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24th JEONJU IFF's Selection of Korean Competition for Shorts and Local Cinema
2023-03-17 19:00:00Hits 918

The 24th JEONJU International Film Festival Announces the Selection of Titles for Korean Competition for Shorts and Local Cinema

- 25 titles selected to compete in Korean Competition for Shorts, including 19 features, 1 documentary, 1 experimental film, and 4 animations

- The trend in this year’s Korean Competition for Shorts entries was the focus on caring for people in and outside the family and society

- 5 titles were selected for Local Cinema. According to programmer MOON Seok, the entries were “of the highest quality in recent years.”

The JEONJU International Film Festival (JEONJU IFF, Festival Co-Director Min Sungwook and Jung Junho) announced the selections for Korean Competition for Shorts and Local Cinema.

The 24th JEONJU IFF called for entries in Korean Competition for Shorts from November 23 (Wed), 2022, to January 18 (Wed), 2023. From 1,141 entries submitted this year, a total of 25 films, including 19 features, one documentary, one experimental film, and four animations were selected to compete in the section.

The judges were actress Kang Jin-ah, film critic Kim Yesolbi, Cine21 journalist Nam Sunwoo, director Byun Gyuri whose film Coming to you won the documentary award at the 22nd JEONJU IFF, director Jeong Ji-hye whose film Jeong-sun won the Grand Prize in Korean Competition at the 23rd JEONJU IFF, independent film studio MOVement CEO Jin Myunghyun, and JEONJU IFF programmer Moon Seok.

The jury’s commentary began with a remark that it has already been a year since social distancing was lifted, and a thank you to the filmmakers who submitted their films for allowing the jury to reaffirm the vitality of short films that hinted at what was to come next. “This year’s submissions were dominated by films that grappled with caregiving within and outside the home and society. Many films questioned the ways to live with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, or featured characters who articulated social issues, such as teenage care leavers, female marriage migrants, and foreign laborers. ... and the jury supported the entries that were accompanied by a gaze of responsibility and sensitivity.”

“In terms of format, it was interesting to witness the rise of YouTube-style vlogs,” the jury added. “It was unanimous in favor of films that dealt a punch with both form and content, rather than completely falling for films with fresh brilliance. The animated entries ranged from children’s to ‘boy love’ movies... Stories that were timely, creative, and pushed the imagination while remaining grounded in reality were also welcomed. [The jury was] a bit disappointed with documentaries and experimental films in terms of both quantity and quality. The only film that retained its experimental nature and was not afraid to speak to the audience was recognized for its achievements.”

Meanwhile, the Local Cinema section, which is open to filmmakers and producers based in Jeollabuk-do or enrolled in a school in Jeollabuk-do, or whose films were shot on location in Jeollabuk-do for more than 50 percent of the time, returned for its seventh year. The JEONJU IFF received 47 submissions, which is 10 more than the previous year.

In total, five films were selected for the 24th JEONJU IFF Local Competition. Oh Jaewook's Bubble, Kim Jongjin's Counting Stars, Lee So-hyeon's Grasping at straws, Lee Jegyong's Beyond This Place, and Kim Eun-seong's COMPUTER. Of these, COMPUTER has been selected to compete in the Korean Competition for Shorts, while the other four will be screened in the Korean Cinema section.

The jury for Local Cinema consisted of director Kang Jee-iee, whose film Entering your heart was screened in last year’s Local Cinema, Jeonju Film Commission Chairman Kim Hyunchoul, and JEONJU IFF Programmer Moon Seok. Moon remarked that the entries were “not as strong in terms of numbers compared to pre-pandemic years, was one of the strongest in recent years in terms of quality.” Adding that “all five films selected [for Local Cinema] were shorts,” he commented that six of the entries were feature films, which is meaningful as it was an increase from the past years, and expressed hope for “more feature film entries next year for a more enriching festival experience.”

* Commentary on the Entries for Korean Competition for Shorts

It's been exactly one year since social distancing measures for COVID-19 were lifted. The submissions to the Korean Competition for Shorts at the 24th JEONJU IFF in 2023 have also seemed to sense the passage of time. From among 1,141 entries, we encountered many attempts that were affected by the pandemic, from the subject matter to the production methods. We were able to reaffirm the vitality of short films from the perspective of creators who live in this era and foresee the next. We thank the filmmakers for giving us that opportunity.

This year’s submissions were dominated by films that grappled with caregiving within and outside the home and society. Many films questioned the ways to live with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, or featured characters who articulated social issues, such as teenage care leavers, female marriage migrants, and foreign laborers. The films often invited silent observation rather than sharp debate, and the jury supported the entries that were accompanied by a gaze of responsibility and sensitivity. This perspective was also valid in the assessment of works that shed light on anxious youth or conflicted lovers.

