South Korea's second majorfilm festival, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) plungedinto chaos on Tuesday, as its organising committee decided to hold its ninthedition without a festival director.

The committee, chaired bycity mayor Hong Geon-pyo, also voted to dismiss its programming team, less thansix months before the event's scheduled opening in July.

The current situation wassparked by the dismissal of festival director Kim Hong-joon at the end ofDecember, a move which drew loud protests from the film industry (see,January 5). The official reason givenfor the dismissal was that, as a newly-promoted department head at the KoreaNational University of Arts, Kim would not be able to devote sufficient time tothe event.

Kim's replacement JungHong-taek, a former president of the Korean Film Archive, submitted hisresignation to the festival last Friday in the face of widespread calls toboycott the upcoming edition.

The festival's organisingcommittee announced that a new three-member programming team would soon beappointed to take on the duties formerly carried out by the festival director.

On January 18, PiFan'sprogramming team of Ellen Kim, Creta Kim, and Michelle Sohn issued a set ofconditions to be met in order for them to continue working for the festival,including changes to the makeup of the committee, and full organisationalcontrol over the upcoming edition.

Following her dismissal,programmer Ellen Kim is quoted as saying, "As of the meeting today, thePiFan festival that people loved and enjoyed no longer exists."