[ENTERTAINMENT]Online Film Festival Just a Click AwayNo matter how much you love movies and film festivals, reality does not always allow you to go to Venice, Cannes, Toronto or Berlin. For your convenience, though, there is another international film festival taking place online, called the IndieKino International Film Festival.
Since this festival specializes in the most independent of independent films, it's unlikely that you will see Nicole Kidman running away from journalists and paparazzi. Indeed, because the whole show takes place on your computer screen, you can dispense with publicists, traveling and reporters altogether. All you have to do is sit back, relax, turn on your computer and connect to the Web site www.iiff.org (English available).
There, you can become a member of the jury for the 160 films from 30 countries. Fiction, documentaries, animated films － they are all there. Best of all, you can watch the films for free. "This festival takes pride in being the biggest online international film festival," said An Ho-sung, a public relations representative for the festival.
Managed by the local Internet company Unitel and the independent movie agency IndieKino, the festival started Aug. 27 and is scheduled to end Oct. 7. "To date, more than 646,000 users around the world and approximately 200,000 local users have visited the Web site, watched the films and voted," Mr. An said.
The festival made its debut last year, with 123 films from 22 countries, a showcase for off-beat films from around the world. This year's festival is even more so, with many films from nations such as Bhutan, Israel, Chile and Argentina, to which Korean movie fans usually would not have an access to.
Competing films fall into three groups － 22 for drama, 13 experimental and animated films and five documentaries. Films not in competition have four groups － Indie Wing Category with three feature films running more than 45 minutes, On the Bubble Category with 26 short films, Heaven Category with 47 documentary and animated films and On the Way Category with 43 digital films.
The highlight of the festival comes with the presentation of the awards. Organizers of this online festival named their awards after the ancient Greek myths. The award for the best film is the Daedalus, named for the builder of the Cretan labyrinth, the best director is the Athena, goddess of wisdom, best cinematography is the Eos, goddess of the dawn and the award for best experimental film is the Argus, the 100-eyed monster.
The winner of the Daedalus award receives $5,000, and the other award winners each receive $2,000. Another two $2,000 awards will go to winners of the Netizen Award and Film Festival Award, provided by the French online film agency filmfestivals.com.
The award announcements will be made three days before the festival ends, and results are 40 percent based on people's votes, 40 percent from the IndieKino jury and 20 percent from the festival organizers.
The festival also features a Korean Films Showcase where you can find a brief summary of plots, the casts and the crews of 16 films, including "Chingu" ("Friend") and "Musa" ("The Warrior").
According to Mr. An, the festival is also planning to hold an offline screening schedule sometime later this year, after the festival ends.
by Chun Su-jin