11th Puchon fest zips into action


BUCHEON, South Korea -- The 11th annual Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival kicked off Thursday with a flurry of spotlights and pageantry.

At just over 30 minutes long, this year's opening ceremonies represented the festival's zippiest opening in years, if not ever.

Festival director Han Sang-jun repeatedly thanked all the VIPs and government officials who attended in a well-rehearsed and well-memorized speech.

Bucheon mayor and festival chairman Hong Gun-pyo wore an elegant navy blue and pink hanbok, or Korean traditional outfit, as he greeted the audience.

A trio playing Korean traditional instruments opened the festival with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and the Russian classic "One Million Roses" (which is very popular in Korea and Japan).

The always-enthusiastic Korean audience gave an extra-loud cheer with the introduction of short-film jury member Nagai Go, famous for his giant robot comics such as "Mazinger Z."

"It takes at least a decade to make something solid and valuable," said Ahn Sung-ki, the famous actor and elder statesmen of the Korean film industry, after the opening. "I'm happy to see PiFan continuing to do well after all this time."

Following the opening was the world premiere of Hwang Qu-dok's "For Eternal Hearts."

The PiFan festival runs through July 21.