“Let’s Finish” will start independent film eventThe 32nd annual Seoul Independent Film Festival (SIFF) opens this week, once again introducing artistic and experimental films by directors from Korea and Asia. The aim has always been to spotlight both amateur and professional works that do not follow current filmmaking conventions, introducing new approaches to technique and plot.
The festival first started in 1975 under the title, Korean Youth Film Festival. The scale of the festival was limited at the time, with an emphasis on handing out honorary awards instead of screening films, and showcasing mostly student works. With the founding of the Korean Film Council in 1999, the festival started its own executive committee and broadened its horizons to include a more diverse range of films. As it has evolved throughout the years, it has changed its name many times; it has variously been called the Korean Youth Film Festival, the Golden Crown Short Film Festival, the Korean Independent Short Film Festival and finally, since 2002, its present title, the Seoul Independent Film Festival.
For nine days this year, from Dec. 7 to 15, the festival will feature a total of 76 films. It will kick off with “Let’s Finish,” a melodrama by Hwang Cheol-mean, about three young men taking a trip to commit suicide that produces unexpected results.
In addition to its usual categories of short, mid-length and feature films (47 in all), there will also be special segments, such as the Eric Khoo retrospective. This particular addition will feature four films by the Singaporean director, including his debut “Mee Pok Man” and “Be With Me,” which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival last year. He will be visiting Seoul tomorrow to talk about his films and the current Asian film market at CGV Yongsan. There will also be a seminar on “Understanding the Production and Sponsoring System of American Independent Documentaries” at 2 p.m. on Dec. 12 at Yongsan station and a section called the “Kim Jong-kwan Collection,” featuring five films (all released in 2006) by the young Korean director of last year’s “One Shining Day.”
The festival will end on Dec. 15 with an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. at CGV Yongsan.
by Cho Jae-eun