A film festival that's located right at your fingertips

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A film festival that's located right at your fingertips

Korea these days is home to all kinds of film festivals, including the large and influential Busan International Film Festival and the quirky Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (which runs through Saturday night). But no matter how much fun a festival may provide, it would take some effort to venture out in Korea's notorious monsoon season. With the constant, never-ending rain, maybe you'd rather just be a couch potato.

Never fear, couch potato-movie buffs, there's still a way you can get your cinematic fix. Just pull up to your computer in your most comfortable clothes, pop your own popcorn and open a bottle of Coke -- it's time for SeNef, Korea's online film festival.

The third Seoul Net Festival runs until Aug. 3, featuring some of the most original and weird independent films from Korea and around the world, and can be viewed by anyone with a home computer and a decent Internet connection.

With the motto of "No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination" by Edward Hopper, an America artist born more than a century ago, the festival emphasizes digital films and Web art with the catchphrase of "imagine, share and shift." Kim Young-jun, one of the organizers of the festival, told the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition about the catchphrase. He said that the purpose of SeNef is to share the digital films created with the unlimited imaginative power of today's young filmmakers and shift to the new world.

On the Web site for the online festival, www.senef.com (English available), you can easily access digital films, homemade animated films and Web artworks. There are three competitive categories -- Digital Express Online, Next Stream and Uniform/Multiform. Digital Express Online is the major part of the festival, with subcategories for fiction, animation, documentaries, experimental films and Web art.

Next Stream is for upcoming young directors from Korea only, with a focus on experimentalism and originality. The Uniform/Multiform section is for teenage filmmakers in Korea, whose use of digital technology reflects the democratization of media.

There are also several noncompetitive sections in which visitors can gain an overview of the technology of Web art and find links to selected Web sites and artist retrospectives.

After viewing the films, you can also be one of the jurors and vote on what you saw. The most popular film wins the SeNefian Ace award, with a prize of $500.

For those who prefer their films offline, there will be the SeNef Film Festival from Aug. 23 to 29. For more information, call the SeNef organization at 02-325-4095.

by Chun Su-jin

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