History of Fear, winner at Jeonju

Business of film-making, selecting and rewarding goes on despite shadow of recent ferry disaster.

JEONJU, South KoreaSouth Korea`s biggest indie film festival wrapped its competition section Wednesday with Benjamin Naishtat`s “History of Fear” named as the best film of the international competition.

“Fear” (pictured) is a thriller set in Buenos Aires which explores the roots of anxiety in modern times. A first-time film-maker, Naishtat takes home a cash prize of $19,000.

The winner of the Korean competition was Jang Woojin`s debut feature “A Fresh Start” which depicts the hopelessness of being twenty-something in present day Korea. The award is worth $9,800.

Earlier in the week (May 4) the Jeonju Project Promotion film financing section announced its winners. “Baby Rose” by Park Jong-keun won the Grand Prize for a feature project. “A Big Day” by Lee Dong-han nabbed the award in the documentary section. The winners of both categories win $9,800.

Despite the somber atmosphere pervading the event this year, the JPP was well attended with executives from major Korean players, including Lotte and Showbox, as well as financiers from Woori and Union Investment Partners, showing keen interest in several projects.

Beyond the competition titles, several other films earned significant attention from audiences and critics. “Dear Dictator” by Lee Sang-woo (“Mother is a Whore”,) about a North Korean spy recording the sad and illogical aspects of South Korean society on his camcorder to send up North, was one of the most talked about films of the event. Shin Yeon-shick`s visually stunning “The Avian Kind,” part of this year`s Jeonju Digital Project, was also well liked by critics.

“Love Child,” a documentary about a real-life incident where a Korean couple addicted to internet games let their infant daughter starve to death, was another which sparked much interest and self-examination for Korean audiences.

With the festival taking place just two weeks after the Sewol ferry disaster the mood was largely sober. After hours socializing, normally focused on thoughts of Cannes, were instead frequently dominated by talk of the film industry’s response to the tragedy. Several producers, directors and distributors held discussions with a view to making a documentary.

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