Gao Ming’s 'Damp Season' takes JIFF's international competition's grand prize

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Gao Ming’s 'Damp Season' takes JIFF's international competition's grand prize

"Damp Season," by director Gao Ming, snapped up the Grand Prize in the International Competition at this year's Jeonju International Film Festival. [JIFF]

"Damp Season," by director Gao Ming, snapped up the Grand Prize in the International Competition at this year's Jeonju International Film Festival. [JIFF]

Left, director Kim Mi-jo's "Gull," and director Shin Dong-min's "Mom's Song" both received Grand Prizes in the Korean Competition. [JIFF]

Left, director Kim Mi-jo's "Gull," and director Shin Dong-min's "Mom's Song" both received Grand Prizes in the Korean Competition. [JIFF]

 
Director Gao Ming’s “Damp Season” was honored with the Grand Prize for the International Competition at the 21st Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF), while “Gull” and “Mom’s Song” by directors Kim Mi-jo and Shin Dong-min, respectively, were jointly awarded the Grand Prize for the Korean Competition.  

 
An estimated 80 festival organizers, filmmakers and actors of the competition section gathered at CGV Jeonju Gosa branch in Jeonju, North Jeolla, for an award ceremony on Monday evening. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only local organizers, filmmakers and actors attended the ceremony.  
 
“While the world is still under the shadow of the pandemic, the bright light of film will give us warmth and strength,” director Gao Ming who received the news of his award prior to the ceremony said in a video message. “I hope theaters will reopen soon so that we’ll be able to enjoy movies on the big screen again.”
 
The film, through depicting relationships between four young men and women, portrays social and environmental problems the young Chinese generation faces. 
 
“We noticed many films had unique female-led narratives that broke the limits of female characters many actors played previously,” the jury members of the Korean Competition commented. “In addition, we want to encourage and send our support to the directors who decided to proceed with the unprecedented screenings at our festival [even] without any audience.”  
 
The two Grand Prize winners of the Korean Competition, “Gull” and “Mom’s Song,” are each centered upon the narrative of their female characters. 
 
In “Gull,” the film follows O-bok, a middle-aged woman who is a vendor at a street market and is sexually assaulted by Gi-taek, a fellow vendor and chairman of the redevelopment committee. The story focuses on her struggle to obtain her rights and protect her dignity. 
 
“Mom’s Song” is an autobiographical story where director Shin films his divorced mother’s daily life. Told from the son’s perspective, the film reflects on the meaning of family.  
 
In the Korean Competition, the Best Acting prize was given to actors Oh Jung-se and Yeom Hye-ran from “Dispatch: I Don’t Fire Myself” and “Black Light.” Coincidentally, the two actors portrayed a couple in the hit KBS drama series “When the Camellia Blooms” last year.  
 
“Homeless” by director Lim Seung-hyeun received the CGV Arthouse Award.  
 
BY LEE JAE-LIM   [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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