1. The Direction of the 22nd BIFAN
A Film Festival Remembered for its Films, A Festival that Film Fanatics Cheer For
The program sections that were organized for the 20th edition of BIFAN have found stability. The diverse spectrum of the festival's genre films were classified into 'Blue' and 'Red' to help audiences intuitively choose films that suited their tastes. By creating a Family Zone and a Forbidden Zone, separate cinematic spaces were formed for Bucheon's citizens and film fanatics. The role of the Korean film-exclusive programmer has become even more important since she joined the festival last year during the 21st BIFAN. Movies that have genre film characteristics - a category that is especially fragile in the world of low-budget Korean films - were chosen for the competitive section. A nice balance of new films and genre films that are worth looking back on were selected for the competitive section. Thanks to BIFAN’s programmers who are wholly responsible for using their expertise to grasp and select genre films from North and South America, Europe and Asia, BIFAN will be presenting a variety of films that will give you a glimpse at the latest trends in genre films and the direction that the industry is heading in. A total of 290 movies from 53 countries will be awaiting audiences at the 22nd Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival this year.
A Midsummer Fantasia that Lives and Breathes with Audiences and the Public
The street that starts from Bucheon City Hall Station on line seven and stretches past Bucheon City Hall to CGV Bucheon (main screening theater) and CGV Sopoog has been established as the main space where BIFAN will take place. Efforts have been made so that audience members visiting Bucheon can use the movie theaters and surrounding areas with more ease and convenience. Also, the theaters that extend to the outskirts, such as the Korea Manhwa Museum Animation Cinema and Solan Art Hall, will also be screening films for the convenience of Bucheon’s citizens. At the theater that will be exclusively screening films from the Family Zone section, a festival space will be created that can be comfortably enjoyed by the citizens of Bucheon.
Confirming BIFAN’s Identity as a Fantastic Film Festival
The rebranded festival logo and signature that was created for the 20th edition of BIFAN underwent a slight transformation last year. This year, for the 22nd edition of the festival, BIFAN’s official posters feature props and a character in a costume that is reminiscent of Freddy Krueger from Wes CRAVEN’s A Nightmare on Elm Street - which will be screened during a special program. By combining the Cell of Fantasy with an iconic character that any film fanatic would immediately recognize, curiosities were piqued and even general audience members became interested in the Cell of Fantasy’s unique transformation. Rather than making the posters terrifying, the elements of fantasy and humor that are found within horror films were derived to create the atmosphere for the posters. The 22nd BIFAN will strengthen the sophisticated visual image of the festival in order to approach audiences as a film festival that is more appealing and engaging.
The BIFAN Industry Gathering Program Takes Root
After its successful launch at the 20th edition of the festival, BIFAN’s Industry Gathering (B.I.G) program was able to achieve its goals for expansion and stability and is now heading toward becoming fully-fledged through an expansion of the program’s base. B.I.G is composed of four categories including Korea Now, which pushes for the industrial convergence between the world of Korean films and the film set; Made in Asia, which examines the trends in Asia’s mainstream film markets; B.I.G’s main program, the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF); and New Media, which is focused on the future of the film industry and technology.
2. Program Trends
Looking Back at Korean Cinema by Highlighting a Special Actor and Genre Films
For this year’s Korean cinema special program, the 22nd BIFAN presents ‘JUNG Woo-sung: The Star, the Actor, the Artist’. As seen from his role in Beat - a movie that had far more depth than one would expect from a ‘teen film’ - to his role as a villain in Cold Eyes, JUNG Woo-sung showed that he was willing to take on any genre, and in the process, he developed into a distinguished veteran actor. By looking back at the history of JUNG Woo-sung - the man who is as charming as ever and is spreading his gracious influence onto society to grow from being a star to a celebrated actor, and then to an artist - audiences will able to understand the progression of Korean genre films.
‘Special Screening to Celebrate INDIESTORY’s 20 Years Just Turned 20! Fantastic at Full Speed’ is a special program that will be retracing the history of INDIESTORY, a central figure in the world of Korean independent and low-budget films that has firmly withstood the test of time. There will also be a special screening section that shows all of the films by the man who directed Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum, Director JEONG Beong-sik, and a special screening of The Merciless - a film that gave birth to new possibilities and a new fandom last year amid the fervent responses it was met with.
