The 23rd Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival officially kicked things off with the festival’s opening ceremony, which took place at 6 p.m. on June 27 at the Bucheon Gymnasium.
The red carpet event that preceded the opening ceremony was attended by a large number of important figures from the domestic and international film industries. Kim Hye Soo, the star of this year’s “Gorgeous, Charming, Dangerous, Kim Hye Soo” program; Jung Woo-sung, the star of last year’s “Jung Woo-sung: The Star, the Actor, the Artist” program; jury members of the “Bucheon Choice: Features” section, Uhm Junghwa, director Kaneko Shusuke, director E.oni and journalist Jonathan Barkan and the jury members of the “Bucheon Choice: Shorts” and “Korean Fantastic: Shorts” sections, director Lee Ji-won, producer & Sci-Fi London Festival director Louis Savy, and producer Lee Jinsook, joined BIFAN to celebrate the opening of the festival.
Other guests who graced the ceremony with their presence include actors Ko Jun, Gong-Myoung, Gi Ju-bong, Kim Byoung Cheol, Kim Sohye, Kim Jiseok, Nam Gyuri, Nam Soojin, Ryu Seung Soo, Ryu Won, Park Sojin, Jae in Lee, Honey Lee, Jung Eugene, Cho Jinwoong, and Heo Sung Tae; and directors Bae Chang-Ho, Lee Won-Se, Im Kwon-taek, and Chang Gil-soo.
A large number of directors and actors from this year’s international selections – including director Edgar Nito and actor Eduardo Banda from this year’s opening film, The Gasoline Thieves – were in attendance, solidifying the global reach of BIFAN, as well as its status of being one of the best genre film festivals in Asia.
Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, PARK Yang-woo, stole the spotlight along with the 20 members of BIFAN’s Children’s Jury when they took the red carpet all together.
Mayor of Bucheon Jang Deok-cheon, 13th sponsor chair of BIFAN KO Yoonhwa, president of MKB Development Bae Byungryang, and former BIFAN festival director Choi Yongbae also drew cheers from the audience members. Directors Lee Chang-dong and Hur Jin-ho and Korean Film Council (KOFIC) chairman Oh Seok-geun also attended the ceremony to experience the opening film.
Actors Kim Dahyun and Yoo Dain took care of the hosting duties for the evening, while Jung Woo-sung delivered the opening remarks.
“This year marks the 100th year of Korean cinema,” said JUNG Woo-sung. “I will do everything in my power, along with BIFAN, to contribute to the next 100 years of Korean cinema.”
Chairman Chung Ji-young greeted the guests by saying, “I would like to thank all of you for coming to the 23rd BIFAN.” He then added, “I urge you to enjoy the taste and beauty of BIFAN, which has renewed itself for its 23rd edition.”
Honorary chairperson Jang Deog-cheon, mayor of Bucheon, remarked, “BIFAN was officially designated by the Cannes Film Festival as one of the top seven genre film festivals in the world….Together with BIFAN, I will help to make Bucheon a city that promotes the appeal of genre films.”
Festival director Shin Chul said, “Instead of being a film festival that looks back on the past 100 years, BIFAN will become a festival that prepares for the next 100 years of Korean cinema.” Next came the “NEXT 100” project’s prelude, which was titled, “Let’s talk about a new 100 years of Korean cinema.”
Gong-Myoung, Ryu Won, and Kim Sohye then took the stage as the next generation of actors who will be leading the future of Korean cinema as a part of the NEXT 100 project.
“We believe that as actors, we’re like newborns,” they remarked. “We’re happy because we feel as if we’re getting a chance to develop one step further through this opportunity.”
Kim Hye Soo, the star of this year’s “Gorgeous, Charming, Dangerous, KIM Hye Soo” program, also took the stage.
“Although I felt burdened by the special program title, I was able to gather the courage to hold this program through BIFAN’s kind consideration,” she said. Kim spoke about her feelings on the upcoming program by saying, “I’m thankful for all of the audiences who have watched me on screen over a period of time that is not short.” She then added, “Rather than thinking about what kind of actor I’ll become, I think it’s more important to be remembered as an actor who communicated with audiences.”
Speaking as a jury member of the “Bucheon Choice: Features” section, Uhm Junghwa said, “A large number of original and unique films have been submitted.” She went on to remark, “Along with Kaneko Shusuke and the other jury members, I will put my utmost sincerity into evaluating the films.”
The audience was then introduced to the director and actors of this year’s opening film, The Gasoline Thieves. Director Edgar Nito said, “While I was making the film, it was my dream to have it screened at BIFAN.” He added, “I am deeply honored to be taking part in BIFAN through my first feature-length film.” The Gasoline Thieves is a coming-of-age story and criminal drama that captures one of the realities of life in Mexico. The calm way in which the film’s story is told delivered a huge impact and shock to the audience.
The 23rd BIFAN, which officially opened its doors with the opening ceremony on June 27, will be presenting a total of 284 films from 49 countries over the 11-day festival period that will be ending on July 7.