[ENTERTAINMENT]Once Again, the Festival Fails to ImpressThe 38th Daejong Film Festival ended on Wednesday with an awards ceremony at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.
The highlights of the ceremony were the awards for Best Actor, to Song Gang-ho, and Best Actress, which went to Koh So-young. Song starred as a North Korean soldier in "Joint Security Area" and Koh portrayed an unlucky mother whose baby dies a day after its birth in "Haru" ("A Day").
The award for the Best Film was no surprise; it went to "JSA," which was directed by Park Chan-wook. The Best Director award, on the other hand, unexpectedly went to Han Ji-seung of "A Day."
Truly, it was the day for "A Day," which swept the Best Director, Best Actress and Special Jury's Award. However, it is questionable whether movie fans will sympathize with the unexpected success of the tear-jerker.
There was another nasty surprise in the festival; nobody, except for the jury, could understand why the film that is enjoying the most popularity right now, "Chin-gu" ("Friends") did not get a single accolade. Far from movie fans' expectations, it was not even nominated for the Best Film award and for the Best Director award.
Lee Byeong-heon, from "JSA" and "Bungee Jumping" walked away with the award for Popular Actor, which was determined through a public poll.
Here, another problem revealed itself; Shim Eun-ha, the winner of the Popular Actress award, failed to appear at the ceremony.
In fact, six out of the 19 awardees did not show up at the proceedings, which damaged the quality of the festival.
Despite excuses from the embarrassed master of ceremonies that the missing winners were busy doing their jobs elsewhere for the development of the Korean movie industry, the absences were glaring and marred the status of the festival.
Tae Hyeon-sil, a veteran actress who was awarding the honors, remarked with regret, "Seeing that at the Academy Awards, everyone related to movie industry, including nominees, always shows up, I hope that someday the Daejong Film Festival will have at least similar status."
The progress of the ceremony, which was aired live, was also riddled with problems. One of the jury members had to shout out the title of a winning film to the award givers because the envelope carrying the name of the winner had disappeared.
Further, the winner of the Best Documentary, "Pansy-wa Damjaeng-i" ("Pansy and Ivy") was wrongly announced as "Pyeonji-wa Dalpaeng-i," ("Letter and Snail"). Luckily, the winner was not present to pick up the award.
Although many famous faces from the film industry and the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Kim Han-gill, showed up for the event, their presence was not enough to cover up the shortcomings of the event.
Presented by the Motion Picture Association of Korea and the Korean Association of Film Art and Industry, this year's festival tried but failed to bury the two groups' past enmity.
Despite the new additions to reinvigorate the program, such as public polls for popular actor and actress, the 38th Daejong Film Festival left much to be desired.
by Chun Su-jin