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Jeonju climbs Korean fest rankings

'States' and 'Stones' grab top prizes

SEOUL — Canadian feature “Drifting States” and Thai documentary “Stories From the North” picked up the top awards at the 7th Jeonju International Film Festival. Now the number two fest in South Korea it ran from April 27 – May 5.

The $80,000 “Drifting States” by Denis Cote mixes fiction and documentary in a story about a man who performs euthanasia on his mother. “Stories From the North” by Uruphong centers on industrialization in a Thai village.

The fest also presented the world premiere of “Talk to Her,” a digital omnibus work commissioned by JIFF from filmmakers Eric Khoo (Singapore), Pen-ek Ratanaruang (Thailand), and Darezhan Omirbayev (Kazakhstan). Pic turned out to be one of the most highly praised works at the festival, and it is said to have been picked up by the Locarno Film Festival.

Event enjoyed a boost in popularity this year, with an estimated 85,000 admissions over nine days – a 23% rise over last year. JIFF is now seen locally as Korea’s second festival after Pusan, following the implosion of rival PiFan (the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival) last year due to a boycott over personnel changes.

PiFan will be relaunching this year from July 13-27 under new festival director Lee Jang-ho and a new programming team.

2006 Jeonju International Film Festival, Awards

Indie Vision – Woosuk Award: “Drifting States.” Director: Denis Cote

Digital Spectrum – JJ-Star Award: “Stories From the North.” Director: Uruphong Raksasad

Audience Award (Cinemascape/Cinema Palace sections): “Veer-Zaara.” Director: Yash Chopra

Audience Award (Korean Cinema on the Move section): “Shocking Family.” Director: Kyung Soon

CGV Korean Independent Feature Film Distribution Support Award: “Between.” Director: Lee Chang-jae.

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