The ongoing controversy surrounding Korea's PuchonInternational Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) has taken a new turn, with thefestival's former director and programmers announcing a rival event to takeplace in Seoul over the same week.

The 'Real Fantastic Film Festival' will run inJuly on one-twentieth the budget of its larger rival, and will featureapproximately 50 films, including 'Marx Attacks! - Sci-fi Moviesfrom Eastern Europe' organised with the Neuchatel festival of Switzerland.

'We don't intend this to be an 'anti-PiFan' event thatdenies their right to hold a festival, however we felt that holding RealFantaduring the same period as PiFan would be the best way to call attention to theproblems occuring in Puchon,' said Kim Hong-joon, the former festivaldirector at Puchon.

Festival organisers are also exploring the possibility offinding a new, permanent home for their event from next year.

With dozens of letters of support received from abroad andthe Korean Producers' Association promising that not a single Korean film willbe submitted to Puchon, RealFanta will enjoy a significant moral edge over itsrival.

The storm surrounding PiFan erupted in late December whenthe mayor of Puchon, who serves as head of the festival's board of directors, successfullycampaigned to have Kim fired. Critics say the action was motivated by Kimmomentarily forgetting the mayor's name at the opening ceremony of last year'sevent.

Amidst widespread protest and calls for a boycott in wake ofthe firing, the festival's programmers and staff were also let go and PiFanannounced it would hold its ninth edition with no festival director.