Jeonju is Cinema! The 23rd JEONJU International Film Festival Opens at the JEONJU Dome
· JEONJU IFF, first international film festival in Korea after social distancing was lifted
· Biggest event since the pandemic - 150 guests, 2300 spectators showed up
· Focusing on holding the film festival safely - Establishment of Quarantine Advisory Group
The JEONJU International Film Festival (JEONJU IFF, Festival Director LEE Joondong) opened its 23rd journey.
The 23rd JEONJU IFF, aiming for the coexistence of film festival and quarantine, held its opening ceremony at JEONJU Dome on Thursday, April 28, which was revived for the first time in three years. About 150 guests and 2300 audiences attended the event. Among them, the cineasts from Korea and from abroad, including actor Justin H. Min of the opening film After Yang, and director Lee Chang-dong of “LEE Chang-dong: The Truth of the Invisible,” drew public attention.
Jang Hyun-sung, who hosted the opening ceremony, said, “It is an honor to announce the opening of the film festival. I am deeply moved by meeting so many cineasts here.” Yoo In-na, who hosted it along with him, said, “I would like to greet you all from Jeonju, a city that makes me happy just thinking about it. I hope that the audience who have been waiting for the JEONJU IFF for a long time will enjoy it.” Then, Kim Seung-su, festival chairman, went on stage to announce the opening of the film festival and shouted “Jeonju is Cinema!” with the audience. Announcing the opening of the 23rd JEONJU IFF, he said, “It is the first time in three years that the opening ceremony will be held at JEONJU Dome. The film festival, filmmakers, actors, audiences, citizens, and volunteers become one in cinema. I respect and love all of you. I will fully enjoy this 10-day film festival prepared by the JEONJU IFF.”
The JEONJU Dome, where the event was held, was not installed for two years due to the prolonged pandemic, but this year it was revived splendidly and was pleased by the audience and Jeonju citizens. Chairman Kim Seung-su also said, “The year will be the last event at JEONJU Dome, but next year, Jeonju Independent Film House, which will become a holy place for independent films, will be built, so we hope for your warm attention.”
Festival Director Lee Joondong, who went on the next stage, said, “The JEONJU IFF was the first to be hit by the pandemic among film festivals in the world, but it became the film festival that took the first step towards the endemic. We are still being careful, but we have worked hard to fully restore the festival´s festiveness. The audience, please enjoy it to the fullest.” In addition, the JEONJU IFF had time to present the Achievement Award to Lee Tae-won, the former CEO of Taehung Pictures, who made a significant contribution to the development and globalization of Korean films since the 1980s, and his son, director Lee Jiseung, received the award on his behalf. It then introduced the 14 jury members of the International Competition, Korean Competition, Korean Competition for Shorts, and NETPAC Awards.
On the celebratory stage, “Hyeongdon and Daejun” performed, followed by delightful performances by the celebrity a cappella group “Do Re Mi Fa” consisting of Oh Dae-hwan, Kim Jun-bae, Lee Jung-ok, Hyun Bong-sik, Lee Ho-cheol, Choi Young-woo, and Dun Mills. Next, a greeting video from director Yeon Sang-ho, who was selected as “J Special: Programmer of the Year,” and director Kogonada of the opening film After Yang was screened. Finally, the opening ceremony ended with a screening of the opening film.
Although the COVID-19 social distancing rules have been lifted, the 23rd JEONJU IFF will not be vigilant about quarantine. As the opening ceremony held on April 28 (Thu) was also held on a large scale, quarantine measures were also thoroughly taken. Based on the results of the new quarantine advisory group meeting this year, we are working hard to make the film festival safe, including hand sanitizing and medical staff on standby to prepare for the appearance of symptomatic patients.
Meanwhile, a press conference was held for the opening film After Yang before the opening ceremony. Lee Jun-dong, festival director of JEONJU IFF said, “It was a movie that was unanimously selected at the time of the opening film selection.” At the press conference, Justin H. Min who played the role of an android ‘Yang’, introduced it as “a film about ‘difference.” “I resonated with this movie a lot because I had to explain my identity and existence as an Asian-American,” he said.
The 23rd JEONJU IFF, which opened on April 28 (Thu), will be held in the Jeonju Film Street area until May 7 (Sat), and will also be screened online through ONFIFN, an online platform dedicated to Korean film festivals. The opening ceremony video can be viewed on the official YouTube channel of the JEONJU IFF (https://www.youtube.com/c/JEONJUIFF).
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