Film fest features summer spooks

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Film fest features summer spooks


Organizers of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival unveiled the lineup for this year’s event during a press conference Tuesday at Sejong Hotel in Myeong-dong, downtown Seoul. From left, festival programmers Park Jin and Kwon Yong-min, 2009 PiFan Lady actress Lee Young-jin, director Han Sang-jun and NAFF senior manager Nam Jong-suk. Provided by the organizer

Nothing says summer like murder, mayhem and madness.

Well, maybe not. Perhaps romance is better suited for this time of year.

But don’t tell that to the organizers of the 13th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, which features all the horror, thriller and sci-fi movies you can handle.

PiFan, as it’s called, is one of Korea’s three major film festivals. This year’s event runs from July 16-26 in Bucheon, Gyeonggi, located about 25 kilometers (16 miles) west of Seoul.


The event’s opening film “M.W.”

The lineup, revealed earlier this week, features 202 films from 41 countries including 38 world premieres and 26 international premieres.

The festival celebrates its 13th anniversary this year by focusing on none other than the “unlucky number” 13.

“There are several movies related to the theme of numbers as well as films that are the first of their kind,” said Kwon Yong-min, chief programmer of the event.

“Invitation Only,” for example, is the first Taiwanese slasher movie.

Additionally, the festival is branching out into new areas.

“Particularly in this year’s World Fantastic Cinema section, which is the core program of the festival, you’ll be able to enjoy independent Korean films and rising South Asian movies in the genre in addition to those by European auteurs,” Kwon said.

The opening film of this year’s PiFan is “M.W.” by Japanese director Hitoshi Iwamoto. The movie is a live-action adaptation of a dark revenge cartoon written by Osamu Tezuka, the so-called father of anime. “Merantau” - the first Indonesian martial arts film - will close the extravaganza, event organizers said.

Among the festival’s eight regular sections, the Forbidden Zone features hard-core genre films, while The Fanta Masters: Vampires of Their Own shows vampire movies from the likes of European auteur Roman Polanski and acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-wook.

Takashi Shimizu also will share behind-the-scenes stories about his world-famous horror movies as part of a special program this year called “Ju-On 10th Anniversary.”

Don’t let the festival’s general focus fool you, though. It’s not all about blood and guts, as there are plenty of fantasy and animation movies suited for children.

The Family Fanta and Ani Fanta sections, for example, include movies that can be enjoyed by a general audience.

PiFan also will have related promotions and events including an “Eat & Fun Screening” offering audiences creepy films along with snacks, a “Fantastic Concert” featuring outdoor concerts, and a “PiFanHolic’s Night” get-together that resembles a Halloween party.

PiFan’s industry program, called the Network of Asian Fantastic Films, will bring together moviemakers, investors and producers.

Tickets for the 13th PiFan opening and closing films are on sale at the festival’s official Web site ( Tickets for general screenings go on sale June 29.

By Park Sun-young []
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