JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013: Korean Short Film Competition – Part 1

JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013

The  14th Jeonju International Film Festival received more applicants than ever before for the Korean Short Film Competition – a total of 589 films were submitted, quite an increase from the 500 or so short films that are typically submitted. Out of these, 20 finalists were chosen to compete for the Grand Prize and the 5 million KRW reward, as well as the Best Director Prize (3 million KRW) and the Special Jury Prize (2 million KRW).

This year features mostly dramatic films that focus on quite a diverse range of generational and societal issues in Korea, yet there are also a growing number of experimental films as well as two animated shorts.

In this first part focusing on the competition, 10 of the short films are profiled and exemplify the festival’s nature in putting a spotlight on new, raw talent and for pushing boundaries.

Breathe Me (울게 하소서)

Breathe Me (울게 하소서)

Breathe Me (울게 하소서)

Director: Han Eun-young (한은영)

Synopsis: Teenage pregnancy is a growing concern in Korea, particularly the secrecy in which it is shrouded. Director Han examines two such teens as they deliver their baby alone and the stark choices they face, in what looks to be a powerfully solemn drama.

Broken (부서진)

Broken (부서진)

Broken (부서진)

Director: Choi Jung-min (최정민)

Synopsis: One of the more experimental submissions, Broken is a ‘self-reflexive narration’ that employs and juxtaposes news text from the past with images from the present. Director Choi apparently seeks to create conflict between the words and pictures.

Family (패밀리)

Family (패밀리)

Family (패밀리)

Director: Jung Wook (정욱)

Synopsis: Family deals with a group of teenage runaways who have found accommodation in the form of a public bathroom. Director Jung explores their lives as they earn money illegally and continue their squalid existence, as well as the rejection from those supposed to protect them.

Flamenco Nina (플라멩코 소녀)

Flamenco Nina (플라멩코 소녀)

Flamenco Nina (플라멩코 소녀)

Director: Lee Chan-ho (이찬호)

Synopsis: The difficult life of extremely shy Jeong-hye is conveyed through this short, and the stresses she is unable to deal with prove a constant source of frustration. Yet she finds freedom of expression through dancing, suggesting this entry could be a feel-good character study.

Grecoroman (그레코로만)

Grecoroman (그레코로만)

Grecoroman (그레코로만)

Director: Shin Hyun-tak (신현탁)

Synopsis: One of few films to tackle issues of the older generation, Grecoroman is concerned with the notion of reputation as a security officer is branded a pervert for helping an epileptic child, which in turn prompts him to recall the promise of his youth.

Highs and Lows

Highs and Lows

Highs and Lows

Director: Yang Youn-hwa (양연화)

Synopsis: The first of only two animated entries, this 6 minute short focuses on the competitive nature of society and how people scramble to be on top. This is particularly relevant in Korean culture where competition begins very early, and it will be interesting to see it interpreted within animation.

I Have Nothing to Lose (낫씽 투 루즈)

I Have Nothing to Lose (낫씽 투 루즈)

I Have Nothing to Lose (낫씽 투 루즈)

Director: Seo Won-tae (서원태)

Synopsis: Another experimental entry, I Have Nothing to Lose blends images and text together to create ‘various strands of meaning’. At only 8 minutes it will be interesting to see what meanings director Seo manages to conjure, as well as what overall theme and/or message the film contains.

Late Summer in 1984 (나는 자랑스런 태극기 앞에)

Late Summer in 1984 (나는 자랑스런 태극기 앞에)

Late Summer in 1984 (나는 자랑스런 태극기 앞에)

Director: Yoo Yong-ji (유용지)

Synopsis: Elements of the capitalist/communist history of Korea are dealt with in director Yoo’s Late Summer in 1984, depicting a family that is torn apart by ideological differences through the perspective of a young boy. Potentially a very illuminating piece.

Mask and Mirror (가면과 거울)

Mask and Mirror (가면과 거울)

Mask and Mirror (가면과 거울)

Director: Min Byung-hun (민병훈)

Synopsis: Following the life of an elderly artist living in Paris, this short film delves into the issues of those in their twilight years. As the main protagonist is an artist, director Min uses experimental images to emphasize such thoughts on life and death.

My Sweet Home (열여덟 반,)

My Sweet Home (열여덟 반,)

My Sweet Home (열여덟 반,)

Director: Jung Seoung-oh (정승오)

Synopsis: A tale of a boy on the fringes, My Sweet Home conveys the life of a young man with little ambition who sports tenuous relationships with those around him.

