Chinese director Ju Anqi’s Poet On A Business Trip won the 16th Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF)’s Grand Prize in the International Competition.

Ahn Koocjin’s Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) feature production Alice In Earnestland picked up the Grand Prize in the Korean Competition.

Supported by the Rotterdam film festival’s Hubert Bals Fund, Poet On A Business Trip made its world premiere in Rotterdam and its Asian premiere at Jeonju. Completed more than a decade after it was shot, the film documents the poet Shu as he goes on a tour of the Xinjiang region in 2002, visiting the Uighur people of the area and composing 16 poems on his “business trip”.

Awarding the film its KW20m ($19,700) award, the International Jury called it “simple, curious, artful and ultimately very moving.”

“This selection of emerging filmmakers has been characterized by a risk-taking independent spirit, which we hope they will all take into their future projects,” said jury member and BFI London Film Festival programmer Kate Taylor.

Korean Feature Competition

With all its screenings sold out during the fest, Alice In Earnestland has proved popular with audiences and critics alike. About the trials and tribulations of a woman earnestly working to pay mounting hospital bills for her husband in a vegetative state, Ahn’s feature directorial debut made its world premiere at Jeonju and earned KW10m ($9,850) with the Grand Prize.

The Korean Feature Competition jury said, “Funny, shocking and sometimes cruel, this film has enough invention and energy to take your breath away.”

JIFF continues until May 9 with screenings of award winners and the fest’s hottest titles.

Award-winners list

1. International Competition

Grand Prize (JB Bank Award)
Poet On A Business Trip, dir Ju Anqi

Best Picture Prize (Woosuk Award)
Navajazo dir Ricardo Silva)

Special Jury Prize
Parabellum dir. Lukas Valenta Rinner

Special Mention Award
Esme Madra, main lead from Until I Lose My Breath

2. Korean Competition

Grand Prize
Alice In Earnestland, dir Ahn Goocjin

Special Mention Award
Stay With Me, dir Rhee Jinwoo

CGV Arthouse Distribution Support Prize
With Or Without You, dir Park Hyuckjee

CGV Arthouse Upcoming Project Prize
To Be Sixteen, dir Kim Hyeonseung

3. NETPAC Prize
Under The Sun, dir Ahn Seulki