The 12th Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) opened on Thursday [28] with the Iranian film Nader And Simin, A Separation.

A drama about a couple in conflict, the film is directed by Asghar Farhadi, whose About Elly won the Silver Bear at Berlin in 2009.

JIFF stated its opening film selection was based on both artistic and commercial values, but that the festival also hoped it would show support for the imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, whose Offside opened JIFF in 2006.

This year the festival’s NETPAC Award will be accompanied by a cash prize of $5,000, sponsored by Eastar Jet.

The festival is to screen 198 films from 38 countries with 52 feature premieres out of 131. This includes 11 world premieres such as Luo Li’s Chinese film Rivers And My Father and Remton Siega Zuasola’s Filipino film The Dream Of Eleuteria in the international competition.

Six international premieres include Kim Hee-chul’s documentary Time That Cannot Love and Lee Young-mi’s dramatic feature Secrets, Objects – both in the Korean Feature Competition.

The previously announced Jeonju Digital Project 2011 omnibus, directed by Jean-Marie Straub, Claire Denis and José Luis Guerin, will premiere on Saturday [30].

The festival also runs the Jeonju Project Market and since 2009 been acquiring independent films such as Pere Portabella’s The Silence Before Bach, Bela Tarr’s The Turin Horse and Jean-Luc Godard’s FilmSocialisme.

JIFF runs until May 6. The closing film will be the winner of the Korean Feature Film Competition.