Mokpo, South Korea

SEOUL – The debut edition of the Mokpo Ocean Film Festival, an aquatic-themed film event, will kick off with “Miss South Pacific: Beauty and the Sea,” a U.S.-made documentary by Mary Lambert.

To be held for four days from July 31-Aug. 3, in the coastal city of Mokpo, the fest will screen 29 ocean-themed features and short films. Festival organizers say it will be Asia’s first ocean-themed film festival although similar festivals already take place in San Francisco, Hawaii and Vancouver.

Festival co-director Yoo In-taek told Variety that organizers were concerned with the timing of the festival, coming so soon after the Sewol ferry disaster in which more than 300 died or remain missing. They decided to go ahead, arguing that such an event would help develop awareness of maritime affairs.

“Mokpo is a working port city, not a holiday resort for the privileged. We feel proud and honored to be hosting such an event where people make their living directly from the sea,” said Yoo, who is also a renowned film producer.

South Korea has seen a surge of film festival launches in the past few years. A mountain-themed film fest is tentatively scheduled to debut in Ulju in summer 2015.

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