Magazine article Screen International

Jeonju Film Festival Reveals Line-Up

Magazine article Screen International

Jeonju Film Festival Reveals Line-Up

Article excerpt

Festival to open with Berlin Golden Bear winner.

Korea's second largest film festival, the 18th Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF), which focuses on independent and arthouse cinema, is set to open April 27 with Berlinale Golden Bear winner On Body And Soul, directed by Ildiko Enyedi.

The Hungarian director is also set to be on the International Competition jury and hold masterclasses at the fest.

JIFF today announced its line-up of 229 films from 58 countries with 50 world premieres and three international premieres, putting an emphasis on its slogan "Outlet for Cinematic Expression."

"We have always had the identity of a festival for independent and alternative films, but as you all know, the past year has revealed problems such as the [government] blacklist and various forms of censorship that have not been solved, which is why we have put forth this slogan," said festival director Lee Choong-jik.

Supporting Korean independents

Executive programmer Kim Young-jin noted a recent slump in Korean independent films saying, "For the past few years, government policies have not been friendly to independent cinema in gaze or in support."

He added that the trends in independent Korean films these days seems to be either to focus on "microscopic" personal expression or to try to be "miniature commercial films", but that these trends are probably part of a "transition" period.

Compared to fiction films, Korean documentaries seem to start with very personal issues that move on to examine society in a broader context, producing topical and controversial works.

This includes JIFF's world premiere of Korean documentary Blue Butterfly Effect, directed by Emmanuel Moonchil Park, dealing with the protests led by young mothers in Seongju county where the US anti-ballistic missile defense system, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), has been deployed.

To support Korean independent films, JIFF this year decided to make all three of its annual Jeonju Cinema Project (JCP) productions Korean instead of from the usual melange of countries. All three are world premieres as follows.

- The Poet And The Boy, previously known as Poet's Love when it won the Feature Film Pitching Grand Prize at last year's Jeonju Project Market (JPM), is directed by Kim Yang-hee starring director/actor Yang Ik-june (Breathless) as a 40-year-old, married poet in a creative rut who suddenly develops feelings for a teenage boy in the neighborhood.

- Project N, directed by JIFF regular Lee Chang-jae (On The Road, The Hospice), a documentary about how South Korean president Kim Dae-jung's administration attempts a political revolution by putting the presidential nomination to a plebiscite, bringing about a surprising result. The director says he ordered driving music reminiscent of Mad Max to keep up the pace of the film.

- The First Lap, directed by Kim Dae-hwan, whose first feature End Of Winter debuted at Busan and went on to Berlin. The film is about a young couple who has been living together for six years but are forced to take a road trip to visit their parents in two different cities after the possibility of a pregnancy becomes apparent.

Programmer Jang Byungwon says JIFF hopes to make the "flow from JPM to JCP a regular one."

Other previous JPM films in the selection this year include the documentary on Lee Jung Seob, The Painter's View, directed by Kim Hee-chul (husband of Kim Yang-hee), which won the Documentary Pitching Grand Prize last year, and 2012 JPM selection Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno, directed by Jung Yoonsuk, in the International Competition for first and second-time feature directors. …

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