Jeonju Film Festival 2016 – Hot Picks

JIFF 2016

JIFF 2016

As Korea’s primary showcase for independent cinema, the Jeonju International Film Festival always has a surprise or two waiting for cineastes in the film line-up.

Running from April 28th ~ May 7th, and now in its 17th year, JIFF’s priority in debuting new filmmaking talent from the peninsula is simultaneously exciting as well as difficult to pin down emerging talent, making discoveries of potential break out stars even more thrilling to uncover.

While it’s certainly challenging to select possible highlights at such an early stage, there are a few clues and rumours that point to potentially memorable cinematic works.

Here are Hanguk Yeonghwa’s hot picks for JIFF 2016.

Spy Nation (자백) – director Choi Seungho (최승호)

Spy Nation

Spy Nation

Spy Nation is without a doubt one of the most controversial films to appear at JIFF this year. Directed by former professional journalist Choi Seungho, the documentary explores alleged corruption in the upper echelons of the Korean government and the national spy agency, accusations that the mainstream media has largely ignored. Spy Nation has the potential to cause outcry on a similar scale as the Sewol documentary at Busan Film Festival in 2014, and is a must-see for those with an interest in Korean culture and K-cinema.

Seven Years – Journalism without Journalist (7년-그들이 없는 언론) – director Kim Jinhyuk (김진혁)

Seven Years

Seven Years

JIFF’s other highly controversial documentary, Seven Years examines the situations that have led to the firing of 17 journalists since former President Lee Myung-bak’s time in office began. Director Kim Jinhyuk details their fight to expose the activities of big corporations and press censorship in Korea, as well as the future of investigative journalism in the peninsula.

Worst Woman (최악의 여자) – director Kim Jongkwan (김종관)

Worst Woman

Worst Woman

It’s always a gamble to select films from the Korean Competition as they are from first time filmmakers, however Worst Woman stands out for one reason – Han Ye-ri. Han Ye-ri is a highly talented actress as her turn in Sea Fog can attest, and her decision to star in this film as a woman in considerable trouble who befriends a sensitive author is reason enough to check it out.

A Stray Goat (눈발) – director Cho Jaemin (조재민)

Stray Goats

A Stray Goat

One of the Jeonju Project films (the other is below), A Stray Goat has already garnered attention in Korea due to Got7’s Junior (real name Park Jinyoung) starring role. Alongside Ji-woo (Cart, Fists of Legend), the duo portray youngsters who form a deep bond due to the verbal and physical abuse they suffer, in a world that shuns them into the margins of society.

Woo-Joo’s Christmas (우주의 크리스마스) – director Kim Kyunghyung (김경형)

Woo-joo's Christmas

Woo-joo’s Christmas

Director Kim Kyunghyung, known for his wit in hit films My Tutor Friend (2003) and Liar (2004) returns to the big screen with Woo-joo’s Christmas. The story follows Woo-joo and her daughter who move to a small town to open a cafe, where they experience odd coincidences with the women who already live there. As modern cinema is so dominated by male-centered stories, Woo-joo’s Christmas has the potential to be a genuinely refreshing experience.

Old Days (올드 데이즈) – director Han Sun-hee (한선희)

Old Boy

Old Boy

Another documentary makes the list, this time in the form of celebrating arguably the most internationally recognised Korean film of all time – Park Chan-wook’s Old Boy. Director Han Sun-hee compiles footage of the film’s enormous success alongside interviews with director Park, the cast, and crew, as they recount the phenomenal achievements Old Boy amassed and why the film stands the test of time. A must for Korean film fans.

Great Patrioteers (우리 손자 베스트) – director Kim Soohyun (김수현)

Great Patrioteers

Great Patrioteers

The second K-film in the Jeonju Cinema Project is by director Kim Soohyun, the talent behind queer film Life is Peachy (aka Ashamed) and So Cute. He returns with black comedy Great Patrioteers, about a wayward young ‘keyboard warrior’ and a right-wing senior citizen who form an unlikely relationship under odd circumstances.

Curtain Call (커튼콜) – director Ryu Hoon (류훈)

Curtain Call

Curtain Call

Curtain Call is another gamble for this list, as it’s a K-competition film from debut director Ryu Hoon. However the premise, in which a once aspiring director who now makes erotic plays gets a second chance to create something of artistic merit, combined with a cast of reliable and experienced Korean actors, could result in a surprisingly entertaining comedy-drama.

Kai (카이: 거울 호수의 전설) – director Lee Sung-gang (이성강)

Kai

Kai

Korean animation has been making great gains in recent years, and director Lee Sung-gang’s Kai looks set to continue the trend as the stills look absolutely gorgeous. The film follows Kai, a youngster who is tasked with saving his village from Snow Queen Hattan who has covered the area in ice. Parallels to Disney’s Frozen are likely, but the images released indicate that Kai will be a uniquely Korean offering and possibly one of the more popular outdoor screening events.

For more information, please visit the official Jeonju Film Festival website here.

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17th Jeonju International Film Festival (제17회 전주국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2016
The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

GFFIS 2013: The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

Kicking off on the 9th of May and running through until the 16th, the 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS) will take place at CGV cinemas in Yongsan. The festival screens films that highlight environmental matters from all over the world, ranging from GMO foods to corporate corruption, animal welfare to government protesting, and that great variety continues to be present within the 2013 edition.

