Chinese social drama film “Damp Season” was this week named as the Grand Prize winner at the Jeonju International Film Festival. The well-established Korean festival has been held in largely virtual form this year in reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.
At the end of April, festival organizers confirmed that JIFF would go ahead May 28 to June 6, roughly a month after its usual late-April slot. But they said that it would 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. Some films will be available for public, online screening until September 20.
Directed by Gao Ming, who previously made 2006 feature-length documentary “Pai Gu,” “Damp Season” tracks the relationships of four young men and women in mega-city Shenzhen.
The festival held a ceremony with 80 people in attendance including chairman Kim Seung-su of the organizing committee, festival director Lee Joondong, jury members, and some of the directors. Gao was not able to travel and instead sent a video message of thanks.
“The 8 titles in international competition addressed globalization, the human suffering caused by neoliberalism, youth who are lost as the traditional family disintegrates, and the existence of a mother figure who contain and support the children living in social oppression and conventions. These subjects are not completely irrelevant to the current COVID-19 pandemic, and they were told in new perspectives through innovative ways,” said the jury in a statement.
Other prizes went to Argentinian director Clarisa Navas’ “One in a Thousand” which was named as best picture; and to Luis Lopez Carrasco’s “The Year of the Discovery,” which won the special jury prize.
The Grand prize in the Korean section was split. “Gull,” by Kim Mijo focuses on a middle-aged woman who is sexually assaulted and fights a battle to regain her rights and dignity. Animated feature, “Mom’s Song” is an examination of a divorced mother’s life, told from the perspective of her son.
Pushpendra Singh’s The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs won the NETPAC Award.
The festival also named Park Hyuckjee’s “My Genie” and Eric Baudelaire’s”A Flower In the Mouth,” as the Jeonju Cinema Project 2021 titles. These projects will be funded by Jeonju and presented as finished films at next year’s festival.