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April, a month of film festivals

Posters of Jeonju International Film Festival (left) and the International Women's Film Festival in Seoul (right)Posters of Jeonju International Film Festival (left) and the International Women's Film Festival in Seoul (right)


April is packed with annual film events showcasing a wide array of independent, feature, documentary, and short films. Two of the culture ministry-sponsored festivals, the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul and Jeonju International Film Festival make their awaited return again this year, allowing movie buffs to explore the latest film trends and global trends at a glance.

International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul (IWFFIS)

The International Women’s Film Festival begins on April 19 under the slogan “See the World through Women's Eyes” at multiple venues around Seoul, including Artreon, Cinemathèque KOFA in Sangam-dong, and CGV Songpa.

Starting with the opening film, Paula Marcovich’s The Prize, which unfolds the tale of a mother and daughter’s political escape during a period of military dictatorship in Argentina, the festival screens a total of 120 films representing 30 nations from April 19 to 26.

 (left) The Prize directed by Paula Marcovich; (right) The Good Herbs by Mexican filmmaker Maria Novaro (photos courtesy of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul)(left) The Prize directed by Paula Marcovich; (right) The Good Herbs by Mexican filmmaker Maria Novaro (photos courtesy of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul)


The opening ceremony will be attended by actor Ahn Sung-ki and singer Horan of Clazziquai, alongside the director Paula Marcovich and dozens of special guests hailing from twelve different countries. The female duo Moon Roof will enthrall the audience with their tender and uplifting melodies adding vigor to the festive mood.

Throughout the eight-day journey, the festival will feature an unparalleled mix of international films by emerging talents and eminent filmmakers seen through the eyes of women. Audiences are invited to screenings of Asian Spectrum delivering a particular focus on Japanese cinematography this year, alongside a selection of Mexico’s representative features and short films.

Featured films from Asian Spectrum: Japanese Cinema 1955x2012 include 3.11: in the Moment (left) by Gasha Kyoko and The End of Puberty (right) by Gimura Shoko (photos courtesy of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul).Featured films from Asian Spectrum: Japanese Cinema 1955x2012 include 3.11: in the Moment (left) by Gasha Kyoko and The End of Puberty (right) by Gimura Shoko (photos courtesy of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul).


Also featured is a selection of amateur films made as a result of the media workshop for North Korean Refugee Youth and the 2011 Multi-Culture Video Making Academy that will be unveiled on April 21 and 23, respectively.

During the weekend, a number of street performances and concerts will take place at Artreon with the participation of musical actor Song Yong-jin, indie band Raspberry Field, and singer-songwriters Lim Ju-yeon and Park So-yun, among others.

A roundtable is scheduled on April 22 at 7 PM inside the first floor Little Theater of Artreon. Topics such as feminist methodology and media activism will be illuminated as “movements that convert and organize the paradigm of ordinary, daily life” in relation with the wrenching changes which have gripped today’s society faced with growing uncertainty and rising conflicts among diverse ethnicities and classes.

The panelists including reputed Russian-born documentary chronicler and UCLA professor Marina Goldovskaya, and Indian filmmaker and poet Leena Manimekalai are expected to bring the issues of institutionalization of gender differences through observing women’s involvement in political space as well as in media. Korean director Park Sung-mi who animated the film Hope Bus, A Love Story and moderator of the day Professor Kim Eun-shil of Women’s Studies at Ewha Womans University will also take part in the discussion on “Polemics: Women, Media, Politics.”

The Queer Rainbow program includes Tomboy (left) directed by Céline Sciamma from France and The Perfect Family (right) by U.S. filmmaker Anne Renton (photos courtesy of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul).The Queer Rainbow program includes Tomboy (left) directed by Céline Sciamma from France and The Perfect Family (right) by U.S. filmmaker Anne Renton (photos courtesy of the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul).


The festival offers child care services from April 20 to 26 to encourage parents to attend and to ensure their enjoyment. Any movie buff may come by and leave their children at the facility located on the third floor of Sinchon Artreon. Operation hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. with a late opening scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on the last day. For more information, please visit the official website

Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF)

Jeonju, a city of culinary delights, culture, and tradition will host the 13th edition of its annual film festival at the Jeonju Digital Independent Cinema Complex and movie theaters across one of Korea’s most frequented tourist destinations.

With ”JIFF, Change with You! (Sympathize and Change)” as its catchphrase, Jeonju International Film Festival will screen over 180 films from 42 countries, including 36 world premieres, from April 26 to May 4. The opening film is the second feature film by Ursula Meier, Sister, a bittersweet coming-of-age story which received the 2012 Berlinale Jury’s Special Award earlier this year in February. Having gained huge acclaim from its premier at the Venice International Film Festival last year, A Simple Life by Ann Hui was chosen as the closing film.

The opening and closing films of the 13th Jeonju International Film Festival (photos courtesy of JIFF)The opening and closing films of the 13th Jeonju International Film Festival (photos courtesy of JIFF)


Artistic creativity will be in the limelight with a varied portfolio consisting of sections newly added this year such as the Guest Curator Program and Viennale in Five Decades to mark the 50th anniversary of the Vienna International Film Festival.”

The cinephile-friendly festival offers a rich diversity for audiences to get a glimpse of the latest trends of the film world, while widening the reach into the international arena, bringing film masters’ retrospectives and special tribute screenings to its Focus On section. A good number of the films screened during the festival are being introduced for the first time in Korea.

A special section dedicated to representing the filmography of the prominent Argentinean director Edgardo Cozarinsky brings his own selection including Tango Desire (left) and Ghosts of Tangier (right) to Jeonju (photos courtesy of JIFF).A special section dedicated to representing the filmography of the prominent Argentinean director Edgardo Cozarinsky brings his own selection including Tango Desire (left) and Ghosts of Tangier (right) to Jeonju (photos courtesy of JIFF).


This year, you may explore the movie career of celebrated Argentinean cineaste Edgardo Cozarinsky through screenings of the director’s own selection of his film works. Other filmmakers under the spotlight for the annual event include Albert Serra, part of a new generation of Spanish Catalonian filmmakers, and Lee Jang-ho, a representative filmmaker who led the revival of the then-stagnant Korean movie scene with a keen eye on depicting society and authorial experimental exploration.

”Retrospective: Uchida Tomu” provides a close-up look at the Japanese master’s discernible black-and-white films to those who remember the Japanese cinema scene’s postwar golden age. The program co-organized in partnership with the Japan Foundation will simultaneously run at Seoul Art Cinema and will be screened in different cities across the country afterwards.

 Director Park Jung-bum performs again at One Week following his accomplished debut feature The Journals of Musan (photo courtesy of JIFF). Director Park Jung-bum performs again at One Week following his accomplished debut feature The Journals of Musan (photo courtesy of JIFF).


Short! Short! Short! 2012 will present two short films produced by Korean filmmakers under the support of the JIFF: Solution, a dark comedy in the form of a fake documentary by twin-brother-filmmaking group Goksa, and One Week by Park Jung-bum. Park, assistant helmer on Lee Chang-dong's acclaimed film Poetry, won international recognition, receiving the Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam -- nicknamed the “Sundance of Europe” -- with his debut feature film, The Journals of Musan, which equally made a strong impression on critics.

JIFF hosts an authentic digital film production project titled the “Jeonju Digital Project,” based on the assumption that digital film production will lead the future of films. This year, three Asian directors -- Raya Martin (Philippines), Vimukthi Jayasundara (Sri Lanka), and Ying Liang (China) unveil the world premiere of their latest works made with the support of the festival. For more information, please visit the official website

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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