The Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN, Executive Director Shin Chul) announced the winners of this year’s competitions for short films, the Bucheon Choice: Shorts and the Korean Fantastic: Shorts. The awards were handed out on Sunday, July 2nd during the Short Film Night at the Culture Hall of the Hyundai Department Store.
In the category Bucheon Choice, the international competition, the Best Short Film Award was scored by Mermaid from Russia, directed by Dasha Charusha. The Jury’s Choice for Short Film Award was given to Austrian film The Hand That Feeds
, directed by Helen Hideko and the Audience Award for Short Film to Belgian film Olga's Eyes
, directed by Sarah Carlot Jaber. Kafar
from Iran, directed by Mahdi Barzoki received a special mention of the jury.
▲ Sarah Carlot Jaber, director of Olga's Eyes
In the category Korean Fantastic the Best Korean Short Film Award went to Get Thee on the Dance Floor, directed by Hyun Hahn. The Audience Award for Korean Short Film went to HOIST, directed by director GukJa. Ghwa the Last Name, directed by Yoo Jae-in, and Jeong-dong, directed by Choi Woo Gene received the Watcha’s Pick for Korean Short Film Award. The jury gave a special mention to MICROWAVE LOVE directed by Kwon Chan-young.
The winner of the Best Short Film Award, Dasha Charusha who was not able to attend in person recorded a video message where she expressed her gratitude: “Thank very very much for the prize. … All our team who worked on this little story is very touched … If you get such a high recognition from the other side of the world it is very exciting. I really love to go to Korea one day, maybe this year, maybe be next year. I don’t know if it’s going to happen but my heart is in Korea right know.”
▲ Hyun Hahn, director of Get Thee on the Dance Floor
The comments of the jury in detail:
Best Film, Bucheon Choice: Mermaid
Another film that presented us with a wonderfully constructed, increasingly fantastic world that we discovered bit by bit. And while it is a truly cinematic space, we find hints of our current world that make it relatable in strange and insightful ways. Its ending was a treat as it returned us to a very real emotional core but also kept adding surprises. It is a film that we hope will be enjoyed the world over.
Jury’s Award, Bucheon Choice: The Hand That Feeds
This is a film that was a masterpiece in world-building, but also added many layers to the characters. With many hints to the character’s background that give us insights into their complex situation, it also keeps us guessing as to the borderline of fantasy and both inner and outer reality. The film raised questions we discussed vigorously among ourselves – it made us want to think about its conclusions.
Special Mention, Bucheon Choice section: Kafar
Sometimes a festival competition has a film that sticks in everyone’s mind for its deeply original vision and tone - for the way it defies category and is truly surprising, but also moving. For us this film was Kafar by Mahdi Barzoki, about a man who feels he must perform a religious ritual with his cow. It is a film that is full of understanding but also humor and a wider view.
Best Short Film, Korean Fantastic Shorts section: Get Thee to the Dance Floor
This is a film that made us deeply interested in the characters. It kept us spellbound by its use of space and location, and by the way it combined a very common situation with elements of horror and fantasy. The film didn’t tell us the story of deep shifts in relationships, it made us experience the results of those shifts. The transformation the film makes in shooting style at the end of the film fits its narrative aims perfectly, and it impressed us deeply.
Special Mention, Korean Fantastic Shorts section: MICROWAVE LOVE
The jury gives a special mention to the lovely film that gave healing to the judges. MICROWAVE LOVE directed by Kwon Chan-young. We fell in love with the charm of a microwave oven as it seemed to have lifelike expressions and emotions. It is an exceptionally imaginative film that extends the concept of human connection and love beyond pets to even include a microwave.
The jury members
The jury members of the two short film competitions consisted of Kai Ko from Taiwan, Yi Jin Hee from Korea, and Alexander Zahlten from Germany. Kai Ko won the Best New Performer at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival for You Are the Apple of My Eye. Afterwards, he gained recognition as a versatile actor through films such as Road to Mandalay and Moneyboys. This year, his directorial debut Bad Education will be screened in BIFAN’s Bucheon Choice: Feature section. After Yi Jin Hee founded SEE AT Film she produced the films Kingmaker, Love and Leashes, and Kill Boksoon, and co-produced the series Bloodhounds. She also produced the films Whatcha Wearin’ ? and The Merciless. Alexander Zahlten is Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. He wrote books about film such as the ‘The End of Japanese Cinema’, and organized various festivals and exhibitions, including the Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt.
The 27th edition of BIFAN is still running till July 9 in various locations in Bucheon. Online screenings will be available on wave till then.