22nd Jeonju International Film Festival proves life goes on

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22nd Jeonju International Film Festival proves life goes on

From left, programmer Chun Jin-su, festival director Lee Joon-dong, Jeonju Mayor Kim Seung-su and programmers Moon Sung-kyung and Moon Seok take questions at the online press event for the upcoming 22nd Jeonju International Film Festival. [NEWS1]

From left, programmer Chun Jin-su, festival director Lee Joon-dong, Jeonju Mayor Kim Seung-su and programmers Moon Sung-kyung and Moon Seok take questions at the online press event for the upcoming 22nd Jeonju International Film Festival. [NEWS1]

 
With this year’s slogan “Film Goes On,” the 22nd Jeonju International Film Festival aims to do just that — as people continue to live their lives in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, so will the film festival.  
 
A total of 186 films from 48 countries have been invited to this year’s event which is planned to be held in the hybrid format of online and offline screenings from April 29 to May 8, opening its doors a little wider for audiences compared to last year’s event which was held behind closed doors.  
 
“Last year we didn’t have any data or reference to look up to or model ourselves on because we were the first international film festival to be held despite Covid-19,” festival director Lee Joon-dong said at an online press event Tuesday. “This year, however, we have a set of manuals, social distancing guidelines and levels and we can adjust our event accordingly. What we can confidently say is that although there’s been cases where [infected] patients visited theaters, there have been zero cases of people being infected within cinemas.”
 
There will also be panel discussions with foreign guests via Zoom which will take place in the theaters after the screenings, where the audience and the panels can interact with one another. Lee said that because the true meaning and identity of a film festival can be best realized when people actually visit theaters, he is planning to host various offline events where actors and directors can meet with audiences, all while strictly adhering to the government's guidelines. 
 
The festival will open with a Serbian film “Father” by director Srdan Golubovic, which centers on one family which breaks apart. 
 
The event will close with animated film “Josep” by French cartoonist Aurel who draws for French newpaper Le Monde. The cartoonist was inspired by the life of a Spanish illustrator Josep Bartolí.  
 
The film festival will continue to use the local streaming platform Wavve to provide online screenings as it did last year. A total of 141 films, which accounts for 75.8 percent of the overall invited films, will be made available via Wavve.  
 
“Seventy-nine international films will be available for online screening, which is more than twice as many compared to last year,” programmer Chun Jin-su said. The programmer added that filmmakers have become more lenient toward the idea of online screenings as the pandemic continues.  
 
What’s especially noticeable for this year’s film festival is its recognition of females in the film industry. 
 
Six out of 10 films in the Korean competition are from female filmmakers, while a special exhibition titled “Special Focus: I am Independent” takes a closer look at the works of seven independent female filmmakers including Cecilia Mangini, Forugh Farrokhzad, Barbara Loden and Han Ok-hi.  
 
In the World Cinema section, the festival prepared a special corner titled “Sports is for Women” which will screen four documentaries that highlight the lives of female sports players.  
 
“The works of female filmmakers account for about 41 percent of the total films,” programmer Moon Sung-kyung said. “The characteristics of this year’s films [by female filmmakers] mainly have to do with identity and relate to social issues such as abortion, sexuality and working women.”  
 
BY LEE JAE-LIM   [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]  
 
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