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The Incredible Self-Duplicating Film Fest

2005/06/23 | Permalink | Source

Korea will see two competing fantasy film festivals next month, each presumably more fantastic than the other, after a spat with management drove the original organizer of one of them away. The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) will last for 10 days from July 14 to July 23, but the Real Fantastic Film Festival will threaten its supremacy from Seoul.

The story goes back to the end of December last year, when Kim hong-joon, then executive director of PiFan who had more than two years remaining in his contract, was fired because the mayor of Puchon (also spelled as Bucheon) city felt Kim could not concentrate on the festival while keeping his job as dean of the School of Film, TV, and Multimedia at the Korean National University of Arts.

But movie circles were unconvinced by the mayor's reasoning, since Kim had played a key role in taking PiFan to where it is now, working as program director since its birth in 1997. Numerous movie organizations such as KAFAI, the Association of Korean Independent Film and Video, and Women in Film Korea threw their weight behind Kim, who went through several negotiations with the city without coming to an agreement.

So now Kim has set up the Real Fantastic Film Festival, which claims to be the legitimate heir to the Puchon festival's mantle. Opening with the USSR's first sci-fi film "Aelita" (1924), the Real Fantastic Film Festival will screen over 60 short and long films at the Seoul Art Cinema and Film Forum. It features a special section called "Marx Attack" showing 12 sci-fi movies from Eastern Europe. Kim is joined by Ellen Kim, Creta D. Kim and Michelle Sohn who were part of the original Puchon team and also fired.

This festival crew prides itself on its free organization and spontaneous participation from the public, raising over W15 million of donations thanks to the participation of director Park Chan-wook, and recruiting volunteer supporters dubbed the "Real Fanta Family". More information can be found on its homepage, Open the link

The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, meanwhile, sees its ninth season this year. Jung Cho-sin, who directed "Wet Dreams", has come in as emergency pitcher to head the festival. "Nochnoi Dozor (Night Watch)" of 2004, a Russian fantasy thriller, will open the festival, which will show 172 short and long films from 32 countries. A special session is dedicated to director Park Chul-soo, who directed "Green Chair" and "Push! Push!" and retrospectives for Go Yeong-nam, whose 108 movies include "Sonagi" ("The Shower - 1978").

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