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1st Chungmuro Film Fest A Resounding Success

2007/11/06 | 79 views | Permalink | Source

The inaugural edition of the Chungmuro International Film Festival (CHIFFS), an event distinguished by its focus primarily on classic films and retrospective programs, closed November 2 after a highly successful 9 day run. Local turnout for the debut fest was excellent with an official tally of 51 700 admissions. Fall is Korea's busiest season for film festivals, with many suffering from limited budgets and poor turn-outs, so CHIFFS success is a testament to the talents of its director KIM Hong-joon, whose careful planning, programming and promotion have paid off.

CHIFFS screened 144 films from silent classics by Chaplin and Eisenstein to Hong Kong new wave pioneer Patrick Tam. The event also featured the cinematic traditions of Australia, inviting guests and journalists from the 'down under' continent to participate in seminars and talks. Screenings of classic Korean films were also a highlight, with director Jung Jin-woo presenting his under-appreciated gem, A Student Boarder (1966) to a sold-out theater. The festival closed with French mystery-thriller, The Second Wind (2007) by Alain Corneau, a remake of a Jean-Pierre Melville classic.

Director KIM announced important plans for next year's CHIFFS including a partnership with the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cannes Director's Fortnight section. The 2nd CHIFFS will present a special retrospective of the prestigious Cannes section. The fest will also shift to a warmer date next year, running in an Aug. 28 to Sept 5 timeslot.

The festival also revived awareness in Seoul's traditional film district, Chungmuro, known to many as Korea's Hollywood. After years of decline, the area is being rediscovered for its numerous movie theaters, charming streets and restaurants, and its historic value to Korean film culture.

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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