Dueling festivals bicker over oozeYou could call it a war between the pro-ooze and anti-ooze forces.
The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, or the PiFAN, has been punctured by a dispute between its former chairman and the mayor of Bucheon, who wants the film festival ― which features science fiction, fantasy and some horror films ― to be more family oriented.
“The previous festivals had been showing too many films about ooze coming out and heads being chopped off,” said Chung Cho-sin, the lead programmer of the PiFAN. “I want the fantasy festival to be an event that parents feel comfortable bringing their kids along.”
So in December, Bucheon Mayor Hong Geon-pyo fired Kim Hong-joon, a well-known filmmaker who managed to attract some of the brightest directors and stars of the genre, from the PiFAN organizing committee. Mr. Kim was also a former chairman of the PiFAN, a senior member of the Korea Film Council and a branch head of the Korea National University of Arts.
But Mr. Kim didn’t go away silently. He created his own festival, called the Real Fantastic Film Festival, or the ReaFAN.
And last Tuesday afternoon, supporters of the festivals ―?both of which will run from July 14 to 23 ― held dueling press conferences just blocks from one another in Seoul.
But the organizers of the PiFAN did not have much time to talk about what films they were going to show this year. Instead, they answered pressing questions from reporters on why most film directors and actors are planning on attending ReaFAN.
Mr. Chung wearily shrugged as he fielded queries.
“Well, if you want to see movie stars and film directors, you go to that anti-PiFAN event,” he said. “But if you want to watch good films instead, come to us.”
Only a few hours earlier, another media conference was held at the Press Center in Seoul for the ReaFAN.
“The ReaFAN will be held in Seoul,” said Mr. Kim, chairman of the festival. “And we are going to make sure that the ReaFAN gets known as the true heir of Korea’s fantasy film festivals.”
In a Seoul paper, Mayor Hong detailed Mr. Kim’s estrangement from the PiFAN. He alleged Mr. Kim held too many posts to focus only on the city’s film festival. So the city replaced him, hoping that they could replace him with someone who could bring more people to the festival.
But the news caused an uproar in film circles. Many demanded that the city rehire Mr. Kim and make provisions to ensure the festival remained independent.
“Despite great financial assistance from the city, the PiFAN had been ignored by the people,” Mr. Hong told a Seoul paper. PiFAN receives 2.3 billion won ($2.3 million) annually from the city.
“Out of 860,000 people living in Bucheon, only 3,800 residents dropped by a year,” Mr. Chung said during the PiFAN press conference. “That proves what a failure the city’s event has been.”
Mr. Chung added that this year’s fantasy film festival is designed as an event for the entire family.
The ninth PiFAN will show 172 films from 32 countries. The theme this year is “Love, fantasy and adventure.”
The ReaFAN, on the other hand, said it is pursuing the “real legitimacy of the Fantastic Film Festival,” by filling it with sci-fi pictures from Eastern Europe. It invited about 60 films from Korea and across the world.
Internet reservations for both festivals will be taken starting July 1. For more on PiFAN, visit; www.pifan.com. For ReaFAN, visit: realfanta.org.
by Lee Min-a