The Jeonju International Film Festival wrapped up after a 10-day run on Saturday without a proper closing ceremony.
The decision to downsize the closing ceremony was announced on Thursday night after the event organizer found out that one member of the audience and a festival organizing staffer tested positive for the coronavirus.
Except for those two cases, there has not been any other reports of a further spread of the infection, the festival organizer said.
Instead of the planned closing ceremony, the director of the 22nd Jeonju International Film Festival Lee Joon-dong and co-programmer Moon Seok both gave a brief speech before showing the closing film on Saturday.
The festival’s closing film was animation “Josep,” directed by Aurel. The movie tells a fictional story based on the life of Spanish illustrator Josep Bartoli (1910-1995).
“There were confirmed patients, but we learned our lessons,” Lee said during an online press conference held on Saturday. “We now know how to operate big festivals (amid COVID-19).”
Lee added that the Jeonju film fest is willing to share its know-how with other festival organizers.
Under the slogan “Film Goes On,” the 22nd Jeonju International Film Festival introduced 194 movies from 48 countries.
The total number of both online and offline festival audiences reached over 19,590 as of Saturday, official data showed.
Similar to last year, 141 films were made available for online streaming via local streaming platform Wavve this year. The online streaming service was only available for users in Korea.
Also, only 33 percent of the seats of four theaters in Jeonju were made available to the public this year to abide by the government’s social distancing guidelines.
In-person attendance at the four theaters in Jeonju reached 13,466 as of Saturday 9 a.m. The film fest organizer added that over 90 percent of the tickets for films screened in theaters were sold out.
The festival organizer added that 9,180 tickets for online screening were sold over the first nine days of the festival, which increased 55 percent from 3,653 sold last year during the same period.
“It was difficult to find out the trend of which movie was more popular in theaters since most of them were sold out,” Moon said. “For online screening, in particular, we could see that after the award ceremony, ticket sales of the winners increased dramatically.”
A total of 15 awards in four categories -- international competition, Korean competition, Korean competition for shorts and special award -- were given out this year.
The top prize of the international competition section went to Natalia Garayalde’s 69-minute documentary “Splinters” while the grand prize of the Korean competition category was given to “Kim Min-young of the Report Card,” co-directed by Lee Jae-eun and Lim Ji-sun. Both movies were made available on Wavve.
By Song Seung-hyun (email@example.com