Festival News Jeonju International Film Festival (제14회 전주국제영화제) Korean Festivals 2013
JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013: Jeonju Digital Project

JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013

The Jeonju Digital Project (JDP) operates in a similar fashion to the festival’s Short! Short! Short! (숏!숏!숏!) annual event (the profile of which you can see here). Yet while the latter is focused exclusively on Korean film-making talent, the JDP has a more international scope, selecting three directors to produce a 30 minute digital short film each under an umbrella theme, as well as providing 50 million Korean won to help express their unique visions and styles. The JDP therefore is not only concerned with helping to promote talented directors, but also investing in international co-productions that serve to connect the Korean film industry worldwide.

The theme for the 14th JIFF JDP is ‘strangers’, a wonderfully ambiguous word that can be interpreted in vastly different ways yet also places relationships at the center. This year, the three selected directors are all of Asian origin – Japanese, Chinese, and Indonesian.

Director Kobayashi Masahiro, who was a jury member for JIFF’s International Competition at last year’s festival, was one of the few directors to incorporate the tsunami devastation in his feature length film Women on the Edge, which portrayed three sisters who are reunited following the aftermath crisis. The film was invited to Rotterdam, Tokyo, Osaka, and Jeonju film festivals respectively, yet he also has a long history in the film-making industry in the roles of director, screenwriter, and producer. From China, director Zhang Lu also has a history with JIFF as both a film-maker and member of the jury. His first feature, Tang Poetry, was invited to the 2003 edition of the festival, while he on the panel in 2009 for the ‘Korean Films in Competition’. Director Edwin, hailing from Indonesia, is certainly no stranger to the festival circuit with a filmography that has been invited to Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Tribeca, and a staggering number of other festivals internationally. He also has a prior connection with JIFF, having two of his short films invited to the festival in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Over There (풍경)

Over There (풍경)

Over There (풍경)

Director: Zhang Lu (장률)

Synopsis: The topic of ‘strangers’ has been interpreted into documentary film Over There, in which director Zhang Lu explores the isolation and loneliness of the human experience despite the multitude of people that surround us. It also looks to explore a contrast in cultures. See below for the trailer.

Someone's Wife In The Boat Of Someone's Husband (누군가의 남편의 배에 탄 누군가의 아내)

Someone’s Wife In The Boat Of Someone’s Husband (누군가의 남편의 배에 탄 누군가의 아내)

Someone’s Wife In The Boat Of Someone’s Husband (누군가의 남편의 배에 탄 누군가의 아내)

Director: Edwin (에드윈)

Synopsis: The film follows two people searching for something missing from their lives, and inspired by a romantic legend, journey to the island of Sawai to find it. See the trailer below:

Strangers When We Meet (만날 때는 언제나 타인)

Strangers When We Meet (만날 때는 언제나 타인)

Strangers When We Meet (만날 때는 언제나 타인)

Director: Kobayashi Masahiro (고바야시 마사히로)

Synopsis: Focusing on the social issue of strained relationships amongst the elderly, the film explores the relationship between a couple who haven’t communicated for two years following the death of their son. See the trailer below:

Festival News Jeonju International Film Festival (제14회 전주국제영화제) Korean Festivals 2013
JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013: Short! Short! Short! (숏!숏!숏!)

JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013

Since 2007, the Jeonju International Film Festival has produced the Short! Short! Short! (숏!숏!숏!) series, a collection of 2-3 short films united by a particular theme. Each year, 2-3 talented Korean directors are chosen and given free reign to explore the theme in a manner of their choosing, yet for the 2013 edition each film-maker is connected through the works of novelist Kim Young-ha.

For this years installment of Short! Short! Short!, the directors selected are quite diverse in their respective approaches. Lee Sang-woo (이상우) is arguably the most prolific, responsible for often controversial films including Mother is a Whore (엄마는 창녀다), Father is a Dog (아버지는 개다), and Barbie (바비). Brothers Park Jin-sung (박진성) and Park Jin-seok (박진석) are credited with writing horror films Epitaph (기담) and Evil Spirit: VIY (마녀의 관), the latter of which saw director Park Jin-sung make his debut as a director. Finally, director Lee Jin-woo (이진우), responsible for Sundays in August (팔월의 일요일들) and several other successful short films, rounds out the selection. The film-making talent is quite diverse, and it will be interesting to see how each director takes on the work of Kim Young-ha in their own unique vision.

The Body

The Body

The Body

Directors: Park Jin-sung (박진성), Park Jin-seok (박진석)

Synopsis: The Body looks set to be an interesting interpretation of Kim’s The Last Visitor. The directors have a history in the horror genre and the story, which blurs reality and fantasy between three people on New Year’s Eve, has the potential to be a shocking short film.

