Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Wrapping up the 16thJeonju International Film Festival
  • by SONG Soon-jin / 05.27.2015
  • The festival racks up a 76.2% seat occupancy rate with a total of 75,000 admissions
    The 16th Jeonju International Film Festival(JIFF), which opened on April 30th, ended its 10-day schedule on May 9th. The most noted accomplishment for this year is the festival’s success in expansion while maintaining a stable operation. According to official JIFF statistics, the total number of admissions were 75,351, a 10.3% rise from last year’s 68,477. Audience participation was high with a 76.2% theater seat occupancy rate, and 176 sold-out screenings overall. Especially, adding the multiplex chain ‘CGV JeonjuHyoja’ as a festival venue resulted in a steep rise in the number of theaters, screenings, and total seats. And for festival goers who missed out on screenings during previous years due to sold-out tickets, had a higher chance of watching film sof their choice. The outdoor screenings held each night throughout the festival at the 4,000-seat Jeonju Stadium also fared well with the audiencdes. With titles like the opening film Partisan and other films such as Trash and Rudderless, this section scored 62.7% in seat occupancy.
    Sections such as the Korean Cinemascape For Shorts(seat occupancy rate: 98.7%), Korean Cinemascape(92.5%), Jeonju Digital Project 2015(88.7%), Cinemafest(81.3%), and Special Focus – Fallen Myth: Innovation in Greek New Wave(75.9%) were also popular among the ticket buyers. Educational contents for film students such as various master classes and forums with guest speakers were offered as well. The guests included film director Martin Rejtman who came for a Special Focus, Jessica Hausner, director of Amour Fou who was on the JIFF International Competition jury, and film director Benjamin Naishtat who attended the Jeonju Cinema Project 2015 were few who came to enlighten new filmmakers.

    The Jeonju Project Market 2015 also enjoyed a positive energy, familiar of past editions. The 4-day event attracted heated attention with 160 film-related companies attending. A total of 11 projects including 6 features and 5 documentaries engaged in 80-some business meetings whereby PARK Jung-bum’s Monk won the Grand Prize in ‘Feature Film Pitching,’reconfirming PARK’s history with JIFF since his film Alive was showcased as part of the Jeonju Digital Project 2014. Not only that, MA Min-ji’s Bubble Family won the Grand Prize in ‘Documentary Pitching’. The 2013 ‘Documentary Pitching’ winner With or Without You was invited back to compete in the Korean Competition section, and its CGV Arthouse Award(Distribution Support Prize) was recognized as another accomplishment of the Jeonju Project Market.
    During the competition award ceremony held on May 6th, JU Anqu’s Poet on a Business Trip, AHN Gooc-jin’s Alice in Earnestland, and HAN In-mi’s Blossom each won the Grand Prize in International Competition, Korean Competition and Korean Competition for Shorts, respectively.
    JU Anqu’s Poet on a Business Trip pieces together 16 poems through the journey of a poet travelling through the Xinjiang Ulygur district. A long-term project that began shooting in 2002 and finally started editing in 2013, this film managed to be completed with the help of the Rotterdam International Film Festival’s Hubert Bals Fund. The main character who is also a poet in real life ad libs his role amongst the daily lives of the Xinjiang Ulygur people in documentary format, creating a new film language that is “simple, curious, artful and ultimately very moving” according to jury member Vangelis Mourikis. In the International Competition section, Ricardo Silva’s Navajazo took the the Best Picture Prize(Woosuk Award), and ValentaRinner’s Parabellum took the Special Jury Prize. EmineEmelBalci’s Until I Lose My Breath received the Special Mention Award. JIFF commented that the films in this year’s International Competition section “display a common theme of struggling for survival or existence within severe environment”.

    The Korean Competition jury consisting of film critic Tony Rayns, KIM Sung-ho, the director of How to Steal a Dog, and International Film Festival of Mar de Plata programmer, Marcel ALDERETE commented that the ten films in this section “spanned a very wide range: from screeching melodrama to art-house cool, from seemingly formless storytelling to tightly controlled mise-en-scene”. Grand Prize winner, Alice in Earnestland deals with the story of a woman, struggling to pay her husband’s hospital bills, suddenly granted the chance for a turnabout when a redevelopment project takes place. This film is outstanding in the way it bitingly satirizes and highlights the irony of Korean society. Actress LEE Jung-hyun who continued to present striking performances since her work on JANG Sun-woo’s A Petal(1996) attracted audience attention as the female lead. Tony Rayns reviewed the film as “Funny, shocking and sometimes cruel, this film has enough invention and energy to take your breath away”. A Special Mention Award went to RHEE Jin-woo’s Stay with Me while other award winners include PARK Hyuck-jee’s documentary With or Without You and KIM Hyeon-seung’s To be Sixteen, each receiving the Distribution Support Prize and Upcoming Project Prize both presented by CGV Arthouse.
    In the Korean Competition for shorts with 20 films competing, HAN In-mi’s Blossom unanimously won the Grand Prize. Dealing with the story of young girls pulling jobs to buy new sneakers, this film discloses the true face of coming of age and earned the comment of“capturing a breakdown moment of childhood innocence, throwing bold questions on the violent side of capitalism”. In addition, there were a number of works posing powerful messages on the state of Korean society in this section. Among them is SEOJUNG Sin-woo’s A Lonely Bird, which won a Special Jury Prize for its tale of an unemployed young slacker living off his younger sister, and LIM Cheol’s take on young boy’s life ridden with violence in A Crevice of Violence, which won the Best Director Prize.
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