Antarctic Journal, a large-scale Korean mystery thriller set in theAntarctic Circle, provided a high profile close to the sixth JeonjuInternational Film Festival on May 6. The film receives its market premiere viaMirovision in the upcoming Cannes market.
Shot in New Zealand, Journal focuses on an expedition to the South Pole thatveers off into the supernatural after the team discovers an 80-year olddiary. Although some faulted thefilm for a lack of focus, the critical response was broadly positive.
"The film takes onlythe general format of the Hollywood disaster movie, but instead focuses on howhuman nature is brought to ruin by its reckless ambition of trying to conquernature," said Woo Seung-hyun of the Munhwa Ilbo newspaper.
One of Korea's top threefestivals, this year's Jeonju fest featured 176 films in total, and drew ahigher than anticipated audience of 69,000 admissions. Primarily focusing on independent anddigital films from Asia and other regions, the festival awarded its top prizeto Russian director Marina Razbezhkina's Harvest Time, a tragic-themed tale of a woman tractor driverwhose family breaks apart.
Several buzz titles emergedat the event, including opening film "Digital Short Films By ThreeFilmmakers," an omnibus workcommissioned by the festival and featuring the talents of Japanese directorShinya Tsukamoto (Vital), Thaidirector Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Tropical Malady) and Korean director Song Il-gon (Spider Forest).
However the strongest praisewas reserved for Geochilmaru: The Showdown, a martial arts feature shot on 16mm digital by Korean director KimJin-sung. Starring eight real-lifemartial arts masters, the film centres around a competition staged in themountains by a mysterious host.The $200,000 film is being sold internationally by Sponge.
6th Jeonju InternationalFilm Festival, awards:
Woosuk award for independent film: HarvestTime (Russia), dir. MarinaRazbezhkina
JJ Star award for digital film (tie): Czech Dream (Czech Republic), dir. Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda;Oxhide (China), dir. Liu Jia Yi.
JIFF Favorites Award: The Butterfly(France), dir. Philippe Muyl
Audience Critics' Award: The Gate of Truth (S Korea), dir. Kim Hee-chul