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Women’s film fest to show ‘mutual gaze’ of women

The 22nd Seoul International Women’s Film Festival poster (SIWFF)
The 22nd Seoul International Women’s Film Festival poster (SIWFF)

The 22nd Seoul International Women’s Film Festival will take place Sept. 10-16 under the slogan “Mutual Gaze.”

With the novel coronavirus spreading in the capital area at an alarming rate, organizers hosted an online press conference about the upcoming annual event on Tuesday.

Stating the main themes of this year’s festival as “bold challenge” and “passionate engagement,” festival director Park Kwang-soo said, “We took the opportunity to think about the fundamental significance of the SIWFF and how we must connect with the audience, and concluded that the focus should be put on supporting female cineastes and making sure more films about women are introduced to the public.”

Opening the festival will be 50 short clips about one minute in duration from 50 different teams, all produced under the topic of “mutual gaze in the age of COVID-19.”

The 102 films from 33 countries that are participating in this year’s festival will all get theater screenings with some films made available through streaming as well, as the festival will be held in a hybrid format.

The main competition section “Discovery” is open to first or second feature films from rising female directors. A total of 12 films with bold cinematic visions that break the rules of genre will vie for best feature, best director and special jury awards.

More than 590 films by filmmakers of various Asian backgrounds were submitted for the Asian Shorts competition, and 19 have been selected to compete for prizes.

Twenty films will be screened as part of “New Currents,” one of the festival’s main non-competitive programs, offering an opportunity to examine the conditions that define and limit the lives of women in global society. The “Polemics” section, which selects the most pressing women’s issue of the year, will host a discussion on Japanese military’s wartime sex slavery and screen five films related to the topic.

Other programs include “Linkage: Director X Critic,” “Queer Rainbow” and “Barrier Free Screening,” which highlights diverse issues concerning gender and minorities.

Screenings will take place at the Megabox World Cup Stadium branch in Sangam and independent theater Indie Space, while streaming will be offered via Wavve.

By Choi Ji-won (