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BUCHEON, South Korea —The 18th Puchon (Bucheon) International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) opened Thursday with Maximilian Erlenwein‘s Stereo in the South Korean city of Bucheon. Asia’s largest event of its kind, PiFan this year will show 210 fantasy, sci-fi, horror and other genre titles from 47 countries.
Ahead of the German thriller’s Asian premiere, the glitzy opening red-carpet ceremony saw the appearances of local film fest fixtures, including veteran filmmaker Im Kwon-taek as well as seasoned actors Ahn Sung-ki and Moon Sung-keun.
Stealing the limelight were regionally popular “hallyu” (Korean wave) stars Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin and Kim Woo-bin. Critically acclaimed actor Jo Jin-woong and emerging talent Shim Eun-kyung also graced the red carpet. The five actors are this year’s recipients of notable acting awards chosen by the Korean Film Producers Association and accepted prizes during the ceremony.
Esteemed actress Cho Min-soo also attended the event as a judge for PiFan’s signature Puchon Choice feature competition. Joining the Pieta star on the jury are local director Kim Sung-soo, Filipino actor Erik Matti, U.S. alternative film distributor and festival director Tom Davia and Argentinean genre film expert Marambio Avaria.
Korean actors Shin Hyun-joon and Yu In-na hosted the opening ceremony, which was attended by some 2,500 guests including cineastes, VIPs such as Gyeonggi Province Governor Nam Kyung-pil and Bucheon Mayor Kim Man-soo, film fans from near and far and Bucheon residents.
“I hope the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival can be a breath of fresh air for the post-traumatic stress that Korea is going through,” said PiFan festival director Kim Young-bin, referring to the mass state of mourning the country has been undergoing since a tragic ferry sinking two months ago. “I hope cinema can serve as a means of communication and harmony.”
PiFan continues through July 27 and will close with the world premiere of Lee Gwon‘s My Ordinary Love Story, a Korean romance with a twist of horrific mystery.
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