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10th PiFan Attempts a New Start

2006/07/12 | 238 views | Permalink | Source

The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) is set to launch its 10th edition July 13th 22nd in Bucheon City, a suburb west of Seoul. The festival is said to be rejuvenating itself after a dispute last year with the local city government resulted in the firing of then festival director Kim Hong-joon, an exodus of staff, an industry boycott, and the near demise of the festival. The 9th PiFan had its lowest turn-out ever, while an alternative once-only protest festival, Real Fanta, ran simultaneously in Seoul to sell-out crowds.

This year's event has a new festival director, veteran filmmaker Lee Jang-ho, who actually helmed the first PiFan. With a new programming team and "Love, Fantasy, and Adventure" as it themes, the 10th PiFan hopes to lure back its loyal fans while also appealing to families and younger audiences. The festival's organizing committee says it will screen 251 films from 35 countries during the 10-day event.

In addition to "Puchon Choice", the usual competition section, this year's highlights will include retrospectives on Italian horror films including horror-guru Mario Bava, late Japanese cult-film director Ishii Teruo, the silent-films of Fritz Lang, classics by late Korean film director Shin Sang-ok, and oddly enough a spotlight on Audrey Hepburn.

For Korean film buffs, PiFan is working with the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) to present some rare and classic films that were formerly censored but have now been reconstructed the way their directors intended them. Included are one of the milestones of the 70s, Ha Gil-jong's "The March of Fools" (1975), as well as Lee Won-se's "A Small Ball Shot by a Dwarf" (1980), Lee Doo-yong's "The Last Witness - 1980" (1980), festival director Lee Jang-ho's own "Children of Darkness" (1981) and Park Chong-won's "Guro Arirang" (1989).

The opening film this year will be South Korean director Jeon Gye-soo's "The Ghost Theater", a fantasy-musical about traveling ghosts that resembles the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Edmond Pang Ho Cheung of Hong Kong will close the festival curtains with his film Isabella.

As part of a sister-relationship with Japan's Yubari Fantastic Film Festival, a competition section called "Kids' Fanta" will be added with a jury of young judges from Korea and Japan. Another family-orientated event will be a special exhibition revealing the technology behind such films as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy and the remake of King Kong, as well as recent fantasy-blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Almost all films will be screened with English subtitles. The festival website can be found at: Open the link

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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