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Fantastic Film Fests Argue Over Who's 'Real'

2005/04/13 | Permalink | Source

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By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Former staff members of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) said Wednesday that holding their own film festival at the same time as PiFan is a move not against PiFan, but against the fundamental problems it has.

The festival, titled "The Real Fantastic Film Festival", will take place at Hollywood Theater in Seoul on July 14-23 showing about 50 films, former director and programmers of PiFan said at a news conference held at the Press Center in Seoul.

"We just wanted to maintain and share the personality and achievement of PiFan with moviegoers through this new film festival", said Kim Hong-joon, who was dismissed last year from his position as director by the organizing committee of PiFan.

"We are not trying to make moviegoers boycott PiFan, but the new festival is a symbolic gesture to let people know about problems that the festival has and should resolve", Kim said.

The decision to establish their own festival came after the organizing committee of PiFan dismissed its festival director despite strong opposition from the event's programmers and other staff members.

Since then, they have argued that Kim's dismissal was groundless, and claimed the festival's independence and freedom from the city government as well as its professionalism should be guaranteed and respected.

Members of the film industry have also voiced their anger over the issue, saying they would boycott the Puchon festival this year. They included directors Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho and actors Choi Min-sik, Lee Young-ae and Sol Kyung-gu.

Now the issue has been entrusted to the Korean Association of Film Art and Industry, and the organization is trying to solve the problems and are discussing them with the committee members of PiFan, Kim said.

As only seven staff members are running the new festival without any support from the city government, the Real Fantastic Film Festival will be smaller in scope and size.

"The number of films we will screen is about 50, which is one-fourth of PiFan, and we expect to attract only one-twentieth of the budget of PiFan", said Kim Young-duk, former programmer of PiFan. "But we will maintain the essence of the character of the previous PiFan".

The organizers will run the new film festival with the financial aid of private companies and the support of volunteers.

"If we can't attract a minimal budget and support from moviegoers, though neither of which seems impossible now, we can't hold the festival. But if we can make it successful, we will think about a better festival in the future", Kim said.

PiFan was first held in 1997 and has been loved by fans of unusual and bizarre movies. The annual event is held in Puchon, Kyonggi Province, during July.

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