The 15th Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) has announced its line-up with Opening Film to be the world premiere of Mad Sad Bad, a 3D zombie omnibus directed by Ryoo Seung-wan, Han Ji-seung and Kim Tae-yong.

Part of the Korean Academy of Film Art’s “KAFA+” project, the film brings together three noted local directors creating 3D-version reflections of popular culture in, respectively, an urban setting, the future and in the mountains.

JIFF will run May 1-10 with its awards ceremony on May 7 and repeat screenings afterwards. The fest will screen 181 films from 46 countries (142 features, 39 shorts) with 40 world premieres (of which 28 are features) and 4 international premieres (all features).

This year, the festival has revamped its signature Jeonju Digital Project - originally a triptych of shorts produced by the fest each year with well-known directors from around the world - and brought in outside funding to start making a trio of feature films instead. The inaugural set features Free Fall, directed by Gyorgy Palfi (Taxidermia); The Avian Kind, directed by Shin Youn-shick (Rough Play), and Alive, directed by Park Jung-bum (The Journals Of Musan).

“The Jeonju Digital Project is a project of pride,” said executive programmer Kim Young-jin. “As a digital omnibus of three short films, it wasn’t able to be released theatrically. This new version should be able to have a life beyond theatrical release as well, such as on IPTV. We hope this will be a bit of a contribution to expanding ‘diversity films’ like this.”

He added the fest had received pre-edited versions of the films and that Park was in the last staged of shooting.

“Park Jung-bum is again starring in the film he’s directing. I’m wondering if he’s targeting a Best Actor award with this one,” said Kim jokingly.

Organizers have notably honed the focus of the festival this year, going back to its roots as an indie arthouse festival with plenty of Korean premieres to discover. It is also a highlighting the rise of South and Central American films throughout the programme as well as in the International Competition this year.

Special showcases include a retrospective on Roberto Rossellini, the early documentaries of the Dardenne brothers, Koreeda Hirokazu and Ulrich Seidl, and documentaries about directors such as Bela Tarr, Ingmar Bergman and Samuel Fuller. The last is by his daughter Samantha Fuller, who will be at JIFF to share her film and memories of father.

As the Closing Film, the fest will screen the Grand Prize winner of the International Competition.

Veteran Korean director Chung Ji-young (National Security) will head the International Competition jury, joined by Korean-Japanese director Lee Sang-il (Unforgiven), Mexican filmmaker Nicolas Pereda (Verano De Goliat), Venice festival programmer and critic Paolo Bertolin, and Korean actress Yeh Ji-won (Hahaha).

The fest also runs the Jeonju Project Market, with pitching sessions which have previously resulted in films such as the recent Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits, directed by Park Chan-kyong.