A Special Program for Horror and Sci-Fi Films Featuring
Genre Film Masters and Masterpieces
Wes CRAVEN, George A. ROMERO, and Tobe HOOPER - renowned directors who passed away between the years of 2015 and 2017 - are masters of film that will not only be remembered by the horror film industry; the names of these directors will forever go down in cinematic history. In order to examine the impact these three directors had on the horror genre, three of their early films have been selected for 3X3 EYES: A Special Program Featuring, Three Horror Masters And Their Eyes. This special program will give audiences a chance to appreciate cinematic masterpieces that would be difficult to catch on the big screen otherwise.
As a continuation of last year’s special program titled ‘Terrible Women: Monsters and Villainess’, which looked at the depiction of women in horror films, the 22nd BIFAN presents ‘The Women Who Leapt Through Time: The Representation of Women in Sci-Fi Films’ to examine how women are portrayed and have developed in sci-fi films, and how they have come to stand tall as autonomous characters. By featuring classics such as The Stepford Wives and Alien , as well as John CARPENTER’s remarkable cult classic Ghost of Mars and George MILLER’s recent masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road - Black and Chrome , this special program will introduce you to strong and phenomenal women who transcend time.
This Year’s Spotlight, Indian Films
The 22nd BIFAN will be shining the spotlight on Indian films. We know that more films are made in Bollywood than in Hollywood. However, there’s much more to Indian films than that fact alone. The face of Indian films - which are primarily made in three regions, including Tamil Nadu and Hyderabad - are extremely vast and diverse. From the types of films that feature song-and-dance sequences that come to many people’s minds when they think of Indian movies, to experimental films, Indian films cover a wide range of genres.
Secret Superstar, a film produced by one of the biggest stars in Indian cinema, Aamir KHAN, is the closing film of the 22nd BIFAN. In a film that recently opened in Korea titled Dangal , Aamir KHAN plays a character who trains his two daughters to become wrestlers. Dangal is a sophisticated film with emotional resonance that presents a progressive view of women and is a movie that shows the outstanding quality of Indian films. Secret Superstar takes it a step further and clearly portrays female solidarity.
Mom - a female revenge movie starring Sridevi, one of the most influential actresses of Indian cinema who sadly passed away at the beginning of the year - tells the story of a woman who seeks to avenge her daughter, who is a victim of assault. A film about a superhero who resists social evils titled Bhavesh Joshi Superhero and horror film EZRA have been included in the lineup for the World Fantastic section. In a film by a witty and promising director known as Q titled Garbage , a woman who has been humiliated by revenge porn finds herself committing torture and murder in the process of getting revenge on a man. Also, three films that became big hits in three regions in India, Zapped, Jai Lava Kusa, and Tiger is Alive , will be screened in the Best of Asia section. Zapped is a film that launches a scathing and exhilarating attack on the corruption in India’s healthcare industry. In addition, four Indian films will be selected for the NAFF It Project genre film project market based on their originality, on how true they stay to their genre, and for their potential of going on to completion. On July 16, while the B.I.G NAFF is in session, there will be a special pitching event for the four projects and a reception highlighting Indian projects and films.
Genre Films Made by Women, the Gender Awareness of Genre Films
One thing that will stand out at the 22nd BIFAN is the r emarkable breakthroughs made by female directors. A considerable number of films by rising female directors will be featured. There’s French director Coralie FARGEAT’s debut film titled Revenge, which shows gratifying scenes of revenge against men who try to cover up their crimes of sexual violence; and Tigers are Not Afraid, which tells a beautiful and sad story of children struggling to survive in Mexico City - a city that has become dilapidated from the war on drugs. Tower. A Bright Day is a mysterious and chilling study of mankind by budding Polish director, Jagoda SZELC. In A Vigilante, Olivia WILDE plays a woman who sur vives domestic violence and seeks revenge, and YU Eun-jeong’s debut feature film Ghost Walk tells a story of the horror of disappearance by depicting the time of ghosts, which flows in reverse. Changes in perspectives that are found in genre films is a worldwide trend. The Misandrists - which will be screened in the Forbidden Zone along with Indian film Garbage - is about the commotion that ensues when a radial leftist young man clandestinely enters a secret society called the ‘Misandrists’ which aims to overthrow the patriarchy and establish a new order of female dominance. Masterpieces that paint a picture of the growth and inner world of women like Thelma, which connects religious oppression to supernatural experiences; Blue My Mind, which is a coming-of-age film that uses transformation as a motif; When Margaux Meets Margaux, which talks about what happens when the ego of a young woman and the ego of a middle-aged woman meet; and Virus Tropical, which is the screen adaptation of Power Paola’s autobiographical graphic novel, will also be screened. From the outlandish musical that will be screened in the World Fantastic section titled Anna and the Apocalypse that portrays a duel that goes down on Christmas Eve between a young girl and a zombie, to a touching film scheduled to be shown in the Family Zone section titled Supa Modo that shows how an entire village bands together to help a young girl with cancer see her dream come true, and Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, which is a poignant tale of growth about a young immortal girl, there are noteworthy films that cover a wide range of genres and audiences that show the changes in gender perspectives.
