The 9th Jeonju International Film Festival will kick-off with Japanese director Kunitoshi Manda's "The Kiss" on May 1. The festival features a total of 195 films from 40 countries, in a record-sized lineup that underscores the filmfest's growing influence at home and abroad.
"Since the festival kicked off in 2000 with a vision for indie and artistic films, more and more local moviegoers are paying attention to Jeonju and the number of submissions are steadily growing", said Song Ha-jin, chief festival organizer, at a news conference held at a hotel in Seoul late Tuesday.
The opening film, "The Kiss", takes ordinary melodrama to a new horizon through restrained presentation of the emotions of love, and director Manda says he has attempted to make a calm-looking film with the swirls of intense emotions.
The festival will wrap up its schedule May 9 with "If You Were Me 4", featuring the shorts by five Korean directors with the focus placed on the directionless reality facing Korean youth in the postmodern era. The omnibus film project has been commissioned by the Human Rights Commission.
The closer, in fact, reflects the general trend of the festival, in which a growing number of films tackle the issue of marginalized people such as migrant workers, women and illegal workers in connection with human rights protection.
This year, JIFF has strengthened its competition section, changing the name of "Indie Vision", the previous competition section, to "International Competition", in a bid to attract talents from all over the world. A total of 250 films have been submitted, and the jury has screened out 12 finalists.
In addition, Africa is given stronger coverage as three prominent filmmakers from Africa will join the festival. JIFF has sponsored short film projects to promote digital film worldwide and has sent them to several prestigious international film festivals. Every year JIFF showcases three filmmakers, and this year Idrisa Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad), and Nacer Khemir (Tunisia) are named recipients of the fund.
The Jeonju festival said it will introduce more indie movies with greater possibilities and other interesting movies which can catch the attention of the audience.
To that end, it recently revealed the "Discovery: Films from 5 Nations in post-Soviet Central Asia". Over the last five years, the Jeonju festival has introduced non-western films and plans to showcase 12 films from the central Asian region this year.
JIFF has made efforts to cultivate its key selling point as an alternative venue for aspiring Korean and foreign filmmakers whose artistic tendencies are not in line with large-scale film festivals. For further information, visit its homepage at Open the link
By Yang Sung-jin