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Bucheon Int'l Fantastic Film Festival to open in July under 'Stay Strange' theme
  • June 15, 2021

Bucheon Int'l Fantastic Film Festival to open
in July under 'Stay Strange' theme

Updated : 2021-06-15 15:50

By Kwak Yeon-soo

The Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), the country's annual film festival devoted to fantasy, horror and sci-fi genres, will screen a total of 258 films from 47 countries this year.

The 25th BIFAN will run from July 8-18, under the theme, "Stay Strange," with special attention to films that tell "scary tales," according to the organizing committee. During the festival, a total of 146 films (61 features, 85 shorts) will be streamed online via the local streaming platform, Waave, as part of social distancing efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In the midst of uncertainty, our message to the audience is 'it's okay to be weird.' Weirdness can be a powerful vehicle through which one can find a unique path for oneself and adapt to the new normal," festival director Shin Chul said during a press conference held at Fantastic Cube in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, Tuesday.

"The Feast," "King Car," "Vicious Fun" and seven other films were invited to the "Bucheon Choice competition," BIFAN's international competition section that introduces new genre trends in cinema.

"The Medium," produced by "The Wailing" director Na Hong-jin, will hold its world premiere at the festival. Directed by Thai filmmaker Banjong Pisanthanaku, the film tells a bizarre and uncanny story of a possessed shaman against the backdrop of the mysteriously beautiful nature of Northeast Thailand.

"BIFAN has deep ties with director Na. He has participated in the festival since the early days of his directing career with his short films, such as, 'A Perfect Red Snapper Dish' (2005) and 'Sweat' (2007). We are all looking forward to his new project," said Ellen Y.D. Kim, head programmer of Asian cinema.

In the Bucheon Choice Shorts section, a total of 12 carefully selected films, out of 40 entries, including Oscar-nominated director Erick Oh's new animated short, "Namoo," will be unveiled.

Eight films, including "Good Deal" by Cho Kyoung-ho and "Trap" by Lee Moon-young, will vie for a prize in the "Korean Fantastic" section. The lineup includes films that deal with social issues, such as unemployment and hardships faced by women.

Opening the festival will be the world premiere of Taiwanese director Giddens Go's "Till We Meet Again" that revolves around a young man who, after being struck dead by lighting, loses his memory, and then works as a god of love, matchmaking men and women on Earth, tying them together using red strings.

According to the organizing committee, the most significant program of this year's festival is "scary tales campus," which provides focused mentoring sessions, as well as production support for short films about scary tales. This year, director Na, "Kingdom" writer Kim Eun-hee, along with Kim Dong-hyun, head of investment for Korean films at Merry Christmas, will join as mentors.