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The 25th JEONJU International Film Festival Announces 10 Selections for Korean Competition
2024-03-26 13:00:00Hits 787

The 25th JEONJU International Film Festival Announces 10 Selections for Korean Competition

- Ten finalists include eight narrative films and two documentaries.

- Female narrative films stand out, and three JEONJU Project Work In Progress were selected.

- Jury: “The selections are more solid and substantial than ever”

The JEONJU International Film Festival (JEONJU IFF, Festival Co-Director MIN Sungwook and JUNG Junho) announced ten finalists for the Korean Competition.

The JEONJU IFF announced that 134 films were submitted to the Korean Competition this year, and 10 selections including eight narratives, and two documentaries were selected. JEONJU IFF’s Korean Competition is a section presenting a Korean director's first or second feature film and serving as a gateway for emerging early-career directors. Previous Grand Prize winners include directors Lee Jae-eun and Lim Jisun for Kim Min-young of the Report Card at the 22nd JEONJU IFF, Jeong Ji-hye for Jeong-sun at 23rd, and Shin Dong-min for From You at 24th.

The jury for the Korean Competition of the 25th JEONJU IFF, JEONJU IFF’s programmers Moon Seok, Sung Moon, and Chun Jinsu said, "Ten films selected for the Korean competition section are more solid and substantial than ever. Narratives about women keep strong again this year. Regardless of the directors’ genders or genres, the majority competing in the Korean competition section feature women at the center of the films, and many of them penetrate their inner selves.”

A Chronicle in Spirals Blanket Wearer

Kim Yiso's A Chronicle of Spirals tells the story of the protagonist who receives psychological counseling via video call and follows the struggle of a theater troupe to delay the demolition of a building that is about to lose its practice space. Park Jeongmi’s Blanket Wearer is a self-documentary about a female military officer who leaves the service after three years and embarks on a journey to find the life she truly wants.

MIMANG My Missing Aunt

Kim Taeyang's MIMANG is a film about the encounters and separations of a man and woman over the years in Seoul. Yang Juyeon’s My Missing Aunt is a documentary that questions the place of women in the family as she follows in the footsteps of her aunt, who took her own life as a young woman, and the people who remember her.

Autumn Note Sister Yujeong

Kim Sol, who co-won the Korean Competition Award at the 20th JEONJU IFF for Scattered Nights (2019), returns to Jeonju with her second feature. Kim's Autumn Note focuses on a piano teacher, who participated in a first recital, and how her past comes back to her mind as she prepares for the concert.

Chung Haeil’s Sister Yujeong tells the story of sisters who have always been at odds with each other and explores their struggle and family love when the younger sister is involved in an infant abandonment fatality case.

Mother's Kingdom

Silver Apricot

Lee Sanghak's Mother’s Kingdom follows the struggle of a mother and a son to protect their precious family when a self-help book author learns of his mother's sudden dementia. Jang Man-min's Silver Apricot explores the nature of the family as a vampire webtoon artist sets out to collect her mother's debt from her father, who owes money from her mother and divorced.

Deprivation Time to Be Strong

Directed by Kim Solhae and Lee Dojin, Deprivation captures the conflict between a couple who have been infertile for years despite their desire to conceive.

Namkoong Sun, whose film Ten Months (2021) screened in the Korean Cinema section at the 21st JEONJU IFF, returns with Time to Be Strong, which is the 15th Human Rights Project of the National Human Rights Commission, and tells the story of a trio of unsuccessful idols on a school trip, clearly reflecting the problems of the idol industry and the current youth generation.

Commentary on the 25th JEONJU IFF Korean Competition Selection

The 25th JEONJU International Film Festival has received approximately 20 more entries in the Korean competition section than the previous year, with a total of 134 films competing. With 20% more entries, it may indicate that the Korean film industry, specifically the independent film industry, has finally bounced back from the dreadful COVID pandemic. However, it can also be a result of the fact that the risk caused by the pandemic is still ongoing or even worsening.

If it was under the same conditions before the pandemic, many of the films would have been released in cinemas or via OTT. Korean independent films are struggling to get on screens in cinemas, and diverse support schemes are disappearing. Additionally, OTT platforms do not make it easy for independent filmmakers. These situations have likely caused a greater reliance on film festivals, which notion is further supported by the fact that the films submitted this year are quite different from what JEONJU IFF has typically represented over the years.

More solid and substantial than ever, ten films were selected for Korean Competition. Narratives about women keep strong again this year. Regardless of the directors’ genders or genres, the majority competing in the Korean competition section feature women at the center of the films, and many of them penetrate their inner selves. Representative films are such as Sister Yujeong, Deprivation, Autumn Note, My Missing Aunt, and Blanket Wearer. An experimental film of A Chronicle in Spirals also talks about women.

There are also many films about family, some of which overlap with the aforementioned films that are about female narratives. Mother's Kingdom and Silver Apricot put family upfront in the face, and Sister Yujeong, Deprivation, and My Missing Aunt, the issues of women are addressed within a framework of family.

This year’s Korean Competition section truly showcases the significance of the JEONJU Project, the business program of JEONJU IFF, through its remarkable achievement. Three films that attended the Work In Progress in last year’s JEONJU Project such as MIMANG, Blanket Wearer, and My Missing Aunt have successfully made to the Korean competition section. Moreover, the JEONJU Project selection MIMANG was screened at the Discovery section at Toronto International Film Festival last year. Now there is another reason for the industry to pay close attention to this year’s Work In Progress program.

Even not directly from the JEONJU Project, there are other films scheduled to be screened that have a long standing connection with the city of Jeonju. Director Kim Sol, who co-won the Korean Competition Award at the 20th JEONJU IFF with Scattered Night (2019), presents Autumn Note. Director Namkoong Sun, whose film Ten Months (2021) screened in the Korean Cinema section at the 21st JEONJU IFF, returns with Time to Be Strong, which is also a human rights film that tackles the issue of a retired idol.

While it's a privilege to present such outstanding and diverse films, we also concerned about the future of the film industry. We would like to urge not just the independent film industry, but also other film industries and the government to work together to overcome this crisis.

Our gratitude goes out to all the filmmakers who submitted their films to the 25th JEONJU International Film Festival despite the challenging environment.

Programmer MOON Seok, Sung MOON, CHUN Jinsu

Official Korean Competition Selection (10 titles, Korean alphabetical order)

Title

Director

1

A Chronicle in Spirals

KIM Yiso

2

Blanket Wearer

PARK Jeongmi

3

MIMANG

KIM Taeyang

4

My Missing Aunt

YANG Juyeon

5

Autumn Note

KIM Sol

6

Sister Yujeong

CHUNG Haeil

7

Mother's Kingdom

LEE Sanghak

8

Silver Apricot

JANG Man-min

9

Deprivation

KIM Solhae, LEE Dojin

10

Time to Be Strong

NAMKOONG Sun

Jeonju Office

(54999) 2F, JEONJU Cine Complex, 22, Jeonjugaeksa 3-gil, Wansan-gu, Jeonju-si, Jeonbuk-do, Republic of Korea T. +82 (0)63 288 5433 F. +82 (0)63 288 5411

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