Jeonju film fest shakes things up for 2014

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Jeonju film fest shakes things up for 2014

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Left to right: Programmer Jang Byung-won, festival director Ko Suk-man, organizing committee Chairman Kim Song-il and executive programmer Kim Young-jin from Jeonju International Film Festival at a press conference on Thursday. [NEWS1]

Just a month before Jeonju International Film Festival kicks off, the festival committee announced this year’s lineup, along with some changes to shake up the respected event that takes place in North Jeolla, which is best known for its hanok (traditional Korean homes).

At a press conference held at CGV Yeouido in western Seoul on Thursday, programmers Lee Sang-young, Jang Byung-won and Kim Young-jin, along with the chairman of the organizing committee Kim Song-il and festival director Ko Suk-man, talked about the 15th edition of the annual movie event dedicated to independent cinema.

Taking place from May 1 to 10, a total of 181 films (142 features and 39 shorts) from 46 countries will be screened.

The biggest change this year is to the Jeonju Digital Project. In the past, the program consisted of three short films, combined into one feature. But, starting this year, all three of the projects selected to be filmed will be feature length, affording the directors with more chances to screen their films independently outside of the festival.

“It is sad that the shorts are gone, but it doesn’t mean they’re gone forever,” said Kim Young-jin. “But the thing is the budget for the project was around 30 million won ($28,450). I found that the directors were going into debt while filming. I also found that the way it was packaged didn’t really pull in ticket sales.”

Kim said he felt a pang of sorrow for the directors who sat and watched the empty seats while their shorts played. “We wanted those directors to be able to screen their works in cinemas and on IPTV so we had to reinvent ourselves, not just as a platform for movies but as a source for movies like that,” said Kim.

“We’ve been working hard to create a world-class independent film event by unearthing creative works and adding diversity to the landscape of world cinema,” said Kim, adding that the changes would hopefully enable the festival.

“Our budget is poor compared to other Korean film fests, but I think the impact of the festival is up there,” said Ko. “Last year Korea reached the 200 million admissions mark, and JIFF will continue to do its bit to put the spotlight on overshadowed, smaller works.

The opening film for this year is “Mad Sad Bad,” a 3-D, three-part film made by directors Ryoo Seung-wan, Han Ji-seung and Kim Tae-yong.

For the International Competition section, directors Chung Ji-young, Lee Sang-il, Nicolas Pereda, film critic Paolo Bertolin and actress Ye Ji-won were picked.

The Korean Film Competition will be judged by Italian film critic Adriano Apra, local director Yoon Jong-chan and editor of Cinema Scope Mark Peranson.

Jury members for the Korean Short Film Competition are Roger Gonin from Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, director Min Yong-keun and Sakano Yuka, international relations head at Kawakita Memorial Film Institute.

Unlike preceding years where awards were given out on the last day, JIFF will shake things up this year by having the awards ceremony three days before closing night, ensuring the audience gets a chance to see the prize-winning works.

BY CARLA SUNWOO [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]


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