Chungmuro fest eyes past for inspiration


SEOUL -- The inaugural Chungmuro International Film Festival here will feature 150 movies from 32 countries and place a special emphasis on Korean cinema history, organizers said Tuesday.

Special sections scheduled for the Oct. 25-Nov. 2 event include sidebars on John Boorman, Australian film history, Hong Kong writer-director Patrick Tam, Japanese shorts from the 1920s and '30s, and Korean classics from the '40s to the '70s.

In addition to its seven main sections and three special sections, the first annual CHIFFS will include concerts, outdoor screenings and other events.

"The important thing is not just attendance numbers, it is getting young people to understand our cinematic history," festival director Kim Hong-joon said. "Korean films are popular these days, but young people do not realize how rich our movie heritage is."

Kim and the district government plan for the festival to be a part of the redevelopment of the Chungmuro area, the traditional heart of Korea's film industry. Once the hippest neighborhood in the city, time has passed the district by, leaving it among the most underdeveloped in the nation's capital.

Three blocks of Chungmuro street will be renamed the "Street of Cinema," as the city transforms the area into a tourist district.

More than two years ago, Kim was forced out of his post as the head of Asia's biggest fantasy film festival, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, after a falling out with local government officials.