly and are heartbroken at his passing. The Festival de Cannes pays tribute to him and presents its deepest condolences to his family. This tragic news came the day of the presentation of a film by his great friend Bong Joon ho. Our community has lost one of its most precious members.”