Kim Ji-seok, executive programmer of the Busan International Film Festival, died Thursday in Cannes. He was 57.

Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux released the following statement.

“Our dear Kim Ji-seok died yesterday after suffering a heart attack in Cannes. 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 organiser, 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.”

Kim had been one of three co-founders of the Busan festival in 1996 and has remained with the fest since. In addition to executive programmer, he stepped in as deputy director in 2016.