Opening with the Matt Damon starring Promised Land, directed by Gus Van Sant, the festival boasts an impressive array of international screenings. For the full list of films please visit the official website here (in Korean), however featured below are the Korean entries that will emphasize the environmental issues occurring within the country.

But first, be sure to check out the official trailer for the festival:

Korean Films

International Environmental Film Category

Forest Dancing (춤추는 숲)

Forest Dancing (춤추는 숲)

Forest Dancing (춤추는 숲)

Director: Kang Seok-pil (강석필)

Synopsis: The documentary follows the residents of a small village community in Seoul, who protest against a building project that will raze part of a mountain to make way for a private academy.

Korean Environment Category:

Boiler (남양주는 모른다)

Boiler (남양주는 모른다)

Boiler (남양주는 모른다)

Director: Lee Hyun-Ji (이현지)

Synopsis: Fictional film Boiler explores the lives of a handful of binge drinking tunnel laborers. Their mundane existence is changed however when they discover something underground while working.

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Director: Min Byung-Woo (민병우)

Synopsis: The first film to be shot entirely using the iphone 4s, this romantic-comedy depicts the lives of two pet owners and their relationships.

Cats in the Pool (수영장의 고양이들)

Cats in the Pool (수영장의 고양이들)

Cats in the Pool (수영장의 고양이들)

Director: Kim Bo-Kyoung (김보경)

Synopsis: In this animated short, a man hits a cat while driving. The guilt of the event causes him to hallucinate the cat – and other felines – wherever he goes.

Cement Town Tragedy (투구꽃 그 마을)

Cement Town Tragedy (투구꽃 그 마을)

Cement Town Tragedy (투구꽃 그 마을)

Director: Oh Kyu-Ik (오규익)

Synopsis: The documentary examines a small town and the impact of a cement plant built 50 years ago, and the fallout of hazardous materials on the health of the community.

Cruel Inheritance - Heredity (잔인한 내림 – 遺傳)

Cruel Inheritance – Heredity (잔인한 내림 – 遺傳)

Cruel Inheritance – Heredity (잔인한 내림 – 遺傳)

Director: Kim Hwan-Tae (김환태)

Synopsis: Cruel Inheritance is a documentary concerned with the ramifications of the atomic energy and bombs, from Hiroshima in 1945 through to Fukushima in 2011.

Fog and Smoke (안개와 연기)

Fog and Smoke (안개와 연기)

Fog and Smoke (안개와 연기)

Director: Cha Jea-Min (차재민)

Synopsis: Experimental film Fog and Smoke explores the complicated and intense emotions involved in the development of a city in the port of Incheon., including issues related to the financial crisis.

Green Slime (녹색물질)

Green Slime (녹색물질)

Green Slime (녹색물질)

Director: Kwon Oh-Kwang (권오광)

Synopsis: This 12 minute short fiction film portrays a group of friends who reunite in a bar, and recount their childhood story involving a ‘green monster’.

The Hours of Tree (나무의 시간)

The Hours of Tree (나무의 시간)

The Hours of Tree (나무의 시간)

Director: Jeong Da-Hee (정다희)

Synopsis: Exploring the life of trees across seasons and beyond, this animated short is concerned with the way life unfolds and develops for vegetation, and the very meaning of existence.

KBS Environment Special; Experiment Excrement (KBS 환경스페셜: 똥을 실험하다)

KBS Environment Special; Experiment Excrement (KBS 환경스페셜: 똥을 실험하다)

KBS Environment Special; Experiment Excrement (KBS 환경스페셜: 똥을 실험하다)

Director: Shin Dong-Man (신동만)

Synopsis: The environmental impact of human waste is examined in this KBS documentary, portraying the thoughtless consumption of materials every time a person flushes the toilet.

A Monster in the Reservoir (저수지의 괴물)

A Monster in the Reservoir (저수지의 괴물)

A Monster in the Reservoir (저수지의 괴물)

Director: Lee Sung-Gang (이성강)

Synopsis: The life of a monster who dwells in a reservoir is portrayed in this animated short. When human development approaches, the monster’s home is threatened.

Paldang (팔당 사람들)

Paldang (팔당 사람들)

Paldang (팔당 사람들)

Director: Kauh Eun-Jin (고은진)

Synopsis: Paldang examines the issues involved in farming in contemporary Korea, from government subsidies to organic farming and wind power, and the conflicts that arise.

Souvenir Animation

Souvenir Animation

Souvenir Animation

Director: Kang Min-ji (강민지)

Synopsis: This 11 minute animated film explores the keepsakes and mementos that are obtained over time through traveling. The photos and ornaments from trips in different times state the importance of travel.

Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)

Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)

Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)

Director: Jeong Han-Jin (정한진)

Synopsis: A young boy who had previously only consumed organic foods is suddenly introduced to chocolate, and begins to question his lifestyle.

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 difficulties of the new city hall project in Seoul are captured in this documentary, exemplifying the struggle of old versus new.

Who Made It? (누가 만들었을까?)

Who Made It? (누가 만들었을까?)

Who Made It? (누가 만들었을까?)

Director: Ji Tae-kyoung (지태경)

Synopsis: The beautiful landscapes of Jeju Island are the focus of this documentary. The people of Jeju and their relationship to the surroundings are also featured, alongside Jeju musicians.

Festival News Green Film Festival in Seoul (제10회 서울환경영화제) Korean Festivals 2013