The Puchon Intl. Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) unveiled its 10th anniversary program Tuesday amid tense negotiations to win the support of the South Korean film community.
Last year, a boycott sparked by the abrupt dismissal of fest director Kim Hong-joon caused a precipitous fall in admissions and press coverage.
On Tuesday, new festival director Lee Chang-ho apologized to Kim and announced changes to fest’s governing structure to limit political interference, in line with film industry demands.
Nonetheless, members of the Motion Pictures Assn. of Korea say they need to examine the fest’s proposal to determine if those responsible for last year’s events will remain in positions of influence.
Held in the city of Bucheon, PiFan opens July 13 with the world premiere of South Korean musical “Ghost Theater” by first-time director Jeon Kye-soo. Berlin entry “Isabella,” by Hong Kong director Pang Ho Cheung, closes the event on July 20, after which there will be two days of screenings for local fans.
A jury headed by Italian director Lamberto Bava will distribute awards among the 10-strong Puchon Choice competition section, which includes Korean horror film “APT” plus international premieres “Dark Remains” from the U.S. and Singapore’s “The Maid,” and the world premiere of Blighty director Christopher Smith’s “Severance.”
In cooperation with local distributor Cinema Service, PiFan will launch a special cash award named after the late director Shin Sang-ok for two industryites who make unusual contributions to the local film biz.
The festival also will host a three-day workshop with Richard Taylor of New Zealand’s Weta Workshop, responsible for the special effects in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “King Kong” and “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
Puchon Choice competition section:
“Adam’s Apples” (Denmark), director Anders Thomas Jensen
“APT” (South Korea), director Ahn Byung-ki
“Dark Remains” (U.S.), director Brian Avenet-Bradley (international premiere)
“Frostbite” (Sweden), director Anders Banke
“Ghost of Valentine” (Thailand), director Yuthlert Sippapak
“The Maid” (Singapore), director Kelvin Tong (international premiere)
“Never Belongs to Me” (South Korea), director Nam Ki-woong
“Noriko’s Dinner Table” (Japan), director Sono Sion
“Severance” (U.K.), director Christopher Smith (world premiere)
“Storm” (Sweden), director Mans Marland, Bjorn Stein