A movie festival that will make you feel good

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A movie festival that will make you feel good

In terms of sheer glamour, the fledgling Seoul International Human Film Festival pales in comparison to the established heavyweights of the field, such as the Pusan International Film Festival, the Jeonju International Film Festival and the Chungmuro International Film Festival.

But the new film event stands out in another way: It’s the first movie festival in Korea that funnels all of its proceeds to charities.

“It is not a big, fancy film festival, but it’s a unique type of event, as everyone can be involved in good work just by attending,” Doko Young-jae, a veteran actor and the festival’s director, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Korea Association of Social Workers, with the support of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and organizations involved in social work and volunteer activities, are spearheading the event.

Admission to each film costs just 1,000 won (80 cents), but visitors are encouraged to contribute as much as they’d like, as the government will dole out the proceeds to organizations that help the poor and needy.

“It is a great opportunity, as anybody can be an ‘angel’ for someone while enjoying a good selection of movies,” Doko said. “It is my belief that SIHF will grow into the most meaningful and beautiful film festival in the world, let alone the country.”

The festival runs from Sept. 8 to 15, coinciding with Social Welfare Week, which starts on Sept. 7.

Roughly 30 films from 15 countries will be screened. The selections are categorized into three sections: “Love,” “Sharing” and “Hope.” Organizers say the movies are meant to get audiences to think about themselves, the people around them and society in general.

The opening film “My Mother Frank,” by director-writer Mark Lamprell, tells the story of a middle-aged woman who goes through a life-changing experience when she enrolls in a university with her son.

The festival will close with the 2005 Oscar-nominated film “Water,” directed and written by Deepa Metha. The movie, set in 1938, explores the lives of widows at an ashram in India.

The director and actors of the festival’s opening film will be in town during the event, and Korean film director Jang Jin is also expected to meet with audiences after the screening of his film “My Son.”

The opening ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 8 at Seoul Plaza in front of City Hall, while the closing ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 at Moonlight Plaza in Hangang Banpo Park. Most of the movies will be screened at Piccadilly Theater in Jongno, central Seoul, throughout the period, though films will be shown in district town halls in Gangnam on Sept. 9, Jongno on Sept. 10, Seocho on Sept. 11, Nowon on Sept. 12 and Gangdong on Sept. 14. The 1,000-won admission is required only for screenings at Piccadilly Theater. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the other venues. Movies in Korean and other languages will be provided with English subtitles. For more information, visit www.sihf.co.kr.

By Park Sun-young [spark0320@joongang.co.kr]
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