This year’s JIFF aims to cater to the locals better

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This year’s JIFF aims to cater to the locals better

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Poster for the 2016 Jeonju International Film Festival

In this time of the year when spring flowers are in full bloom, the city of Jeonju in North Jeolla starts to bustle in preparation for the annual Jeonju International Film Festival.

The 17th edition of the film festival, which kicks off its 10-day run on April 28, will be more welcoming this year, especially to locals, according to organizers.

For past editions, JIFF, which is one of three major film events in Korea, has been seen as less appealing to the general public because of its distinct focus on independent cinema.

In order to erase such a stigma, this year’s JIFF will ramp up its Cinema Street in Gosa-dong, where there will be a new outdoor screening venue as well as a new branch of CGV to accommodate more moviegoers.

“We’ve had outdoor screenings before, but none of them lived up to my expectations because of their small scale,” said Kim Young-jin, an executive programmer of the festival, at a press event in Yeouido, western Seoul, on Wednesday.

“It is an event taking place in Jeonju, but we’ve been somewhat closed to local residents,” Kim added. “We are opening this venue in order for them to enjoy the event better.”

The festival is also reviving the closing ceremony and the screening of a closing film, which had been replaced by an awards ceremony.

The director’s cut of Ryoo Seung-wan’s “Die Bad” (2000), which was screened at the first edition of JIFF, has been selected as the closing film. The film has been newly edited and digitally remastered.

“The closing film will screen on the 10th day. We wanted the audience to feel more familiar and comfortable with the event by screening a film they already know,” said Lee Sang-yong, one of the programmers.

“Although Ryoo refused the offer at first, we persuaded him that it would mean a lot for rising filmmakers to be with Ryoo, who started as an indie filmmaker but grew to gain international fame.”

This year, JIFF has invited 211 films from 45 countries, of which 49 are having world premieres. With the new screening venues, the festival is equipped with some 500 time slots for films, which is the largest number so far.

The opening film will be Robert Burdreau’s jazz-inspired “Born to be Blue,” starring the familiar Ethan Hawke as the ingenious trumpet player Chet Baker from the 1960s.

Online ticketing for the festival will be available from April 14 on its official website, www.jiff.or.kr.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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