Korea’s Jeonju Festival Unveils First Titles, Extended Screening Plans

Three Sisters
Courtesy of Jeonju IFF

South Korea’s Jeonju International Film Festival, already delayed by a month due to the coronavirus outbreak, is now to go ahead in its new dates, but in reduced format. Some of its titles, however, will screen until September.

At the end of April, festival organizers confirmed that JIFF will go ahead May 28 to June 6, roughly a month after its usual late-April slot. But they said that it will be stripped down to become “an exclusive edition with no public audience,” consisting of just three sections., an international competition, a Korean competition and a competition for Korean-made short films.

“As the upcoming long holidays in May have caused great alarm among public health authorities, JIFF had no choice but to think about the best way to ensure the safety of the public,” said Lee Joondong, a prominent producer who was appointed festival director in December after a power struggle that caused several programmers to resign.

“JIFF will continue its funding and support programs for filmmakers such as the Jeonju Project Market because the festival (maintains) its role of discovering and supporting promising filmmakers,” Lee said.
This week JIFF revealed details of the three completed films it has supported through the annual Jeonju Cinema Project: “Three Sisters,” by Lee Seungwon, “A Distant Place,” by Park Kunyoung, and “Afterwater,” by Dane Komljen, the director from Bosnai and Herzegovina whose previous titles include “All The Cities of The North.”

The festival described the trio as “ranging from experimental films blurring the boundary between documentary and fiction, to independent films connecting individuals’ lives and their inner sides and telling the relationship between the society and characters.” They head into cinemas now and will play until Sept. 20.

“Three Sisters” asks questions about the meaning of family and stars Moon Sori, Kim Sunyoung, and Jang Yoonju. “A Distant Place” is the story of a sheep farmer whose remote and quiet life is disturbed by the arrival of both his lover and his twin sister. More experimental, “Afterwater” follows three characters involved in the study of inland water ecosystems.

From May 28 to June 6, JIFF will hold jury screenings and online screenings. Then, from June 9 until Sept. 20, key titles will be given extended screenings.