PiFan opens, preps project market

Festival will host 70,000 guests and 205 films

BUCHEON, South Korea -- The 12th annual Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival opened Friday with plenty of drums, fewer speeches than last year and the Asian premiere of Ari Forman's "Waltz With Bashir."

With about 70,000 visitors expected to watch 205 films during its 10-day run, PiFan is the biggest genre film festival in Asia.

Special sections this year include a retrospectives of Korean international action films from the 1960s and '70s, films made by the Japanese studio Nikkatsu dating back to 1934, Russian science-fiction movies and the works of Gregg Araki.

The festival's biggest addition this year is a project market, the Network of Asian Fantastic Films, which runs July 19-23. NAFF also will feature classes, workshops and more than 50 industry screenings.

NAFF is a part of a five-year PiFan development plan that also will include the establishment of a Cinematheque Bucheon and a production and distribution service company for incubating new film professionals.

Bucheon (also spelled Puchon) is a satellite city of Seoul, located about 30 kilometers west of the capital. The festival runs through July 27.