The Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival unveils the 2022 program | New
The 26th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) will open with the Cannes horror title from British director Alex Garland Men and close with the world premiere of Korean director Jung Bum-shik new normal.
At a press conference in Seoul today (June 14), BIFAN organizers announced that it will screen 268 titles from 49 countries. Of these, 80 titles will be world premieres and 20 international premieres.
BIFAN will run from July 7-17 with the awards ceremony and closing film screening on July 14.
The festival plans to continue screening some of its selection on the OTT platform wavve, but is emphasizing the return to normalcy and the celebration of cinema at physical gatherings.
“User experience is important to our festival-goers and citizens in Bucheon and Korea. So, in line with our fantasy characteristic, we are preparing a festival with Halloween in July – a Bucheon-style Asian interpretation of Halloween where we can hold an ice cream party in the hot and humid summer,” said festival director Shin. Chul. “The dream is to do like Oktoberfest or the tomato festival and we use professionals to make it happen.”
The Halloween event in July will work with the community – including festival venues and hotels, shopping districts and a local arts school – to include parades, dance parties, water gun fights, wearing of costumes and a garden of junk art.
A24’s campaign body horror film Men, starring Jessie Buckley, Rory Kinnear and Paapa Essiedu, caused a stir when it was screened at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes last month. Shin noted that this is the rare R-rated film to open BIFAN.
“So it can’t be thrown outside,” he said. The opening ceremony will take place Bucheon City Hall Lawn Square with the screening in the main theater of the city hall.
Closing director Jung is known for his horror movies Epitaph and Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum. His latest movie new normal records four days in Seoul, 2022, a time of chaos, loneliness and exhaustion, “creating peak horror and suspense” according to Shin. The film stars Choi Ji-woo, Lee Yoomi, Choi Min-ho, Pyo Ji-hoon, Jung Dong-won, and Ha Da-in.
This year, BIFAN has reorganized all of its sections except Bucheon Choice and Korean Fantastic competitions. Chief Programmer Ellen Kim explained that the Mad MaxX section will showcase new works by master filmmakers and that other sections such as Adrenaline Ride, Metal Noir, Merry-Go-Round, Odd Family and XL are all meant to “allow viewers to choose and watch movies to suit their tastes.”
The Bucheon Choice: Features contest includes world premieres of Gilitte Leung’s nightmare on smartphones and games, Social distancingand Fajar Nugros’ the uterusa story of shamanism and curses seen through the eyes of a modern character.
Lertsiri Boonmee and Vutichai Wongnophadol SLRa previous It Project selected by BIFAN’s Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF), and 23-year-old director Hoya Seiyo Extraterrestrial artists will make their international premieres in this section.
All but one of the ten Korean films in the Fantastic: Feature Films competition will have their world premiere. Programmer Mo Eunyoung said, “We are starting to see the fruits of the seeds of interest we have sown. There are a lot of films full of momentum and energy. I think it will be good if you pay attention to how he is reborn as a new talent for the future of Korean cinema.
Special showcases include one on actor Sul Kyung-gu, screening seven films of his choice, including Peppermint candies, Oasis and The fish book; a retrospective of films from the Korean Academy of Cinematic Arts (KAFA) which is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year; and Boys, Be, Love, a showcase of Boy Love (BL) films.
BIFAN will welcome international guests such as director Harada Masato (kill for the charge), who will chair the Bucheon Choice: Features jury which includes producer Kang Hye-jung, actress Sim Hye-jin and critic Nick James, as well as producer Brian Yuzna (Resuscitator) who is dean of this year’s Fantastic Film School.
BIFAN’s XR curator Jay Kim, who is currently attending the Annecy Film Festival, introduced the Beyond Reality program at the Seoul press conference through a holographic device called Proto that showed it projected into a box, size nature next to his colleagues on stage.
“While visually interesting, the purpose of using Proto was to see if viewers could accept this kind of teleportation. The metaverse depends on people being able to accept a concept that transcends established time and space,” he explained to Filter after the event. “We plan to make Proto available to festival goers so they can try it out as well.”
Celebrating its seventh anniversary, the program Beyond Reality will feature 42 works such as Moon Joon Yong Augmented Shadow: Chasing Stars in Shadow, an XR setup that doesn’t require helmets. Kim described it as “immersive with a fun and moving story”, recommending it as a rare experience. At Kwon Hayoun’s Kubo roams the city allows the viewer to stroll with the novelist Kubo – a character from a modern Korean short story – through the streets of Japanese-occupied Seoul in the 1920s.
The BIFAN Industry Gathering (BIG) will continue its hybrid online-offline format, moving increasingly to physical, including in-person masterclasses and lectures that will be uploaded to YouTube. Previously announced NAFF selections include projects from Maika director Ham Tran and a Japanese-Irish co-production directed by Kameyama Mutsumi.