By Kim Tae-jong
"Night Watch", the opening film for the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival
Two rival film festivals specializing in unusual and bizarre films announced the detailed descriptions of their events. Now it is up to audiences to judge which is more fantastic.
The Puchon International Film Festival (PiFan) and the Real Fantastic Film Festival (RFFF) will both take place on July 14-23 in Seoul and Puchon, Kyonggi Province.
The Real Fantastic Film Festival was created by the former staff members of PiFan as a symbolic gesture to protest against problems with the Puchon festival.
Their decision came after the organizing committee of PiFan dismissed festival director Kim Hong-jun last year despite strong opposition from the event's programmers and other staff members, saying the action was groundless.
PiFan will open with a budget of 2.2 billion won with little support from members of the local film industry as they are boycotting the festival. Seven staff members of RFFF have tried to raise their minimum budget of 200 million won without any support from the city government, depending on the financial aid of private companies and the support of volunteers.
Members of the film industry who are against PiFan include directors Park Chan-wook
and Bong Joon-ho
and actors Choi Min-sik
, Lee Young-ae
and Sul Kyung-gu
. Park has recently registered as "Real Fanta Family" and made a donation to the festival.
Real Fantastic Film Festival 2005
"Aelita", the opening film for the Real Fantastic Film Festival
The festival kicks off with the 1924 Soviet sci-fi silent film "Aelita", and will show about 60 short and feature films on two screens at Seoul Art Cinema and Film Forum in Chongro, downtown Seoul. The film closing the festival will also be the winner of the Audience Award.
The opening film, directed by Yakov Protazanov, is about a Soviet engineer Los and his colleague who build a spaceship and travel to Mars. The planet is governed by a cruel dictator who has a beautiful daughter, Aelita, with whom Los falls in love. The film is accompanied by live performance by musician Song Hyun-joo.
"It was difficult to organize the festival, mainly due to financial problems", said RFFF director Kim on Tuesday during a news conference at the Press Center in Seoul. "But the festival is going to take place thanks to all of the support from those who understand what our festival means".
The event consists of five sections _ Special Program, Fantastic Planet, Fantastica Koreana, Short and Fantastic, and Special Screening.
The highlight of the event is Special Program: Marx Attacks!!! _ Sci-Fi Movies from Eastern Europe, which will show 12 films from countries such as Poland, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Romania from the 1950s to the 1980s, including two films by Andrei Tarkovsky.
Fantastica Koreana will show seven recent Korean films such as "Blood Rain", "Crying Fist" and "A Bittersweet Life". The Special Screening section will show Korean films of the late 1930s and 1940s.
9th Puchon International Film Festival
The 9th PiFan will show a total of 172 films from 32 countries on eight screens in Puchon City Hall, Puchon Civil Auditorium, Bocksagol Cultural Center and theaters across the city on July 14-21 with the post festival period during July 22-23.
The festival will show two films each for the opening and closing ceremony _ "Night Watch" and "Battle in Heaven" as the opening films and "Open Water" and "The Wind Mill Palm Forest" as the closing films.
"This year, we will focus on showing a variety of films so that everyone can enjoy the festival", said Zeong Cho-sin, program director of PiFan, during a news conference at the Sejong Hotel Tuesday. "We decided to have two films each as the opening and closing films, and we have more films that will attract family audiences as well".
Zeong added that last year, only about 3,800 Puchon citizens came to the festival, which means that the festival was ignored by people from the host city and enjoyed by viewers from other regions.
The festival consists of four main sections _ Puchon Choice, World Fantastic Cinema, Fantastic Short Films, Family Section _ along with six special programs and a retrospective.
In Puchon Choice, the festival's official competition section, nine feature films and nine short films will compete. Various short films from the world will be shown in the Fantastic Short Films section.
The Real Fantastic Film Festival
When: July 14-23
Where: Seoul Art Cinema, Film Forum in Chongro, Seoul
How much: 6,000 won
Info: Call (02) 927-8440 or visit Open the link
The 9th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival
When: July 14-21 with post festival on July 22-23
Where: Puchon, Kyonggi Province
How much: 5,000 to 10,000 won
Info: Call (032) 345-6313 or visit Open the link