The Bucheon International Film Festival (21-31 July 2016), which started as the Fantastic Film Festival in 1997, celebrated its 20th year. BIFAN is the biggest festival of its kind in Asia, and it plays a significant role in the Korean film Industry, with a unique style of film programmes and events. This year, it showed 320 quality films from 49 countries, that catered to the tastes of a varied audience.
The 11-day programme had the following sections:
General Section Bucheon Choice Feature and Shorts; Korean Fantastic Feature and Shorts ; World Fantastic Red; Word Fantastic Blue ; Family Zone; Forbidden Zone; Fantastic Shorts Films; 20 Years, 20 Favourites,
Special Sections Gaumont: 120 Years of Cinema; A Black Star that Fell to the Earth; Tribute to David Bowie; I Confess, Nakashima Tetsuya; Best of Asia; Bleach vs Naruto; Calling for the Freedom of Expression in the Korean Film Industry.
BIFAN conferred the following Awards:
Bucheon Choice; Korean Fantastic; European Fantastic Film Festival Federation Asian Award; NETPAC award; Save Energy, Save Earth Award; BIFAN Children Jury Award
The 320 films screened were divided into different categories, and 20 juries adjudged the films selected for the awards. In addition, there was a Children Jury for the “Family Zone”. This helped in bringing the festival and the jury closer to the people of Bucheon, in forming a future audience, infusing cultural sensitivity in children and teenagers, and in making the festival an outing for the entire family.
The NETPAC jury, comprising Tsengel Davaasambuu (Mongolia), Pyeon Jang-wan (South Korea) and Jouni Hokkanen (Finland), watched 10 interesting and quality films from five countries that were part of the World Fantastic Blue section. It awarded UK director Paul Spurrier’s made-in- Thailand film, The Forest for its new way of expressing the fantastic. It was difficult to read it as a fantastic film till the end, when two young people – a boy and a girl, both dead, Only after the decision made, did we realise that the film was from NAFF (Network of Fantastic Film). Paul Spurrier was born in England in 1967 and studied at London International Film School. After his debut feature Underground (1998), he directed P (2004), which was shown at over the twenty international film festivals including Edinburg and Bucheon. P was released theatrically in over 20 countries.
As a jury, we were delighted to be at the festival. The hospitality we enjoyed and the care with which we were received were exceptional. We believe that this is festival that NETPAC should promote in future. We thank the Festival’s organizing committee and the people of Bucheon. And a very special thanks for this fantastic experience to Ms. Jeannette Hereniko, Mr. Ashley Ratnavibhushana and to Choi Yong-bae, Director, Bucheon Inertantional Fantastic Film Festival and Mr Chung Jiyoung, Chairman of Bucheon’s Organizing Committee .
-by Dr. (Ms.)Tsengel. D