|The 17th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival's programmer, Mang Soo-Jin, from left, director Cho Sung-woo, organizing committee head Lee Sang-chun and journalist Jang Sung-ran talk during the online press conference, Wednesday. Courtesy of JIM|
By Lee Gyu-lee
The 17th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF) will be held as scheduled, from Aug. 12 to 17, despite the resurging number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
"As an on-site film festival, its location, Jecheon, and the mid-summer season, hold a lot of meaning for our festival as its two greatest features. However, we have had struggles in keeping the festival together since we cannot easily bring people together due to the pandemic," Cho Sung-woo, the director of the festival, said during the press conference, held online, Wednesday.
"Nevertheless, our festival continues to strive to share the diversity of local films. Also, as the only music-themed film festival (in Korea), it's important for us to continue to carry out this responsibility."
Unlike last year's festival, which was held as an online event, this year's festival will juggle between both online and offline programs in Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province.
"We have been planning to hold various events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the festival's key event, ONE SUMMER NIGHT, a music concert," Lee Sang-chun, the head of its organizing committee, said. "But as the coronavirus situation has worsened, we will make sure that the events are held following the social distancing guidelines, and will shift most of the events online. We will do our best to utilize a two-track strategy for the festival."
Under the slogan, "BE JOYFUL," this year's festival aims to revitalize people's lives with entertainment and remind people of the joy that film, music and travel offer. A total of 116 films ― including 62 feature-length films and 54 short films ― from 25 different countries will be screened during the six-day festival.
|A scene from 'Tina' / Courtesy of JIM|
The documentary film "Tina," directed by Oscar-winning filmmaking duo T. J. Martin and Daniel Lindsay, has been selected to open the festival. The film will explore the struggles and life of the musical icon, Tina Turner, and her path to stardom as a global phenomenon.
"The two biggest goals of this year's festival are: to strengthen our identity as a music film festival and to incorporate people into the festivities," Cho said.
The festival's programmer, Mang Soo-Jin, added that the committee will be initiating new programs and adding new features, including special presentations of some of this year's most highly praised films.
"I realized how many good music-themed films have been made, even under such tough times, and I have come to think that such films help keep our lives afloat," she said. "This year, we have invited a considerable number of well-made films and will hold a special presentation to introduce them. One of these films will be the musical, 'American Utopia,' directed by this year's Cannes jury member, Spike Lee."
She added that a total of 10 films were invited to compete in the international section, including "The Sparks Brothers," which is filmmaker Edgar Wright's first documentary feature.
This year's festival will also welcome a new competition section for local films. It has invited director Lee Jae-han's "On the Road," which is a documentary about K-pop singer and actor Kim Jae-joong.
A new feature, JIMFFACE, which nominates a notable figure in the film industry, will start off this year with Uhm Jung-hwa taking the first honor.
"We have been interested in selecting Uhm Jung-hwa as our JIMFFACE for a long time," Lee said. "It is not common for an actor to establish such a successful career in both music and film."
Uhm, who has made herself known in both the K-pop scene and on the screen, expressed excitement in becoming the first JIMFFACE figure.
"I'm so honored and thrilled to be selected as this year's JIMFFACE figure. It is meaningful to have six of my movies screened at the festival, which takes place in my hometown of Jecheon," she said.