Jeonju Festival Stands Up for Freedom of Expression in Post-Park Era

Jeonju Festival Stands up for Freedom
Courtesy of Jeonju IFF

“Mis-President,” a film that picks at the myth of South Korea’s recently impeached president Park Geun-hye, is a clear example of the independent editorial line being championed by the Jeonju International Film Festival. The film will play in the festival’s Korea Cinemascape section, it was announced today.

“This year’s festival slogan, a haven for cinematic expression, shows filmmakers as defending freedom of expression against all (political) pressure,” said Jeonju mayor Kim Seung-su. “Last year, we learned of the existence of a blacklist. The matter still remains unresolved,” said festival director Lee Chung-jik. “The Jeonju festival has never yielded to political pressures in the past 17 years. […] It’ll be the same this year,” said executive programmer Kim Young-jin.

This year’s edition (April 27 to May 6) includes a new section, Front Line, for innovative films with controversial subjects. Matthew Heineman’s documentary about Islamic State (ISIS), “City of Ghosts” is among the selection.

Jeonju, Korea’s second largest film festival, will open with Ildiko Enyedi’s Berlinale-winning “On Body and Soul” and close with “Survival Family” by Japan’s Shinobu Yaguchi.

The festival will present special focus sections on 1980s Korean screenwriter Song Gil-han (“Mandara”,) British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom, Russian director Aleksey German, and Italian New Cinema.

  • State prosecutors today announced a formal application to arrest the deposed president, Park. Confirmation of Park’s impeachment, and her loss of immunity from prosecution, was delivered earlier this month by a top court. She is alleged to have relied too heavily on a close personal friend, who monetized her connections to power. Park supporters wreaked havoc at the Busan film festival, after it dared to play a documentary film in 2014 that was critical of Park’s handling of a national crisis.


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