By Kim Tae-jong
Veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki
believes that short films are an appealing and pure way for directors to express what they want to say without worrying too much about commercial success.
"Different from feature films, short films have their own attractive qualities, free from the burden of commercial success and all that", Ahn told The Korea Times last week. "And they talk straightforwardly in innovative and interesting ways".
To promote the virtues of short films, he is now working as director of the 3rd Asiana International Short Film Festival (AISFF), which takes place in Seoul from Nov. 2 to 7.
The festival will show 55 films from 26 countries in the competitive section of International Short Films and 33 internationally acclaimed works in the Special Program section.
A five-member preliminary jury selected the films showing at the competitive section from a total of 1053 submissions from 44 countries. The films will compete in eight categories for a combined prize money of 31 million won.
"I think short films are like the seeds of feature films. The future of the film industry will be bright if short films are healthy", said Ahn, who was a jury member of the first and second editions of the festival.
Since he made his debut as a child actor in 1957, he has played impressive characters _ from a beggar to a nation's president, serious and comic characters _ in many great feature films, but he says he would like to keep trying challenging roles and would also love to star in a short film.
Apart from the film festival, Ahn now spends his time preparing for two upcoming films _ a co-production between Japan, China and South Korea "Mozi's War Strategy" and a local film "Hanbando
(Korean Peninsula)" by Kang Woo-seok
, who he worked with on last year's mega hit film "Silmido
"Mozi's War Strategy", based on a Japanese comic book, tells the story of an ancient Chinese philosopher. Ahn plays a general, who confronts the character that Any Lau plays. And in "Korean Peninsula", Ahn will play the nation's president once again after the 2002 film "Piano Playing President".
But what makes him busy all year round is his roles in other fields including that of goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Children's Fund, vice-director of the Pusan International Film Festival, promotional envoy of Seoul and co-chairman of the Committee of the Korea Film Community.
His devotion to and affection for films as well as his social work explains why he is often called "Kukmin Paewu (national actor)", a title indicating that he is loved by most generations and represents the nation.
"Actually, what I love most is shooting scenes and thinking about my role and character. I feel as if my energy is split between these different responsibilities, but you know, you can't only do what you want to. I believe that with all these different responsibilities I can make others happy _ something I find meaningful". Ahn said.
AISFF opens with the Irish film "Fluent Dysphasia" by Daniel O'Hara and a local film "The Aggressives
" by Jeong Jae-eun
, a newly edited short trilogy version of feature film with the same name. It closes with the grand prize winning film.
After the six-day festival at Cine Core theater in Kwanghwamun, downtown Seoul, the winning films will be shown during Asiana Airline flights.