Exit (비상구)

Exit (비상구)

Exit (비상구)

Director: Lee Sang-woo (이상우)

Synopsis: No stranger to controversy, particularly in regards to sex and gender, director Lee Sang-woo’s adaptation focuses on a criminal fascinated with a tattoo located on his girlfriend’s genitalia, dubbed ‘the emergency exit’. Lee’s films are often polarizing so it will be interesting to see what he achieves with the material.

Waltzing on Thunder (번개와 춤을)

Waltzing on Thunder (번개와 춤을)

Waltzing on Thunder (번개와 춤을)

Director: Lee Jin-woo (이진우)

Synopsis: Adapting Kim’s The Lightning Rod, director Lee has created a romantic drama involving people who have been struck by lightning, focusing on central protagonist Mi-jung. The film promises to be one of the more quirky offerings in the category.

Festival News Jeonju International Film Festival (제14회 전주국제영화제) Korean Festivals 2013
JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013: Korea Cinemascape

JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013

As part of the build up towards the 2013 installment of the Jeonju International Film Festival, last time here at Hanguk Yeonghwa the ten selected independent films that form the ‘Korean Films in Competition’ were profiled. What they highlight is that JIFF is still continuing to seek out new and fresh film-making talent as the directors are all relatively unknown, raising the possibility for ‘discovering’ quality productions and act as a potential springboard for future festival runs.

Yet JIFF 2013 is also featuring some of the more commercial films to emerge from Korea under the banner of ‘Korea Cinemascape’. In keeping with the festival tradition the themes are quite broad in scope allowing for a range of diverse projects to appear, from star-studded gangster and action epics through to more low-key dramatic pieces. Here are the films announced as part of the ‘Korea Cinemascape’.

Burn, Release, Explode, The Invincible (연소, 석방, 폭발, 대적할 이가 없는)

Burn, Release, Explode, The Invincible (연소, 석방, 폭발, 대적할 이가 없는)

Burn, Release, Explode, The Invincible (연소, 석방, 폭발, 대적할 이가 없는)

Director: Kim Su-hyun  (김수현)

Synopsis: A title that’s almost a story in itself, Burn, Release, Explode, The Invincible charts the life of actor Kim Sang-hyun and the unfolding drama. Described as ‘bohemian and arty’, the 53 minute drama sounds like an interesting exploration of the acting world.

Fist of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Fists of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Fists of Legend (전설의 주먹)

Director: Kang Woo-seok (강우석)

Synopsis: Blockbuster action film Fists of Legend features several A-list stars including Hwang Jeong-min and Yoo Joon-sang, and helmed by the mighty Kang Woo-seok who has been responsible for a string of hits both as producer and director. Word of mouth is positive on this tent-pole actioner, which sees three middle-aged friends reunited in a fighting contest for a large cash prize. As JIFF is mostly concerned with independent features, Fists of Legend will offer a change of pace for those seeking big-budgeted action. Check out the trailer below:

Garibong (가리봉)

Garibong (가리봉)

Garibong (가리봉)

Director: Park Ki Yong (박기용)

Synopsis: This documentary feature by director Park Ki-yong explores the immigrant experience of workers residing in Garibong-dong. Stories involving foreigners and the difficulties of cultural assimilation have become more prominent in recent years, and Garibong could offer a fresh perspective.

Juvenile Offender (범죄소년)

Juvenile Offender (범죄소년)

Juvenile Offender (범죄소년)

Director: Kang Yi-kwan (강이관)

Synopsis: Juvenile Offender made waves upon its release in 2012, with its story of disaffected youth, crime, and familial relationships. The film from director Kang, who previous helmed the Moon So-ri starring Sakwa (사과), premiered in Vancouver and won the coveted Special Jury Award and Best Actor for Seo Young-ju at the Tokyo International Film Festival. With the focus on human rights (indeed, it was partly funded by The National Human Rights Commission of Korea) and timely examination of socio-cultural issues it’s great to see the film get more exposure at JIFF. See below for the trailer:

Mr. Vertigo (축지법과 비행술)

Mr. Vertigo (축지법과 비행술)

Mr. Vertigo (축지법과 비행술)

Director: Lee Kyung-sub (이경섭)

Synopsis: Renowned character actor Oh Dal-su stars in Mr. Vertigo, a story about a man seeking to add excitement and difference to his boring life. At 25 minutes long, the film has the potential to be one of the more off-beat and humourous short stories at the festival.

