South Korean Smartphone Film Fest Announces 2014 Winners

Filmmaker and Olleh festival director Lee Jun-ik

Twitter Korea was among sponsors of eight prizes for shorts made on mobile devices

The fourth Olleh International Smartphone Film Festival announced this year's eight winners on Monday evening, with Twitter Korea among others awarding short films created on mobile devices.

The Olleh fest was launched three years ago in South Korea, which has the world's highest penetration rate for smartphones, with some 80 percent of the population using the devices. “Olleh” is the brand slogan of KT Corporation, Korea’s first carrier of iPhones, and esteemed filmmaker Lee Jun-ik has served as festival director since its inception. Last year, a feature film shot on a mobile device by one of the festival's past winners hit local theaters.

This year, a diverse demographic group, ranging from elementary school students to a 73-year-old man representing 43 countries, submitted nearly 1,000 films — marking a 30-percent hike from last year according to organizers.

A jury of star Korean filmmakers presided over the awards, with Ryoo Seung-wan acting as this year's jury chair. "I thought it was going to be like judging homemade videos but the jury process involved a lot of intense, lively debate; I was impressed by the creativity of many of the films," said Ryoo.

The top prizes went to Korea's Artificial Intelligence by Kim Tae-hyung and France's Cercle Vicieux by Sylvain Certain in the 10-minute category (cash prize of $8,000 and smart device). The Prayer by Yoo Su-jin and God Is Dead by Sathapranavan Sathasivam, also hailing from Korea and France, respectively, were top winners in the one-minute competition ($4,000 and smart device).

The four special prizes ($3,000 and smart device) went to filmmakers from home.

The "6Sec." award, inspired by Vine, was sponsored by Twitter Korea and awarded to Almost Home by Choi Brandy. The Future of Tongue by Jeong Ga-young took home the "Be Funny" award, presented by Be FUNNY Studio, a digital content company that collaborates with talent agency CAA. The KineMaster prize went to Dust Off the Blanket by Lee Eun-young for utilizing the namesake Android application for editing videos. Yellow Chrysanthemum by Bok Chan-sol took home the Special Award for Youth.

Meanwhile, four local stars — K-pop artist Horan, comedians Ahn Young-mi and Kang Yu-mi, actress/singer Nam Gyuri and voice actor Bae Han-seong — presented smartphone films they shot under the mentorship of professional filmmakers.

Winning films can be viewed on the festival's website. Below is Artificial Intelligence.