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The 18th Jecheon International Film Festival Held a Face-to-Face Opening Ceremony in 3 Years

Aug 16, 2022
  • Writerby Hellen Park
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With the Slogan, ‘a Tempo,’ Meaning Recovery, 139 Films Invited, the Biggest Invitation Ever



The 18th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF), the largest music film festival in Asia, opened on August 11 and enjoyed the music festival for 6 days. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the festival reduced its scale for the past 2 years, but now, it returned in full force, reviving the specialized quality of the programs as the ‘music film festival.’ 

The opening ceremony was held on August 11 on the stage of Uirimji Reservoir in Jecheon, Chungcheongbuk-do Province in the rain, with lots of domestic and foreign filmmakers participating. Kim Changkyu, Mayor of Jecheon and Chairperson of the festival's organizing committee, declared the opening of the festival, saying, “Through the Jecheon International Music & Film Festival, I hope you can comfort and heal your tired hearts from COVID-19 and enjoy music films as much as you can.”

The film festival was held at Uirimji, Jecheon Airfield, and movie theaters downtown in Jecheon until the 16th, screening139 films from 39 countries, the largest number ever.


The Biggest Music Film Festival in Asia Granted Justin Hurwitz of LA LA LAND the Honorary Award 




At the opening ceremony held on August 11, Justin Hurwitz, the music director of the films WHIPLASH and LA LA LAND, was chosen as the winner of the ‘Jecheon Film Music Honorary Award 2022.’ Also, a plaque of merit was awarded to music director Bang Junseok, who passed away in March. In addition, at the opening ceremony, a festival trailer video directed by Kim Byungseo was screened, and the opening song of LA LA LAND, Another Day of Sun, and other songs were played as repertoires to celebrate the festival. 


The opening film of the festival, Sonata, which depicts a 14-year-old boy who overcomes hearing loss through music, was screened in the presence of Director Bartosz Blaschke and the leading actor Michal Sikorski, and the real model of the film, Musician Grzegorz Plonka, played Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14, also known as ‘Moonlight Sonata,’ on the stage before the screening, drawing special attention. 


Actors Moon Sungkeun, Kwon Haehyo, Pang Eunjin, Moon Geunyoung, Yoo Jitae, Jeong Somin, Lee Chungah, and Bang Minah were present at the red-carpet event ahead of the opening ceremony. JIMFF significantly increased its festival-like programs by normalizing the scope of it, which had been reduced and operated in the aftermath of the COVID-19, for the first time in 3 years. The representative music program ‘One Summer Night’ was held on the 15th, and ‘Film Concert,’ where the audience could watch movies along with the live performance of the orchestra, was held 3 times on the 12th, 13th, and 14th, drawing a great response from the audience who visited Jecheon. 


The First Step of the ‘Film Concert,’ Which Will Spread K-Movie Music to the World 



Also, festival-like programs were introduced such as ‘Film Concert’ where the audience could watch movies against the backdrop of the orchestra's live performance, and ‘Special Concert’ by Justin Hurwitz, the music director of the movie LA LA LAND. Especially, ‘Film Concert’ was launched for the first time this year, where you can enjoy live film music with the movies. Watching movies with an orchestra live is rather unfamiliar for Korean audiences, but it is a popular film music performance worldwide. The 18th JIMFF expressed its willingness to introduce Korean film music to the world through ‘Film Concert’ as the K-Movie Wave is emerging in the global film and entertainment industry. 


The repertoires of ‘Film Concert’ this year in Jecheon were the romance film, One Fine Spring Day, starring Yoo Jitae and Lee Youngae, Leafie, a Hen into the Wild, the representative Korean animation film, and Steven Spielberg's E.T in celebration of its 40th anniversary. Unfortunately, the film concert of E.T had to be canceled due to heavy rain during the performance, but the audience's response to the film concert at Jecheon Airfield was really hot. 


JIMFF said, “We present ‘Film Concert’ for the first time this year to promote K-Movie music to the world. We plan to premiere it at Jecheon first and export it to the world later.”  

To raise awareness of the film concert, JIMFF invited not only Korean musicians but also world-class film musicians, which became a hot topic. Especially, the ‘Special Concert’ by Justin Hurwitz, a film musician of WHIPLASH and LA LA LAND, attracted a great response from the audience.


Beyond Asia's Best, Leaping to the Global Music & Film Festival 



Cho Sungwoo, the festival director of JIMFF, expressed confidence in an interview with the media, saying, "2022 will be the year that JIMFF will leap into a global music & film festival in name and reality." The last Jecheon International Music & Film Festival was held around Cheongpung Lake, but this year, the main stage was moved to the Uirimji History Museum and Jecheon Airfield to increase contact with citizens. New programs that utilize the unique colors and expertise of the music film festival have also been added a lot. As befits an international film festival, lots of foreign filmmakers attended the festival, too. Mike Figgis, Director of Leaving Las Vegas, headed the judging committee for the international competition section following last year. The festival director Cho said, “The films such as Once, August Rush, Searching for Sugar Man, etc. became widely known as music films after being introduced at Jecheon. I feel proud and responsible that the genre of music films has been settled in Korea through JIMFF." 


The festival director Cho also pointed out, "There are many film music masters abroad such as Hans Zimmer and Ennio Morricone, but as Korean films focus on commercial blockbusters, Korean film music has also lost its personality and only its functionality is emphasized.” He also added, “We will contribute to the diversity of the film industry by doing our original mission of the festival by discovering and supporting various music films and new film musicians and running educational programs." The 18th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival, which will be reborn as a world-class music film festival, closed its finale on August 16.

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