My Paparotti (파파로티)

My Paparotti (파파로티)

My Paparotti (파파로티)

Director: Yoon Jong-chan (윤종찬)

Synopsis: Since its release, My Paparotti has been quite successful earning around 1.45 million admissions (at the time of writing), despite mixed critical reactions. Featuring rising star Lee Je-hoon alongside Han Seok-kyu, the comedy-drama charts the relationship between a washed-up music teacher and  young gangster who sports an exceptional singing voice. See the trailer below:

New World (신세계)

New World (신세계)

New World (신세계)

Director: Park Hoon-jung (박훈정)

Synopsis: Gangster epic New World has been incredibly well-received both domestically as well as internationally, selling to multiple territories with its tale of violence and paranoia. Directed by Park Hoon-jung, the writer behind hits I Saw the Devil and The Unjust, the film also features heavyweights Choi Min-shik, Hwang Jeong-min, Lee Jeong-jae and Song Ji-hyo. New World has been likened to Infernal Affairs/The Departed which is high praise indeed. Check out the trailer below:

Project Cheonan Ship (천안함프로젝트)

Project Cheonan Ship (천안함프로젝트)

Project Cheonan Ship (천안함프로젝트)

Director: Baek Seung-woo (백승우)

Synopsis: When he ROKS Cheonan was sunk in 2010, escalating tensions between North and South Korea, several conspiracy theories appeared despite the official verdict that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo. Documentary Project Cheonan Ship explores the events as well as the reactions by Korean society.

Shibata and Nagao (시바타와 나가오)

Shibata and Nagao (시바타와 나가오)

Shibata and Nagao (시바타와 나가오)

Director: Yang Ik-june (양익준)

Synopsis: The 19 minute Korea/Japanese co-produced drama explores the final moments of a couple as they are about to separate. Director Yang Ik-june is the reason to be excited for this film as his exemplary drama Breathless proved his abilities behind the camera.

Talking Architecture, City:Hall (말하는 건축, 시티:홀)

Talking Architecture, City:Hall (말하는 건축, 시티:홀)

Talking Architecture, City:Hall (말하는 건축, 시티:홀)

Director: Jeong Jae-eun (정재은)

Synopsis: The controversial City Hall project in Seoul has been fraught with difficulty since day one, and this documentary shines a light on the issues that occurred throughout construction. It looks to be an interesting piece, especially in the conflict of old (Japanese) versus new (Korean).

Timing (타이밍)

Timing (타이밍)

Timing (타이밍)

Director: Kim Ji-Yeon (김지연)

Synopsis: Timing looks set to be a sensitive drama, as a woman attempts to resolve loose ends before she moves abroad to study. In doing so she discovers the complex emotions of the sadness of letting go of the past and the fear of starting afresh.

To Be Reborn (환생의 주일)

To Be Reborn (환생의 주일)

To Be Reborn (환생의 주일)

Director: Hwang Qu-doek (황규덕)

Synopsis: To Be Reborn is a documentary that follows the director himself, as he pursues another avenue in life when frustrated with the film industry. The film-making frustrations depicted could resonate well with the independent audiences and prove to be a success.

Total Messed Family (오빠가 돌아왔다)

Total Messed Family (오빠가 돌아왔다)

Total Messed Family (오빠가 돌아왔다)

Director: No Zin-soo (노진수)

Synopsis: The oddly titled Total Messed Family appears to be a more traditional family comedy-drama offering in which a group of mismatched personalities are forced to come together during a crisis. This certainly has the potential to be one of the ‘feel-good’ films at the festival.

The Woman (그 여자)

The Woman (그 여자)

The Woman (그 여자)

Director: Jo Mee-hye (조미혜)

Synopsis: The only film to feature the transsexual experience in the category, The Woman portrays the story of Yoon-hee whose life is thrown into turmoil when her brother informs her of their mother’s illness. It will be very interesting to see how such issues are explored, as Korean culture is still quite conservative.

Festival News Jeonju International Film Festival (제14회 전주국제영화제) Korean Festivals 2013
JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013: Korean Films in Competition

JIFF 2013

JIFF 2013

The 14th Jeonju International Film Festival is almost upon us, kicking off on the 25th of April and running for a week through to the 3rd of May. After the huge controversies surrounding the festival last year, JIFF is reinventing itself with new programmers and staff as well as holding additional events due to take place nearby.