Experiencing the New Wave of Japanese Films
The recent crop of major films that have been coming out of Korea, China, and Japan have been showy but boring. Looking at the main lineup in theaters reveals films that seem to have been produced based on a formula that guarantees ticket sales. KOREEDA Hirokazu and KUROSAWA Kiyoshi are still making films, but it’s not enough. MIIKE Takashi can no longer bring out interesting major films. Ventures that are fresh and different need to be undertaken. Our House, which won the Grand Prix at the PIA Film Festival last year; The Limit of Sleeping Beauty, which is the full-length commercial film version of the mid-length film of the same title which won the Jury’s Special Award at the 2016 Yubari Fantastic Film Festival; The Hungry Lion, which portrays how women are victimized by secret filming; I'm Crazy , which weaves together music and images in a sophisticated way; The Sacrament, which brilliantly shows the cinematic imagination of the YouTube generation; and One Cut of the Dead, which creatively makes use of the cliches found in zombie flicks, are movies filmed by young Japanese directors, and they all feel new and different. The visual representation and the viewpoints of the films could easily be looked at as being part of a new wave in Japanese cinema. Once known as one of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings of Pink’, ZEZE Takahisa struck gold with his 64 series last year after having spent his career making major movies. In his film The Lowlife, ZEZE Takahisa reached the peak of the erotic drama genre. We recommend that you pay attention to The Lowlife, which is an adaption of the 2016 novel by Japanese AV star and best-selling author of a collection of essays and two novels, Mana SAKURA. SHIRAISHI Kazuya - who will be presenting two films, The Blood of Wolves, which could be called the 21st century version of the classic Yakuza film Battles Without Honour and Humanity, and Sunny, which follows the reality of the internet generation - is currently the most fascinating director in Japan. SHIRAISHI Kazuya was acknowledged for his work in The Devil’s Path, and he received a great deal of attention for his Roman Porno Reboot Project Dawn of the Felines, which is a remake of TANAKA Noboru’s Night of the Felines. Dynamite Graffiti, which will be screened in the Forbidden Zone section, is the film adaptation of an autobiographical essay that was written by an editor who led the erotic magazine syndrome in Japan in the 1970s. The film will give you a look at the erotic landscape of that time period.
3. Features of B.I.G
B.I.G, an Industry Program that Looks to the Future of the Asian Film Industry
BIFAN Industry Gathering (B.I.G), which was launched as a combination of BIFAN’s existing NAFF program and other industry programs, is continuing on in a stabilized manner. NAFF, which consists of It Project and Fantastic Film School, is currently in its 11th year and is planning to continue discovering new talents within the world of Asian genre films. Korea Now, which was formed as a result of the solidarity between BIFAN and various organizations in the Korean film industry; Made in Asia, which was created to share the dominant trends of the Asian film industry and form a solid network; and New Media, which captures the new trends in media, will be showing how they have grown and expanded.
Made in Asia - Capturing the Dominant Trends in Asia’s Film Industry
Now in its third year, Made in Asia is a unique program in that it showcases the biggest hit films from different Asian countries under its ‘Best of Asia’ program, while also examining industrial trends in Asia and providing networking opportunities for Asian producers. If the purpose of a genre film festival is to ‘discover’ the newest styles in filmmaking and the up-andcoming masters of genre films, Best of Asia’s purpose is to show the current mainstream trends that have been selected by the audiences and movie markets of different countries. Not only does Made in Asia offer a chance for audiences to see the newest hit films from the Asian film industry, but it also acts as a stepping stone for the establishment of a network for Asia’s leading producers.
VR is a hot topic of conversation in the film world. Since last year, international film festivals like the Venice Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival have been introducing VR films in competition sections. For this year’s VR section, BIFAN invited films that have been receiving worldwide attention with the goal of determining the current status of narrative VR contents. The overall purpose of the VR section is to bring creators together and have them share each other’s experiences and visions, and to show the results of those conversations to the public. First, an attempt was made to show the contemporary view of VR by having a balance of foreign films and domestic films that were well-received at overseas film festivals. Also, in consideration of the fact that most people are unfamiliar with VR experiences, an emphasis was placed on space organization and device configuration so that a neutral zone of emotion can be built between reality and virtual reality when the VR contents are being experienced. In addition, we tried to experience the development of VR hardware technology through the new SAMSUNG Odyssey.