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Namkoong Sun’s 'Time to Be Strong' nabs 3 prizes at Jeonju film fest

By Kim Da-sol

Published : May 8, 2024 - 14:04

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“The Major Tones” (JIFF) “The Major Tones” (JIFF)

Director Ingrid Porkropek’s “The Major Tones,” director Namkoong Sun’s “Time to Be Strong” and director Gong Seon-jeong’s “Farewell” are the winners of the top prizes in the international film, Korean film and Korean short film categories, respectively, at this year's Jeonju International Film Festival.

A total of 15 best films in the international competition section, the Korean competition and the Korean short film competition section were honored at the 25th Jeonju IFF awards ceremony Tuesday. The annual festival of independent films runs through Friday in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province.

Set in Buenos Aires, Argentina, “The Major Tones” follows fourteen-year-old Ana who discovers that the metal plate implanted in her arm after a childhood accident is receiving a strange message in Morse code.

“Coolie Never Cries” by Vietnamese director Pham Ngoc Lan and “Junkyard Dog” by a first-time director from France Jean-Baptiste Durand received the best film award and the special jury award in the international competition section, respectively.

“Time to Be Strong” (JIFF) “Time to Be Strong” (JIFF)

Director Namkoong’s “Time to Be Strong” bagged a total of three trophies, including the grand prize, the best actor prize and the Watcha award – a special award given by the domestic streaming platform Watcha -- in the Korean competition section.

“Time to Be Strong” garnered attention for shedding light on the human rights of K-pop idol singers. The movie revolves around three retired K-pop idol singers on a trip to Jeju Island, a somewhat belated school trip they missed as students. After failed careers and missed milestones, they go on a journey of soul-searching and self-discovery during a crisp winter in Jeju.

“Farewell," the top prize winner in the Korean short films category, follows Yeong-ju, who lost a friend in the Itaewon crowd crush in Seoul in 2022. Unable to recover from the trauma, she takes a leave of absence and volunteers to give career counseling to middle school students.