Festival Reports

24th Jeonju International Film Festival – Korea

Mrudula Wednesday August 2, 2023

Jeonju International Film Festival, which is held in Jeonju city of the Republic of Korea since 2000, is considered one of the important festivals of Asia. This year, the 24th festival is hosted by Jeonju City Hall and mayor Woo Beom-Ki, who is also the president of the festival. 

The festival was celebrated as a holiday with enthusiasm by all city residents. It was quite possible to see people, mostly young ones, carrying the accessories of the festival on the streets. In cinemas where the festival films were screening, the exact cinema halls were always full in all screenings. After the screenings, there were discussions and the audience were asking questions to the authors.

NETPAC Jury at the opening ceremony
NETPAC Jury at the opening ceremony

This year the festival was held under the motto of "Beyond the frame". As festival directors Min Sungwook and Jung Junho said in the opening ceremony, the main goal of the Jeonju Film Festival is to give a platform to films that break the usual frames, offer new visual solutions, new narratives and new film characters that offer original approaches.

Jeonju International Film Festival consists of 15 different competitive and non-competitive sections, such as “International Competition”, “Korean competition”, “Korean Competition for shorts”, “Frontline”, “Expanded films”, “World cinema”  (mainly, classical films are screened), “Masters” and etc. In addition, there are awards established by the festival's sponsors, as well as a special NETPAC award. (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) 

The NETPAC jury, consisting of three film critics including me reviewed 11 full-length feature and documentary films produced in Asian countries (China, Japan, Korea, Iran, Mongolia, etc.) during four days and among them, we awarded the Japanese film "Stonewalling" (directed by Ji Huang, Ryuji Otsuka), which stood out for its interesting and extraordinary narrative, visual solution, dramatic structure and topicality, with layers and courage, attracted our attention more than others.

The film “Stonewalling”, is the story of a young Lynn (Honggui Yao) who suddenly finds out about her pregnancy. She is at the beginning of her life, studying and giving birth to a child mean for her the rejection opportunity to have a normal future. Since only one child per family is allowed in China, the girl wants to leave the only chance of being a mother at a more favorable time.

The authors start the story from a very simple and ordinary point, but then the storyline branches out and many different layers are revealed, like social, psychological, spiritual, and others. As a result, the audience gets acquainted with the environment in which the young woman lives, her anxieties, relationships with loved ones and understands her attitude towards her unborn child. The authors in no way blame their protagonist, no one at all. They just show the reality in which she lives. The open ending leaves interpretation up to the audience and forces him to reflect on what he saw on screen for 148 minutes.The film “Stonewalling” shows the development of Chinese capitalism and it takes courage for a Chinese director to make a film about it.

Image from the movie Stonewalling
Image from the movie Stonewalling

“Stonewalling” is the third film by the husband-and-wife directors. Previously, the film was the winner in three categories (“Young cinema Chinese competition”, Best Actress-Chinese and FIPRESCI Prize) in Hong Kong International Film Festival, in one category in Venice Film festival (nominee GDA director’s award), a nominee Grand Prize in Tokyo FilmeX.    

By Aygun Aslanli (Azerbaijan)



Ms. Aygun Aslanli (Azerbaijan) – Chairperson, NETPAC Jury

Mr. Kim Hyung Seok (Korea)

Mr. Choi Yoon (Korea)


Supriya Suri's Interview with Muhiddin Muzaffar

Director Muhiddin Muzaffar (1) 2 Min

1. I entered the cinema through the theatre. I was an actor in our local theatre called Kanibadam, named after Tuhfa Fozilova. After working for five years, I decided to do a theatre director course. I graduated with honors and became a director. We successfully staged performances at international festivals.


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