Jeonju Film Fest: Industry Veterans Look to Emerging Talent for Inspiration

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Chung Ji-young

The South Korean festival's competition jury includes acclaimed directors Chung Ji-young, Lee Sang-il and Nicolas Pereda, who will judge a lineup of 10 indie films from around the world.

JEONJU, South Korea — Chung Ji-young may be one of South Korea's most seasoned filmmakers but he is determined to learn as much as possible as jury chair of the 15th Jeonju International Film Festival's (JIFF) international competition section. Ten films hailing from Brazil and Ethiopia to Japan and Turkey are vying for prizes this year.

"I'm here to learn from young filmmakers rather than judge their work. I'm always concerned that my sense for directing might be out of style and this is an opportunity to be inspired by young minds," said the 67-year-old filmmaker, who is reputed for politically charged films that have achieved both critical and popular success, such as Unbowed and National Security. Last year he created a stir at JIFF with a controversial documentary he produced, Project Cheonan Ship by young indie director Baek Seung-woo.

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Likewise, Korean-Japanese filmmaker Lee Sang-il is looking to be surprised. "Personally I am drawn to films that show me something I don't know or allow me to realize something new, and I'm looking forward to learning new ideas," said the director whose Japanese remake of Unforgiven starring Ken Watanabe won praise from Clint Eastwood.

Paolo Bertolin, film critic and programmer for the Venice Film Festival, said the nature of his job allows him to endorse a general range of tastes, approaches, styles and languages, but he is always drawn to works like Chung's National Security that are "deeply emotional and long lingering."

Venice-winning auteur Nicolas Pereda (Summer of Goliath), on the other hand, was keen to look for works that "challenge my personal taste and surprise me." The filmmaker added he was happy to back at Jeonju following the 12th edition of the event in 2011 that featured a retrospective of his work.

About this year's four competition films that hail from Latin America, he said "It's exciting to see [such a range of work] in Korea which is so far away both geographically and culturally. But at the same time film is a global language and an art that influences so many people across different cultures. So I don't think geography matters."

Meanwhile, actress Yeh Ji-won, who has appeared in works by Korea's leading filmmakers, including Hong Sang-soo and Im Kwon-taek, said she was going to watch works with "an open mind that is ready to learn."

JIFF's 2014 international competition lineup is below. 

Short Hope (2013, Japan) by Masaki Horiguchi

Hotel Nueva Isla(2014, Cuba-Spain) by Irene Gutierrez and Javier Labrador

Casa Grande(2014, Brazil) by Fellipe Barbosa

History of Fear(2014, Argentina-France-Germany-Uruguay-Qatar) by Benjamin Naishtat

Difret(2014, Ethiopia) by Zeresenay Berhane Mehari

She's Lost Control(2014, USA) by Anja Marquardt

Coast of Death(2013, Spain) by Lois Patino

The Virgin Arguments(2013, India) by Ram Ramesh Sharma

The Well(2013, Mexico) by Michael Rowe

The Blue Wave(2013, Turkey) by Zeynep Dadak and Merve Kayan