‘Offside,’ ‘Back’ bookend Jeonju fest

S. Korea's second major film fest announces lineup

SEOUL — The Jeonju Film Festival, South Korea’s second major fest after Pusan, has unveiled the program for its seventh edition, running April 27-May 5.

Featuring 194 films, the event spotlights independent and digital films, with one competitive section devoted to each. U.S. critic Jonathan Rosenbaum will head the jury in the Indie Vision section for films by first- and second-time directors.

Jafar Panahi’s Berlin entry “Offside” has been selected as the opening film, while Kim Young-nam’s Korean-Japanese co-prod “Don’t Look Back,” about three young people who see their lives turned upside-down, will wrap the event.

JIFF also has continued its tradition of commissioning and premiering a digital omnibus work by three filmmakers, with Thai director Pen-ek Ratanaruang (“Last Life in the Universe”), Singaporean director Eric Khoo (“Be With Me”) and Kazakh director Darezhan Omirbayev (“The Road”) each contributing a 30-minute film.

World and international premieres include “If You Were Me 3,” the third in a series of omnibus films produced by the Korean Human Rights Commission; “Coma,” a set of four HD-shot horror films co-produced by broadcaster OCN and headed by “R-Point” director Kong Su-chang; “Mrs.” from Japanese director Takahisa Zeze; “Heavenly Path” by Korean director Kim Eung-su; and “The Art of Flirting” from Singapore director Kan Lume.

A selection of new Korean feature films include Moon Seung-wook’s action-melodrama “Romance,” Jung Ji-woo’s drama “Blossom Again” and Pang Eun-jin’s thriller “Princess Aurora.”

“Looking ahead to the future, we hope to continue as an event that nurtures independent film and acts as a venue for discovering new filmmakers,” said programmer Jung Soo-wan.

Retrospectives will be devoted to Indian director Ritwik Ghatak, banned Soviet films and classic Japanese films that were shot or produced by ethnic Koreans. Local actor Choi Min-shik (“Oldboy”) also will teach a master class.

Although never as business-minded as its sibling festival Pusan, this year JIFF will increase the number of its international arthouse works screened for Korean buyers.

Indie Vision (first and second features)

“Drifting States” (Canada), directed by Denis Cote

“Familia” (Canada), Louise Archambault

“The First on the Moon” (Russia), Alexey Fedorchenko

“The Gaze” (Iran/France), Sepideh Farsi

“John & Jane” (India), Ashim Ahluwalia

“Madeinusa” (Spain/Peru), Claudia Llosa

“Man Push Cart” (Iran/U.S.), Ramin Bahrani

“Mutual Appreciation” (U.S.), Andrew Bujalski

“Nuages d’hier” (Japan), Takushi Tsubokawa

“The Prisoner” (Argentina), Alejo Moguillansky, Fermin Villanueva

“Smiling in a War Zone: The Art of Flying to Kabul” (Denmark), Simone Aaberg Kaern, Magnus Bejmar

“Something Like Happiness” (Czech Republic/Germany), Bohdan Slama