Ari Folman’s 'The Congress' to Open South Korea's Puchon Film Fest

The 17th edition of the cinema event will show 230 films from 44 countries, including 53 world premieres.

SEOUL — The 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) will open July 18 in Bucheon, South Korea, with the Asian premiere of The Congress by Israeli director Ari Folman.

The Congress, a live action/animation film that premiered at Cannes in May, is loosely based on Stanislaw Lem novel The Futurological Congress. It tells the story of how a future Hollywood actress allows a film studio to digitize her likeness.

PiFan's festival closer this year will be The Terror Live, a local thriller by Kim Byeon U starring popular actor Ha Jung-woo (The Berlin File). Ha plays the role of a demoted news anchor who is forced into exclusively broadcasting in real time the serial bombing of major bridges on the Han River, which cuts through the heart of Seoul.

VIDEO: Live From Cannes: The Cast and Crew of 'The Congress'

The two works are among a total 230 films from 44 countries, including 53 world premieres, to be shown through July 28.

“We have carefully selected a range of films that genre film buffs as well as your average family audiences can enjoy,” said festival director Kim Young Bin.

The "Fantastic Film" in the festival's title refers to genre films, from sci-fi to thrillers and horror pics. PiFan has established a reputation as the largest event in Asia dedicated to genre, and it is also the first in the region to introduce a project market specifically for genre films, the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF). 

“Genre films are garnering more general appeal, beyond fantasy film fanatics, and even the Cannes Film Festival this year had a strong lineup of Asian genre films.," said head programmer Jin Park. "Likewise at PiFan, this year’s defining character is ‘old and new,’ and festival-goers will be able to see both classics that inspired genre filmmakers as well as recent works such as Korean movies that are based on ‘webtoons’ [local colloquialism for online cartoon strips].”