14th Puchon festival opens in Korea

Event is a showcase for Asian genre films

BUCHEON -- The 14th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival raised its curtain at Bucheon Citizens Hall Thursday, under the theme “A Journey to the Fantasy World.”

With a notably high number of Korean celebrities in attendance, and new awards set up for emerging South Korean actors as part of the opening ceremony, Puchon, one of the country’s three top international film festivals, catering to horror and fantasy genre film fans, began its 11-day journey.  

Opening with “The Experiment,” a Hollywood remake of the German thriller by Paul Scheuring (“Prison Break”), who was at the opening, the festival features 193 films from 42 countries including 34 world premieres and 56 entries for Asia Premieres. 

“As we know, the history of Puchon hasn’t always been an honorable one,” said the new festival director Kim Young Bin on stage, referring to an incident a few years back when the festival director and staff were laid off by the city mayor for failing to present a family-oriented program and instead focused on gory cult films.

“There have been obstacles, small and big, but all those witnesses are with us here today, and I like to give them a word of condolence and congratulation for all their efforts.” 

Indeed, as if to embrace the festival's turbulent past, a number of prominent political figures showed up at the Thursday opening, including actor turned culture minister, Yoo In-chon. Other symbolic figures from the film circle including Kim Dong-ho, the head of Pusan International Film Festival, attended the opening.

Puchon has long served as a showcase for fans of Asian genre films. This year, celebrated works including, “Enter the Void” by Gaspar Noe from last year’s Cannes and “Trick The Movie: Psychic Battle Royale” by Tsutsumi Yukihiko will be screened. Animation is also among the dynamic line-ups this year including the “Mobile Suit Gundam” series, an icon of Japan's robot animation. 

On the market side, the third Network of Asian Fantastic Films features a thorough line-up of genre films with a special focus on Taiwan, who has been selected as the country of “Project Spotlight” program this year.

Four genre film projects from Taiwan will be highlighted during this year’s market including “Personality Vending Machine” by Yeh Jufeng and Cho Li of “Zoom Hunting.” Other contestants for IT Project, the festival's project market, will compete for cash awards and post-production supports during the festival.
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