The Korea Herald


Asia’s largest genre film fest kicks off

By 줄리 잭슨 (Julie Jackson)

Published : July 22, 2016 - 17:21

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Crowds flocked to the grass lawn in front of Bucheon City Hall on Thursday night for the opening of Asia’s biggest genre film event, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival.
The festival kicked off with fireworks, a modern dance performance, and an outdoor screening of “Captain Fantastic,” this year’s opening film directed by American actor-turned-director Matt Ross.

“This is a very personal film, about parenthood and parenting, choices we make as people and how they impact those around us,” said Ross through a video message during the ceremony. The film, starring Viggo Mortensen, spotlights a family of eight living isolated from society in the wilderness of Washington state. 

At the opening ceremony, prominent members of BiFan’s organizing committee expressed hopes for a new beginning for the festival, which has had its fair share of bumps and hurdles in the past.

Executive director Choi Yong-bae, who took office in January this year, hoped that the festival “will be one that remembers cinema, made by filmmakers and a cultural festival for the citizens of Bucheon.”

Some also addressed the diversity in BiFan’s programming this year, alluding to the recent situation with the Busan International Film Festival, which was mired in a dispute with the local government after screening a controversial documentary.

“When I see this great crowd in front of us, it proves again Korea is a country of cinema lovers,” said Jeune. “It’s why the government and authorities should support them and let them do their job.”

Attending the event were actors Ahn Sung-ki, Jang Mi-hee, Jung Jin-young; directors Im Kwon-taek, Lee Joon-ik and Kim Hong-joon; chairman Kim Dong-ho and executive director and actress Kang Soo-yeon of BIFF. Cannes Film Festival’s deputy executive director Cristian Jeune also delivered a message of congratulations.

BiFan, celebrating its 20th edition this year, is set to screen a record 320 films from 49 countries. The festival is being held until July 31 in Bucheon, on the outskirts of Seoul.

By Rumy Doo (