From November 20 to 22, Chapman University in Orange County, California will introduce to cinema what chefs have been successfully applying to food for decades: Asian fusion. The university’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts will play host to the first ever Pusan West Film Festival, the western incarnation of the famed Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) that has been held in the South Korean city of Busan since 1996. The 2009 festival, held in October, hosted nearly 200,000 attendees.
The Pusan West Festival will feature selections from the PIFF in an effort to expose American audiences to South Korea’s vibrant film culture, one of Asia’s largest. Many esteemed Korean moviemakers will be appearing, including Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), who will be accepting the inaugural Icon Award at the opening ceremony on November 20.
“Chapman Pusan West takes this global outreach initiative to another level and provides a new platform for Korean filmmakers and stars looking to break into the American market,” says Dodge College Dean Bob Basset. But while the medium might be film, the roots of the festival reach much deeper than pure entertainment—it is an attempt to bring two cultures together. He goes on to say that, “in our increasingly interdependent global society, the language of film offers one of the most direct ways in which peoples of different cultures can come to know one another, both in their differences and similarities.”