The Korean Cinema award is given to professional fans of Korean cinema in the world, and those who show exceptional support for the Busan festival.
On recieving the award in front of 4,000 people at the BIFF opening in Busan, Jean-Marc Thérouanne said was not for him and his wife Martine alone.
"This award is also for Vesoul, for the Haute-Saone départment (county), for the Franche-Comté regin and for France."
The Thérouannes were treated to red carpet treatment, the kind of treatment they usually reserve for their Asian film director guests in February each year.
"It was a complete surprise," he said adding that, "the BIFF had only paid attention to the quality of their work."
"This only happens once in a lifetime," remarked the FICA Vesoul director.
It's really a story of Franco-Korean amity. Martine Thérouanne first visited South Korea in 1981. Since then, the two of them have travelled to the Festival every year since 2009, hunting out the latest South Korean film gems.
In February 2018, they screened, as international premiers, and in the competition for the Golden Rickshaw award, Mothers from Lee Dongeun and A Tiger In Winter by Lee Kwang-kuk. Han Kyung-mi's documentary Mandarin Ducks and Claire's Caméra by Hong Sang-soo completed FICA's Korean Focus line-up.
La Caméra de Claire already screened in Cannes 2017, has its' French preview screening.
FICA 2018 Top Prize Winning Director Zig Dulay
Over 24 years, as well as films from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India,Indonesia,Iran, Japan, Laos,Mongolia, Sri Lanka,Thailand and elsewhere, FICA Vesoul has shown about 120 films from Korea. Current or in retrospectives.
Busan also awards a prestigious trophy to an Asian Director of the Year for an individual or group who has . The 2018 recipient was actually the Japanese composer Ryuchi Sakamoto who also acted in one of his earlier successes, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, starring David Bowie in the lead role in 1983, directed by Nagisa Oshima. Out of at least 50 original scores, he is also known internationally for Bernado Bertolucci's, The Last Emperor, Under a Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, and Pedro Almodavar's High Heels, and most recently in 2015 The Revenant, directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritù and starring Leonardo di Caprio.
The ten-day Busan Festival is on until 13 October with its New Currents, exclusively Asian film programme and awards and a world film section.