As always JIFF will screen a great variety of film talent focusing specifically on the independent sector. Opening with the joint French/Canadian film Fox Fire (폭스파이어) by director Laurent Cantet, a host of new film-making talent will be on display until closing film Wajida (와즈다), by Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al Mansour, is screened.

For the full list of films being shown at JIFF 2013 please follow the link provided here, which amongst other things features a wonderful focus on Indian films in a category titled ‘Beyond Bollywood’. Yet as Hanguk Yeonghwa is concerned with Korean films specifically, here’s a rundown of the ten ‘Korean Films in Competition’.

51+

51+

51+

Director: Jung Yong-taek (정용택)

Synopsis: 51+ explores the lives of musicians who perform in the famous Hongdae area of Seoul, a hotspot for indie bands and emerging talent. Yet as the area has become more popular and big businesses have moved in, aspiring musicians are forced out and must take opportunities where they can.

Cheer Up Mr. Lee (힘내세요, 병헌씨)

Cheer Up Mr. Lee (힘내세요, 병헌씨)

Cheer Up Mr. Lee (힘내세요, 병헌씨)

Director: Lee Byeong-hun (이병헌)

Synopsis: The film follows Byeong-heon, a young aspiring film-maker who endures seemingly constant disappointment as he attempts to establish himself. The film purports to be something of an amalgamation of docu- and mockumentary set in the film world.

Dancing Woman (춤추는 여자)

Dancing Woman (춤추는 여자)

Dancing Woman (춤추는 여자)

Directors: Park Sun-il (박선일), Park Jun-hee (박준희), Ryu Jae-mi (유재미), Jo Chi-young (조지영), Choo Kyeong-yeob (추경엽)

Synopsis: Dancing Woman is an omnibus comprised of a variety of different genres and themes. Apparently, the film employs modern dance techniques during each narrative, and looks to be an interesting experimental piece.

Dear Dolphin (환상속의 그대)

Dear Dolphin (환상속의 그대)

Dear Dolphin (환상속의 그대)

Director: Kang Ji-na (강진아)

Synopsis: Employing a mixture of fantasy and reality in exploring love and death, Dear Dolphin looks set to be one of the more surreal offerings from the festival. The trailer can be viewed below:

December (디셈버)

December (디셈버)

December (디셈버)

Director: Park Jeong-hoon (박정훈)

Synopsis: December (디셈버) is an exploration of relationships and how they shift and change over time. At 73 minutes it’s quite short for a feature, yet as one of the few films focusing primarily on relationships it could be one of the more interesting dramatic films at the festival.

Echo of Dragon (용문)

Echo of Dragon (용문)

Echo of Dragon (용문)

Director: Lee Hyun-jung (이현정)

Synopsis: The description of Echo of Dragon is quite ambiguous, even labelled as a ‘peculiar drama’. With it’s off-the-wall themes – including repressed desires – and ‘twisted’ imagery, the film has the potential to be a boundary-pushing wildcard.

Grandma-Cement Garden (할매-시멘트정원)

Grandma-Cement Garden (할매-시멘트정원)

Grandma-Cement Garden (할매-시멘트정원)

Director: Kim Ji-gon (김지곤)

Synopsis: The human rights orientated Grandma-Cement Garden explores the forced relocation of elderly citizens in Busan. Their trials, lifestyles and memories are portrayed until their inevitable move, and as such could be a success with its political scandal/human interest angle.

Groggy Summer (그로기 썸머)

Groggy Summer (그로기 썸머)

Groggy Summer (그로기 썸머)

Director: Yun Su-ik (윤수익)

Synopsis: Groggy Summer is concerned with the pressures of Korean society, and their impact on a creative wannabe poet. The dissection of culture and pressure on Korean youth is an intriguing and timely premise, and could tap into cultural anxieties.

Lebanon Emotion (레바논 감정)

Lebanon Emotion (레바논 감정)

Lebanon Emotion (레바논 감정)

Director: Jung Young-heon (정영헌)

Synopsis: The description of Lebanon Emotion is incredibly vague, but it appears to be an exploration of a variety of human emotions that occur in different situations. Director Jung has helmed several short films during his career, so it will be interesting to see what he achieves with feature length material.

My Place (마이 플레이스)

My Place (마이 플레이스)

My Place (마이 플레이스)

Director: Park Moon-chil (박문칠)

Synopsis: My Place is an interrogation of the differences between contemporary and traditional Korea, focusing on one particular family unit. The ideological differences between generations isn’t particularly original, yet as single-motherhood forms part of the film it could signal a fresh approach on the subject.

Festival News Jeonju International Film Festival (제14회 전주국제영화제) Korean Festivals 2013