With a five-person jury to include The Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino and The Duelist and M director Lee Myung-Se, the competition will award a total of $40,000 in prize money.
CHIFFS is to be held Sept 3-11 this year. The fest will screen 170 films from 40 countries including a showcase of the past year's Korean shorts and features and early silent films accompanied by live music played by three teams selected from a contest. Also included are retrospectives on New German Cinema, Japanese thriller filmmaker Kon Ichikawa, and classic Korean films.
The festival launched last year aiming to reinvigorate the Chungmuro area, long synonymous with mainstream Korean filmmaking, although in recent years abandoned for trendier parts of the city. Well funded by local government, the large-scale fest set itself apart from other Korean events by screening classics from around the world and Korea, with the motto 'Discovery, restoration, creation.'
CHIFFS was started by last year's festival director Kim Hong-joon, formerly of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), whose ousting from that event in 2005 caused enough controversy to see support for the one-off rival fantastic film festival he set up in Seoul with the head programmers who left PiFan with him.
This year, Kim has taken the role of head programmer while popular veteran actor Lee Duk-hwa has been named operation committee director, and SidusFNH co-CEO Tcha Seung-jae heads the planning committee.
Cannes Directors' Fortnight, celebrating 40 years since 1969, has partnered with CHIFFS in Asia to screen 30 films from its past line-up - which over the years included Korean films such as Lee Kwang-mo's Springtime In My Hometown, Im Sang-soo's The President's Last Bang, and Bong Joon-ho's The Host.