This year’s JIFF is garnering particular attention as it features a completely new staff, with new programmers and a new festival director. The previous head of programming was ignominiously fired and later one other programmers followed suit in what was one of the biggest controversies in Korean film industry last year. The dust has settled now but the new programming team is untested.
Meanwhile, the Short! Short! Short! project for 2013, which will feature projects based on the works of the Korean novelist Kim Young-ha, will be handled by directors Lee Sang-woo (Barbie, Mother Is a Whore), Lee Jin-woo and the Park Jin-sung/Jin-seok brothers.
For those who to unearth Jeonju’s gems the best place to look is the Korean Film Competition, a lineup of 10 new local features that generally yields some of the best-performing Korean films on the festival circuit of any given year. Last year’s 13th edition was the launching ground for both Jang Kun-jae’s Sleepless Night (which was my favorite Korean film of 2012) and LeeSong Hee-il’s excellent queer feature White Night, which went on to play at this year’s Berlinale.
Personally I can’t wait to make it to what will be my very first edition of Jeonju. From great films to its world famous Bibimbap, there’s seems to be plenty to savor at this year’s JIFF.