The aftermath of the pandemic also showed up in themes such as imaginings of illness and apocalypse, quarantine hijinks, and changes in the way we produce films. We were pleased to see works that showed witty details that reflected the times or captured the human psychology underneath events. On the other hand, there were relatively few works that addressed women and gender issues compared to recent years. There was less of a sociostructural approach to gender discrimination, and more of a focus on the liberation of sexuality and life on a personal level.

In terms of format, it was interesting to witness the rise of YouTube-style vlogs. Fiction films with documentary elements are not new, but short films with established styles around a specific platform, typified by subtitles and sound effects, were original. The grammar of vlogs, which document everyday life in short videos, and the conditions of short films do not seem so far apart. There was also relative freedom in terms of quality, and the jury was unanimous in favor of films that dealt a punch with both form and content, rather than completely falling for films with fresh brilliance.

The animated entries ranged from children’s to ‘boy love’ movies, and, in keeping with the aforementioned tendency, depictions of families were dominant, with many entries that visually envisioned the unspeakably intimate inner workings rather than simply depicting relationships. Stories that were timely, creative, and pushed the imagination while remaining grounded in reality were also welcomed.

We were a bit disappointed with documentaries and experimental films in terms of both quantity and quality. Documentaries continued to use self-narrative as a map to reread the world, and one that was compelling enough with a meaningful conclusion made the cut. Experimental cinema's interest in the material and interpretation of the medium also continued, but it was rare to see a film with a flexible construction of the filmmaker's intentions; the only film that retained its experimental nature and was not afraid to speak to the audience was recognized for its achievements.

While we described a set of trends for our convenience, the 25 films selected to compete in the Korean Competition for Shorts have their own unique appeal. Among them were ‘films about films,’ which, while not lumped into a keyword, are perennial regulars at the festival. We saw that while the subject matter and formats change with the passage of time, the love of cinema stands the test of time. We hope that you, the audience, will join us in celebrating the present state of Korean short films.

Preliminary Jury for the Korean Competition for Shorts

Kang Jin-ah, Kim Yesolbi, Nam Sunwoo, Byun Gyuri, Jeong Ji-hye, Jin Myunghyun, Moon Seok

* Commentary on the Entries for Local Cinema

This year, we received six features and 41 shorts for Local Cinema, which, while not as strong in terms of numbers compared to pre-pandemic years, was one of the strongest in recent years in terms of quality. As a result, the jury had to spend quite a bit of time discussing the selections. We would like to thank the local filmmakers for their efforts to make great films despite difficult conditions.

In total, five films were selected for the 24th JEONJU IFF Local Cinema. Kim Eun-seong's COMPUTER, Oh Jaewook's Bubble, Kim Jongjin's Counting Stars, Lee So-hyeon's Grasping at straws, and Lee Jegyong's Beyond This Place. Of these, Kim Eun-seong's COMPUTER has been selected to compete in the Korean Competition for Shorts, while the other four will be screened in the Korean Cinema section.

A very original and interesting story that revolves around a single computer, Kim's COMPUTER was praised for not only being well-made but also for allowing the audience to discover the filmmaker's talent for genre films such as thrillers. It was also lauded for its excellent choice of locations and casting.

Oh Jaewook's Bubble tells the story of a family torn apart by one person's desire to make a fortune through a pyramid scheme. Like his previous film, The day after, Bubble clearly shows the director's talent for making social issues concrete through individuals.

Kim Jongjin's Counting Stars is a short film that strives to be an authentic musical. While recent films that have made similar attempts have tended to miss the musicality and the drama, this movie succeeds in hitting both birds with one stone. This film more than succeeds in its attempt.

Grasping at straws, directed by Lee So-hyeon, weaves the desires and frustrations of today's youth through cryptocurrency. It was praised for its relevance to the realities of young people's lives today, and for the natural acting and directing.

Beyond This Place, directed by Lee Jegyong, exposes patriarchal power through the story of a woman who goes to visit her uncle and meets her aunt, who is a migrant. The judges praised it for its strong sense of theme and depth and the actors’ performances.

All five films selected were shorts. In recent years, no feature films have been selected for Local Cinema, and we hope for more feature film entries next year for a more enriching festival experience.

This year's selections for the Local Cinema section were chosen in concert with director Kang Jee-iee, whose film Entering your heart was screened in last year’s Local Cinema, and Jeonju Film Commission Chairman Kim Hyunchoul . We were able to select good films thanks to their insight and taste, and we would like to thank them both.

Above all, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the filmmakers and producers who submitted their work for the Local Cinema section of the 24th JEONJU IFF.

Programmer Moon Seok

Jeonju Office

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Seoul Office

(04031) 4F, 16, Yanghwa-ro 15-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea T. +82 (0)2 2285 0562 F. +82 (0)2 2285 0560

JEONJU Cine Complex

(54999) JEONJU Cine Complex, 22, Jeonjugaeksa 3-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk-do, Republic of Korea T. +82 (0)63 231 3377