Jeonju International Film Fest jury names winners

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Jeonju International Film Fest jury names winners


Scenes from “Land of Seonghye,” left and “The Heiresses,” middle. Right, winners and jury members pose together after the award ceremony that took place Thursday evening. [JEONJU INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL]

Director Jung Hyung-suk’s “The Land of Seonghye” won the Korean Competition’s Grand Prize at the 19th Jeonju International Film Festival while “The Heiresses” from Paraguayan director Marcelo Martinessi was awarded the International Competition’s Grand Prize.

The festival announced the winners on Thursday evening before the festival wraps today.

The second feature from Jung, “The Land of Seonghye” traces the tough life of 29-year-old Seong-hye who is unable to settle on a stable job. The financially difficult situation of both her parents as well as her incompetent boyfriend make the situation more challenging.

“Through a mature cinematic language, [‘The Land of Seonghye’] calmly depicts the main protagonist’s everyday struggles, and also hints at a happy ending,” said jury member Jung Ji-woo.

The debut feature from Martinessi, “The Heiresses” revolves around a middle-aged lesbian named Chela, who is forced to take control of her life when her partner Chiquita is imprisoned for fraud. Through the eyes of the heiress, who inherited enough money to not need to work until her 60s, the movie talks about social issues, including class and racial discrimination, which are prevalent in the director’s homeland. It took home a Silver bear at the latest Berlinale.

“[The movie] subtlely unravels the themes of those who are left behind, women and discrimination,” said a jury member Kwon Hae-hyo, and praised of the film’s “solid structure and challenging experimental spirit.”

The International Competition’s Best Picture Prize went to “Distant Constellation,” the first documentary from filmmaker Shevaun Mizrahi, set in a Turkish retirement home. The Special Jury Prize was handed to Malene Choi Jensen’s fictional-documentary hybrid feature “The Return,” on Korean adoptees struggling in search of their roots.

The CGV Arthouse Distribution Support prize in the Korean competition went to director Cho Sung-bin’s “Dreamer” while filmmaker Choi Chang-hwan’s “Back From the Beat” clinched the CGV Arthouse Upcoming Project Prize.

The awards will include at least a two-week run in CGV cinemas for “Dreamer” and will provide Choi funds for a future project.

In the Korean Competition for short films, filmmaker Kwon Ye-ji’s “Dong-a” was given the grand prize while Song Ye-jin was honored as best director for “Refund.” Director Cho Hyun-min’s “Apocalypse Runner” was awarded the special jury prize.

“Overall, I could sense a variety of perspectives, attempts and vigorous efforts from the filmmakers in the festival program,” said jury member Kim Dae-hwan.

“I hope directors feel more encouraged through JIFF,” Kim added.


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