“We’ve been striving to present diverse programs,” said the festival’s chairman Jung Ji-young, who was appointed to the position last year. “This year especially, a large number of staff and programmers have made great efforts to present new types of events.”
|A press conference for the Bucheon International Film Festival takes place at the GLAD Hotel Yeouido Seoul on Thursday evening. (BIFAN)|
The opening film is “Room No. 7” by director Lee Yong-seung, about a DVD room owner played by Shin Ha-kyun, BIFAN said at a press conference Thursday in Seoul.
The closing film will be “Gintama,” a real-life film rendition of the animation of the same name by Japanese director Fukuda Yuichi, about aliens that appear during historical times.
Some 289 films from 58 countries will be screened. The number of Korean films has grown from 65 films last year to 109 this year.
BIFAN will also be screening director Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja,” which major Korean cinema chains CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox will not be carrying due to a conflict with the film’s backer Netflix.
“There is a lot of controversy, but it is separate from the audience,” said programmer Mo Eun-young. “I believe ‘Okja’ represents a new form of screening films. We are screening it because we want to give more viewers the opportunity to see the film in theaters.”
|Programmer Mo Eun-young speaks to the press at the GLAD Hotel Yeouido Seoul on Thursday evening. (BIFAN)|
BIFAN will run from July 13-23 at the Bucheon City Hall in Gyeonggi Province.
At the closing ceremony, awards will be given to the winners of the following categories: Bucheon Choice features, Korean Fantastic features and shorts, European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation Asian film award, NETPAC award, Save Energy Save Earth film award and the BIFAN children’s award.
A wide array of categories will be available to viewers this year in addition to the competition categories, including the World Fantastic Red, which includes action, horror, thriller genres; the World Fantastic Blue with science fiction, fantasy, comedy and drama films; the Family Zone for audiences of all ages; and the Forbidden Zone with shocking and extreme films.
Two special exhibitions will take place. One will spotlight 17 works by actress Jeon Do-yeon. The other will spotlight director Hong Ki-seon, who passed away last December.
Films that have been garnering international attention recently, such as director Jung Byun-gil’s “The Villainess,” will also be screened.
The festival, which sheds light on all films featuring the fantastic and the wondrous from quirky comedies to gory fantasies, was first launched in 1997.
The film fest, which celebrates its 21st anniversary, hopes to become more audience-friendly this year with film classes and screens featuring commercial to niche films.
By Rumy Doo