'M.W.' to open Korean genre festival

SEOUL — The Puchon Intl. Fantastic Film Festival, Asia’s largest genre sprocket opera, will open its 13th edition with “M.W.,” which is based on the work of Japanese cartoonist Tezuka Osamu.

The fest, which runs July 16-26, closes with Indonesian martial arts film “Merantau.”

Fest organizers unveiled the lineup, comprising 202 films from 41 countries, Tuesday. Some 38 pic would be world preems, 150% up on last year, the fest said.

Twelve films are in the competition section, Puchon Choice, ranging from Hong Kong’s “The Beast Stalker,” which screened in the Berlinale’s Forum, to omnibus zombie film, “The Neighbor Zombie,” from Korea.

Seven films from the U.S. are among the 31 films in World Fantastic Cinema section, including Bruce Campbell’s “My Name Is Bruce,” Il Lim’s “Acts of Violence” and Phedon Papamichael’s “From Within.”

The fest will also screen films by six leading international auteurs in the Strange Homage section, including works by Uli Edel, Claude Chabrol, Sion Sono and Herman Yau.

Special programs include Fanta Masters: Vampires of their Own, which gathers together vampire pics like Park Chan-wook’s “Thirst” and Tobe Hooper’s “Lifeforce.”

Another sidebar celebrates the 10th anniversary of Japanese helmer Takashi Shimizu’s horror series “Ju-on” (The Grudge).

Czech Imagination takes a look at the strong tradition of Czech sci-fi film and literature, and City of Romance: Hong Kong shows six films produced by D&B Films during the 80s.

Running alongside the fest is industry confab NAFF, which runs July 19-23. This will include the Fantastic Film School, the project market, It Project, and Korea Film Council’s Filmmakers Development Lab. This year, it offers a training program for sci-fi filmmakers, under the title of Beyond Limitation. Kevin Altieri, the director of “Batman: The Animated Series,” and U.S. sci-fi writer Ted Chiang will give lectures.

PUCHON CHOICE

“The Beast Stalker,” Dante Lam (Hong Kong)

“The Children,” Tom Shankland (U.K.)

“Cold Souls,” Sophie Barthes (U.S.)

“The Forbidden Door,” Joko Anwar (Indonesia)

“Invitation Only,” Kevin Ko (Taiwan)

“Kaifeck Murder,” Esther Gronenborn (Germany)

“Macabre,” The Mo Brothers (Singapore/Indonesia)

“Martyrs,” Pascal Laugier (France/Canada)

“The Neighbor,” Oh Young Doo et al (Korea)

“OSS 177 Lost in Rio,” Michel Hazanavicius (France)

“Pontypool,” Bruce McDonald (Canada)

“Private Eye,” Park Dae-min (Korea)

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