PiFan opens with 'Heart' to stay small


SEOUL -- The 11th annual Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) will feature a slightly smaller and broader program than in past years with an eye toward attracting wider audiences, organizers said Tuesday.

Running July 12-20 in Bucheon, a suburb 30 minutes west of Seoul, this year's PiFan will include 124 feature films and 91 shorts from 33 countries.

PiFan will open with the world premiere of Korean director Hwang Qu-dok's time-traveling romance "For Eternal Hearts" and close with the international premiere of Indonesian filmmaker Joko Anwar's apocalyptic mystery "Kala."

Special programs include the giant robot anime of Nagai Go, French science-fiction classics and tributes to cult directors Herman Yau and Hiroki Ryuichi.

Retrospectives will feature "Two-Lane Blacktop" director Monte Hellman, Italian horror courtesy of Dario Argento, the fantasy films of Richard Fleischer and the 1960s Korean comedies of Lee Bong-rae.

"We are a little different from Europe's fantastic film festivals," festival director Han Sang-jun said in an interview. "We are a little bigger, but broader, too. As technology is developing, it is enabling a wider array of genres to become like fantastic films. We are interested in widening genres."

Han also pointed out that, with the Yubari and Tokyo fantastic film festivals experiencing difficulties these days, PiFan is the last remaining major fantastic film festival in Asia.

In a sign of PiFan's desire to connect more with the local film community, it is expanding its industry screenings for distributors to 19 movies during the festival's first five days.