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Films created during pandemic the mainstay of 47th SIFF

From left: Actor Kwon Hye-hyo, the 47th Seoul Independent Film Festival selection judge Jung Ji-hye, SIFF director Kim Dong-hyun film director Han Jun-hee pose after a press conference held at Megabox Artnine theater in Dongjak-gu, Seoul. (SIFF)
From left: Actor Kwon Hye-hyo, the 47th Seoul Independent Film Festival selection judge Jung Ji-hye, SIFF director Kim Dong-hyun film director Han Jun-hee pose after a press conference held at Megabox Artnine theater in Dongjak-gu, Seoul. (SIFF)

The 47th Seoul Independent Film Festival will be screening films mostly created since the beginning of COVID-19 last year.

“The largest number of films ever were submitted this year. A total of 1,550 films were submitted,” said SIFF director Kim Dong-hyun during a press conference Wednesday.

“We had the largest number of submitters last year so I thought the number would decrease this year. Especially since last year was not an easy time to make films,” Kim said. “So, I thought that we should work harder to support these independent films.”

Of the submissions, 120 films were selected to screen at this year’s festival.

“Films by women directors account for 55.26 percent. The rate dropped slightly from last year but it is still meaningful as it accounts for more than 50 percent. I think we are becoming a platform that can provide an opportunity to female directors,” Kim said.

Another important fact about this year’s festival is that more than half of the selected works are debut features by new directors, the festival director said.

This year’s slogan of the fest -- “Back to Back” -- was also introduced during the press conference. It has a meaning of both leaning on each other and looking forward to a new future.

A total of 84 million won ($71,000) will be given in prize money this year, according to the organizer.

Opening this year’s festival is “Sprinter,” directed by Choi Seung-yeon. The film centers on three athletes preparing for the national team.

“I did not expect it to be the opener of SIFF,” Choi said. “It is a sports film but it is a movie that anyone can enjoy.”

Popular Netflix series “D.P.” director Han Jun-hee, who is one of 11 judges selecting this year’s winners, also participated in the conference and expressed his excitement.

“I am grateful that I can participate in this festival as a judge. SIFF is meaningful to me in many ways,” Han said. “Since filmmaking became my profession, I don’t often see sensational films. There are times when you get to watch a movie that hits you hard. I want to find that kind of movie.”
 
Seoul Independent Film Festival opener “Sprinter,” directed by Choi Seung-yeon (SIFF)
Seoul Independent Film Festival opener “Sprinter,” directed by Choi Seung-yeon (SIFF)

Actor Kwon Hae-hyo talked about the Actors Project program that he has been organizing.

The program awards actors based on 60-second monologue videos that are submitted.

“More than 2,000 actors participated this year. People asked me if we look through them all for real. We really do,” Kwon said. “As with all professions, when living as an actor, many tend to wonder whether they are doing it in the right direction. I think that is when you need support from others who tell you that you are doing it right. We hope to play that role.”

The festival will be held at CGV Art House Apgujeong and CGV Apgujeong in Seoul from Nov. 25 to Dec 3.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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