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BIFAN features digital, physical events amid COVID-19

A screening of “Pelican Blood” takes place at CGV’s Sopung branch in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. (BIFAN)
A screening of “Pelican Blood” takes place at CGV’s Sopung branch in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday. (BIFAN)

The Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival announced the winners of its 24th edition during a closing ceremony Thursday evening, bringing down the curtains on its eight-day journey amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Around 80 people attended the ceremony at CGV’s Sopung branch in the city just west of Seoul. The winners in the feature-length film category were announced that day.

In the Bucheon Choice section, devoted to international features, the coveted Best of Bucheon award went to “Pelican Blood,” directed by German filmmaker Katrin Gebbe. Rose Glass, director of the psychological horror flick “Saint Maud,” grabbed the best director award. Sci-fi mystery piece “Lapsis” by writer-director Noah Hutton nabbed the Jury’s Choice, while Chinese thriller “Sheep Without a Shepherd” from Sam Quah nabbed the audience award.

In the Korean Fantastic section, the top prize for a domestic feature -- titled the Techcross Environmental Services Best Korean Fantastic Film -- went to Kim Lok-kyoung’s drama “Festival.” The film also grabbed the best audience award, and lead Ha Jun was picked as best actor in this section. The best director award went to Chang Hyun-sang of “Zombie Crush in Heyri,” and the best actress award went to Park Ha-sun of “Go Back,” directed by Seo Eun-young.

“Pelican Blood” (BIFAN)
“Pelican Blood” (BIFAN)

For this special edition of the film fest -- conducted in a hybrid format that combined on-site and online screenings -- streaming platform Watcha selected “There Is an Alien Here” by director Choi Eun-jong as best feature film.

The Distribution Award for Korean features, which comes with prize money of 10 million won ($8,300), was given to “Super Nova” helmed by Baek Seung-kee, “Festival,” “Go Back” and “Zombie Crush in Heyri.”

The winners in the short film category were announced Monday. The best picture prizes for international shorts and Korean shorts, respectively, went to crime-noir, “The Third Person,” directed by Pouya Aminpouri, and “Digital Video Editing with Adobe Premiere Pro: The Real-World Guide to Set Up and Workflow” by director Hong Seong-yoon.

South Korea’s biggest fantasy genre film festival, BIFAN kicked off July 9. The festival was downsized and some of the screenings held online due to concerns about the virus spreading in public spaces.

By Choi Ji-won (