Korea’s JIFF ran April 29 - May 7, screening 208 films from 48 countries.

Korea’s 11th Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) closed Friday night (May 7), awarding the top Woosuk Award for the International Competition to Rusudan Pirveli’s Georgian film Susa. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize and $5,000 of production support for the director’s next film.

The Special Jury Prize, also known as the JB Bank Award of KW7m, went to Liao Jiekai’s Singaporean film Red Dragonflies.

The International Competition Jury was made up of critic/curators Philip Cheah and Michael Witt and filmmakers Nacer Khemir, Bae Chang-ho and Lav Diaz.

They presented the Woosuk Award saying it went to “a subtle evocation of the current political predicament facing the Georgian people expressed through the eyes of a young boy: Susa. We felt the director Rusudan Pirveli successfully coaxed a superb performance from her young main actor, and that this was supported by excellent performances throughout, a powerful sense of place, and a beautifully crafted narrative.”

They praised Red Dragonflies as “a film that we valued above all for its mysterious evocation of Singapore’s disappearing history - both social and personal - and its gentle depiction of innocence and passing youth […] We felt that there were moments in this small, relatively low-budget, non-formulaic film by first time director Liao Jiekai that displayed great sensitivity and promise for the future.”

The JJ-Star Award with KW10m for the best film in the Korean Feature Film Competition went to Shin Suwon’s Passerby #3 while the NETPAC Award for best Asian feature went to Pepe Diokno’s Clash from the Philippines.

The Movie Collage Award, sponsored by exhibitor CJ CGV with a two-week theatrical release and marketing support, went to Kim Ki-hoon’s The Boy From Ipanema. The film also took the Audience Critics’ Award of KW2m.

JIFF ran April 29 - May 7, screening 208 films from 48 countries. The festival had a budget of KW3.1bn, down from KW3.59bn for their 10th anniversary bash. It sold a total of 66,913 tickets, down from 70,762 last year, but the fest had 14 screens with a seat occupancy rate of 83.4%, up from 77.6% for 15 screens last year.

The festival included a retrospective for Portuguese director Pedro Costa who held a four-hour masterclass at the beginning of which he declared, “JIFF seems a very, very strange and special festival. It screens precious films that are barely screened even in European, American, Japanese or Korean film clubs or museums, but here, the houses are full and audiences are intense. I don’t see any other festivals like Jeonju.”

He also noted that the festival does another unusual thing, which is produce films. The Jeonju Digital Project 2010 was deemed a success with different contributions from James Benning, Denis Cote and Matias Pineiro in the omnibus.

The festival is also producing a feature by veteran Korean director Im Kwon-taek. His 101st film Dalbit Gileo Olligi (original title), roughly translated as “Scooping Up Moonlight”, which was in its last days of shooting, was honored during with fest with a party showing clips from a documentary being shot by Kim Hong-joon.

In the Dalbit, actor Park Joong-hoon (Haeundae) plays a civil servant who sets out to restore the prestige and tradition of Jeonju’s rice paper hanji with a TV documentary producer played by Kang Soo-Yeon (The Surrogate).

Shot in digital - a first for the director - the film experiments with documentary and fiction by putting the actors in the roles of real people and actual hanji masters in the roles of themselves.