Fantasy event gets underway after hiatus

BUCHEON — The 11th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival kicked off Thursday night with ethereal music and the world premiere of supernatural love story “For Eternal Hearts”.

After having fallen on hard times for a couple years due to political infighting and an industry boycott, PiFan has started to feel like a normal festival again under the oversight of well-respected festival director Han Sang-jun.

Ticket sales are also up on previous years, with 31 films sold out before the fest’s opening. “Tickets to Japanese films especially are selling out very quickly, even in the larger venues,” says Han.

A sizeable group of local filmmakers were in attendance for opening night ceremony hosted by thesps Kim Tae-woo and Choo Sang-mi. Opening reception, held in a massive indoor leisure center replete with artificial ski slope and water park, successfully captured the mix of rapid development and kitschy grandeur that makes host city Bucheon such an appropriate site for a fantasy fest.

PiFan, which ranks as Asia’s largest genre-oriented film fest, will unspool 215 films in the coming ten days.

Hwang Qu-dok directed opening film turned off many viewers with an awkward opening and CGI butterflies, but then proceeded to win many of them back with an unusual story of love orchestrated from beyond the grave. Film opens locally in August.

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