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7th Jeonju Int'l Film Fest Ends on a High Note

2006/05/20 | Permalink | Source

By Nigel DSa
Assistant Editor / Staff Writer

The 7th Jeonju International Film Festival wrapped Friday May 5th after a nine-day run. Unlike the frenetically paced and glamour-intensive Pusan International Film Festival, JIFF offered movie-goers a leisurely and audience-friendly atmosphere along with innovative programming from the world of independent cinema.

JIFF had a certain "left-wing" flair to it, priding itself on community, social conscience, and progressive, experimental visions. For the organizers of JIFF, their efforts and integrity paid off, with over 10, 000 more tickets sold this time round than in the previous year.

As a "festival for audiences" JIFF 2006 brought even more "Guest Visits" to the screenings so that the viewing public could have more opportunities to question actors and directors. In this regard, the "Cine Talk" section, launched this year, had tremendous appeal, allowing audiences to participate in a one-hour in-depth dialogue with selected guests while a film-expert presided over the discussion. Korean actresses Uhm Jung-hwa of "Princess Aurora" and Kim Jung-eun of "Close to You" took part in these talks.

JIFF held two competition sections presided over by international juries. The first was the Indie Vision section with the Woosuk award this year going to Canadian feature Drifting States by Denis Côté. The film combines fiction and non-fiction in an original way, bringing together the fictional tale of a man struggling to come to terms with the mercy killing of his own mother and the very real and remote French Canadian village he travels to.

In the Digital Spectrum section, the award went to Thai feature Stories from the North by Uruphong Raksasad. The film presents nine stories on the lives of locals and their landscapes in a village in northern Thailand.

The section Korean Cinema on the Move presented an Audience Critics Award to "Shocking Family" by documentary director Kyung Soon. Theater chain CGV bestowed a Distribution Support Award to Independent feature, "Between" by Lee Chang-jae. The most popular film selected by audiences was Bollywood film Veer-Zaara by Yash CHOPRA.

The festival this year set up its Guest Center and Outdoor screenings in a big plaza central to many of the theater venues. The plaza, called FESCADE allowed for a one-stop experience with various events, concerts and free screenings held in the area. JIFF in its 7th year has clearly defined itself as an alternative and people-orientated festival. The results indicate that it is a recipe that works.

Mr. Nigel DSa, who teaches English at Hanyang University in Seoul, serves as assistant editor and staff writer for The Seoul Times. Mr. DSa has been contributing many articles to a number of publications. Mr. DSa specializes in film and other cultural affairs.

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