Jeonju fest moving toward indies

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SEOUL -- The eighth annual Jeonju International Film Festival is getting a makeover, putting a greater emphasis on independent films, organizers said Monday.

The move toward independent cinema takes the place of the festival's earlier focus on digital films. "When we started, digital was a new medium," the festival's executive programmer, Jung Soo-wan, said. "But today it has no meaning. Digital is everywhere. So we decided to focus on what is important, on what directors are trying to express."

As part of the shift, JIFF will combine the Digital Spectrum section into the competitive Indie Vision category.

The annual Jeonju Digital Project, in which JIFF finances three digital short films, will this year feature shorts by Germany's Harun Farocki, Portugal's Pedro Costa and France's Eugene Greene.

JIFF also will debut a similar project dedicated to Korean filmmakers this year. Called Short! Short! Short!, the new section kicks off with shorts by Kim Jong-kwan, Sohn Won-pyung and Ham Kyoung-rock.

"We want to encourage Korean indie filmmakers," Jung said. "Audiences in Korea do not get a chance to see alternative content, so we want JIFF to expose people to strange and exciting films."

This year's JIFF will run April 26-May 4 and feature 185 films from 37 countries.

Opening JIFF will be the world premiere of Han Seung-ryong's "Off Road." Johnnie To's "Exiled" will close the festival.
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