By Lee Hyo-won
The 13th International Women's Film Festival in Seoul (IWFFIS) invites moviegoers of all gender orientations to — as its slogan shouts — see the world through women's eyes this month.
From April 7 to 14, a total of 110 films from 30 countries will be on offer, including 34 feature films and 76 shorts. Being among a handful of state-funded cinema events and one of Seoul's most popular festivals, IWFFIS has expanded its screening venue from Sinchon Artreon to include three more theaters — the Korean Film Archive, Seoul Women's Plaza and Yangcheon Art Center.
Moreover, this year marks a new beginning for the festival.
"Our 13th edition is like starting anew after completing a full 12-part cycle. If the past dozen editions of the festival had been about instilling confidence in women by shedding light on various social issues, then this 'first' event will be about inspiring the same spirit in others", said festival director Lee Hyae-kyoung.
"The socioeconomic climate may be dim and depressing, but we hope to celebrate 'hwalgae' — the energy of life".
The festival opens thus with "The Hairdresser" by Doris Dorrie, a jolly and colorful romp that featured in the Berlin Film Festival last month. The German film traces the efforts of a middle-aged, overweight woman's efforts to launch her very own hair salon.
Festivalgoers will also be able to see the fruits of last year's inaugural Pitch & Catch project, which selected featured directors to vie for an opportunity to win 10 million won and 15 million won cash rewards to develop fiction or documentary films. Ji Min
, last year's Ock Rang Award winner, will have the world premiere of her latest work, "2 Lines
". The documentary questions the role of marriage as an institution in Korean society through the pregnancy and birth experiences that various unmarried couples face.
The festival will provide platforms to discuss more taboo social issues. On April 11, the festival and the Trans Asia Screen Culture Institute will host a roundtable session on the relationship between women and social spaces, including cyber networking tools. Another round table slated for April 9 will examine the challenges young women face in taking their place in the art world, which follows the recent death of a female scriptwriter that shocked the public. Talk in Theater 1 will invite Yang Yang, programmer of the Beijing Queer Film Festival, to speak about the emerging power among the new generation of 21st-century Chinese women.
Moreover, fans will be able to view a unique trailer directed by young cineaste Ku Hye-sun
. The popular actress made headlines by making her directorial debut through a short film at the 13th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), which led to a nationwide release last year of her first full-length film "Magic - 2010
". The trailer features a surreal, nostalgic encounter, as a hearing-impaired grandmother comes across a young girl playing the piano on a zebra crossing.
Celebrated female cineastes from near and far will take part in the event. Tan Chui Mui, the Malaysian filmmaker who has won prestigious awards at international festivals such as Rotterdam and Busan (formerly Pusan), will visit the festival as a judge. Turkish director Belma Bas, who became world-renowned for competing at the 59th Cannes Film Festival, will be among special guests along with Ho Chao-ti, who represents a new wave of Taiwanese filmmakers.
For more information about the festival, visit Open the link
(Korean and English).