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PiFan Closes With Local Thriller 'The Terror Live'

The South Korean fantastic film festival drew its curtains with one of the biggest local summer titles.

BUCHEON, South Korea – The 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) wrapped Friday with the South Korean thriller The Terror Live, though film screenings continue through Sunday.

The film, starring Ha Jung-woo (Yellow Sea, aka. The Murderer and more recently The Berlin File) marks the mainstream film debut of Kim Byeong-u, whose first feature, Anamorphic, was shown at PiFan in 2003. His second feature, Written (2007), was invited to various film festivals including San Paulo.

STORY: Puchon's Network of Asian Fantastic Films Announces Selections 

"I was very lucky to work with Ha Jung-woo," said Kim during a press preview Tuesday for the film in Seoul ahead of its premiere at PiFan. "He is not only a talented actor but also my senior in terms of directing mainstream movies," added the director, who began shooting the film after wrapping up production for his directorial debut feature, Rollercoaster.

Ha said his directing experience greatly helped settle minor creative differences with Kim on the set of The Terror Live. There were difficulties making the film, which unspools as a one-man act in the tradition of Phone Booth: A news anchorman is held hostage at the news desk by a terrorist while exclusively reporting on the latter’s serial bombing in Seoul.

"I was drawn to the powerful script but I was also very concerned," Ha said about having to fill some 95 percent of the two-hour running time. "I was worried the audience might get tired of seeing just my face throughout most of the movie, and that it would especially become anticlimactic toward the middle. But I believe the different camera angles helped give the film more diversity in terms of visuals."

The actor said he focused on giving an ebb and flow in emotional expression. "I tried to refrain from displaying drastic emotional changes, and alternated expressing (anxiety and fear) in short snippets with maintaining a sense of composure."

The Terror Live, a Lotte Entertainment release, will open in South Korea on Aug. 1.