The 25th BIFAN’s Industry Program, B.I.G,
Is Set to Officially Kick Off!
Fantastic Film School lectures and It Project meetings to be held online
NAFF’s Project Spotlight: Korea to introduce 11 projects
Online platforms such as b.square and gather.town to be utilized
▲ Official B.I.G 2021 Poster
The 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN, Festival Director SHIN Chul) will be opening the doors to this year’s B.I.G (BIFAN Industry Gathering) on July 8 (Thu.) along with the start of the opening ceremony. B.I.G’s programs include NAFF Fantastic Film School and It Project market. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the programs will be operated on online platforms.
BIFAN's genre film education program, Fantastic Film School, will be held online from July 8 (Thu.) to 14 (Wed.). Taking on the role of dean this year is Hanmac Culture Group CEO Jonathan KIM, who has produced/executive produced more than 30 films, including Piano Man (1996), A Promise (1998), Silmido (2003), To Catch a Virgin Ghost (2004), Monopoly (2006), and Jang-Gae: The Foreigner (2020). Eight film industry professionals - including Todd BROWN, Evrim ERSOY, Tony KAYE, KIM Wonkuk, Alexandre O. PHILIPPE, Kerry Deignan ROY, and Michelle SON - will be taking part as lecturers. Tony KAYE, who is famous for directing films such as American History X and Detachment, will also be teaching a master class. The lecturers will be teaching 100 participants (including auditing students) from 17 countries. Among the students auditing the program, 22 are Bucheon residents who have been invited by BIFAN and the Bucheon Media Center.
The It Project is the world’s first genre film project market. As such, it discovers imaginative Asian genre film projects, and provides investment and co-production opportunities. This year, a total of 40 projects from 28 countries were selected. From July 8 (Thu.) to 13 (Tue.), directors and producers of the selected projects get to have one-on-one business meetings with film industry professionals from all around the world, which could lead to co-production, investment, and distribution opportunities. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business meetings will be taking place via the online platform, b.square, which is also used by the Marché du Film and the Sundance Film Festival.
▲ Cinema inside Bucheon Fantastic Castle, meeting room, pub, lounge
Participants of Fantastic Film School and the It Project market will be networking in a virtual online space called the Bucheon Fantastic Castle, which will be available on the gather.town platform. The brand-new space that reflects BIFAN’s identity will allow for participants to interact via their own avatars, while in a game-like virtual world. Events such as the B.I.G Opening Cocktail Party, B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Beer), Stay Strange Karaoke, and the B.I.G Closing Ceremony and NAFF Awards will be taking place here.
Project Spotlight chooses an Asian country every year to highlight and selects and presents genre projects from the chosen country. Starting off with China in 2008, Project Spotlight has introduced projects from Malaysia, Vietnam, India, and other countries. Continuing on from last year, the spotlight will be on projects from Korea once again, and 11 projects from within the country will be introduced. Directors and producers of the official selections get to pitch their projects and have one-on-one business meetings with film industry professionals from around the world. Selected projects also become nominees to receive cash awards and post-production support awards.
In order to encourage a revival of genre films and provide support to rising creators, the NAFF project market has increased the scale of the awards. A total of KRW 345 million will be awarded in cash prizes (KRW 100 million) and post-production support (KRW 245 million) this year. The winners of the two new awards from last year, Discovery of Asia Award and Discovery of Korea Award, will each receive KRW 15 million. The NAFF Korean Award, which was created for the development of Korean genre films, will present KRW 10 million to two outstanding Korean genre film projects. Other awards include the Bucheon Award, NAFF Award (excellence award), Fantastic 7 Award, and the DHL Award. In the post-production support category, the C-47 Award, Mocha Chai Award, and the SBA Award will offer KRW 245 million worth of support, which is sure to help raise the quality of genre films.
Last year, BIFAN launched the Work in Progress program in collaboration with the Seoul Business Agency (SBA) to discover outstanding film content and expand the base of genre films. The program awards post-production support to projects that have completed principal photography. Selected films receive KRW 200 million worth of support in the form of digital intermediate (DI), sound mixing, and digital cinema package (DCP) mastering. This year, a total of six projects have been chosen as Work in Progress selections to receive post-production support from SBA. The selected projects can look forward to receiving practical support that will increase the quality of their projects through SBA’s top-of-the-line production equipment, as well as through the technical support provided by companies such as C-47 ad Mocha Chai Laboratories. Meanwhile, BIFAN and SBA are aiming to hold a contest later this year, through which the winning projects would receive support in the form of Dolby Atmos technology.
The 25th BIFAN will be held from July 8-18, during which time the festival will offer both online and offline screenings. Offline screenings will take place at theaters until July 15, and online screenings will be made available until July 18 via the OTT platform wavve. From July 1 to 18, audiences will have the chance to experience more than 80 XR works at the Incheon International Airport. At Bucheon Art Bunker B39, which has been reborn as a cultural venue, there will be live performances, special screenings, and interactive events, such as talks and exhibitions. A three-tier operational plan that follows the social-distancing levels set by the public health authorities has been also established. BIFAN plans to actively and flexibly respond to any issues that may arise during any online/offline events.