JIFF: Everything You Need To Know
Yun Alex, Jimmy Carter School of International Studies
Another sunny spring day in Jeonju City, Jeollabuk-do. Passing by one of the busiest and most crowded neighborhoods of the city, Gaeksa, you can see a huge red cube showing that today is the first day of the 20th Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF). The festival is quite popular all around South Korea. Many people come not only from the Jeollabuk-do province and neighboring cities, but also from different countries to attend this revolutionary and sort of traditional for this city event, which has been taking place for 20 years.
What is JIFF, anyway? Jeonju International Film Festival is an annual film festival which was launched in 2000 and focused on discovering talents who are trying to find a creative and original approach towards filmmaking. This year, it celebrates its 20th anniversary. The festival’s focus is getting considerably broad, so it now shows many different genres of both international and Korean cinematography through which it develops cultural diversity. However, the special focus of the festival was iconic for the Korean film industry. That is why JIFF also celebrates the 100th anniversary of Korean Cinema. Many Korean films which have not got astonishing popularity during the 100-year period are going to be shown this year. The official slogan of the festival is “Cinema, Liberated and Expressed”. It emphasizes that one of the ways to achieve liberty and freedom of expression is through cinema.
The movie I watched when I visited on the first day was a documentary called “East Asia Anti-Japan Armed Front”. I did not think that that movie would attract a huge audience since these types of movies do not have a huge demand, but I was wrong. The hall was full of people. In short, the documentary was about anti-Japanese ideology and showed how Japanese terrorist organizations conducted several armed attacks against transnational companies to fight the Japanese both internal and external regime. Right after the movie finished, the director was invited to answer questions from the audience and receive feedback about the movie.
The movies are shown in four theaters in the Gaegsa area; CGV, MEGABOX, Jeonju Cinema Town, and Jeonju Cine Complex. All of them are located nearby one another but the thing that surprised me the most was the Outdoor Screening, where you can watch movies under the clear spring sky (if the weather is nice). There are a lot of photo spots where you can take nice photos with the original red festival background. If you need some assistance or help, there are information booths located next to the major theaters as well as goods shops where you can buy some souvenirs and merchandise. One of the precious things is the neighborhood. Gaeksa is known to be the area where a lot of young people go to have fun or simply go shopping. So, after watching a movie, I walked around and enjoyed the atmosphere and nice weather. Jeonju International Film Festival is definitely worth going not only to watch some movies, but also to enjoy the atmosphere and vibe which it creates.