The 2008 Chungmuro International Film Festival in Seoul will introduce a competition section this year in a bid to expand its coverage and attract more foreign movies for local moviegoers, organizers said yesterday.
"The Chungmuro festival will feature the international feature film category as a competition section so that local fans can enjoy watching more quality foreign films", festival planning chief Cha Seung-jae
said at a press conference at the Daehan Cinema in Chungmuro, Seoul, yesterday. "All the foreign films in the section will be Korean premieres, and four awards, including the Grand Award, will be presented".
The second edition of the fledgling film festival will be held Sept. 3-11, during which time about 170 films from 40 countries will be screened.
But a string of pre-festival events will start from June in Chungmuro, the symbolic center for Korean filmmakers and actors, and Myeong-dong, with an emphasis on participation by Seoul citizens, Cha said.
The Jung-gu Office in charge of the Chungmuro area and the Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide the bulk of the budget, estimated at 4 billion won ($3.93 million.) The regional festival is competing with a slew of small and mid-size film festivals across the nation.
Chungmuro used to be Korea's key film production area, with the landmark Daehan Cinema and other movie theaters nearby for moviegoers in Seoul, but as film production facilities and movie studios moved out to other areas in recent years, it stands as a symbolic center of Korean cinema.
The first edition of CHIFFS was held in late October and early November last year, but the organizers have pushed up the schedule to September this year in order to generate interest with pre-festival events in the summer.
Last year, the festival emphasized the reinterpretation of classical movies from Korea and elsewhere, but it will shift its focus to more current films which have the potential to become classics.
American filmmaker Michael Cimino ("Dear Hunter", "Heaven's Gate", "The Sunchaser"), and Korean director Lee Myung-se
", "Nowhere To Hide
") have joined the jury for the international competition section, and three other jury members will be decided later, organizers said.
In the main programs, CHIFFS Masters will feature a renowned filmmaker; Official Selection will screen recently restored classic movies; and Mapping German History will offer a comprehensive review of German cinema, in partnership with the Goethe Institute of Korea.
Rediscovering Asian Cinema will highlight the works of Japanese filmmaker Ko Ichikwawa. The Silent Film Fest will review famous silent movies along with live music performances by three cinema music groups. And Memories of Korean Cinema #8 is a special review of major Korean movies made in 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988 and 1998.
One of the special programs includes the Celebrating 40th Cannes Directors Fortnight, in which select films introduced at Cannes will be screened for local viewers. "The Cannes film festival is now organizing special events worldwide to celebrate the 40th Directors Fortnight, and CHIFFS is jointly offering the program as an Asian partner of the Directors Fortnight", festival programmer Ji Sae-yeon told reporters.
Ahead of the main programs of the festival, Color Festival, featuring body painting, special make-up and stunt actions, will be held on June 22, followed by Cheer Up! Korea on July 27, an assortment of sports and outdoor cheering events timed with the Beijing Olympic Games. Movie Costume Play, on Aug. 24, will provide a movie costume competition for local fans, along with a concert by the Jung-gu Youth Orchestra.
For further information about the festival, visit its homepage at Open the link
By Yang Sung-jin