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Film festival to address gender hostility

  • Published : May 11, 2016 - 16:57
  • Updated : May 11, 2016 - 16:57

Actress Kim Ah-joong (left) is appointed the promotional ambassador of the Seoul International Women’s Film Festival on Tuesday at the Korea Broadcasting Art School in Seoul as Kim Sun-ah, executive director and chief programmer of the film festival, looks on. (Yonhap)
The Seoul International Women’s Film Festival will this year highlight some of the most debated gender issues in society today, through movies that deal with sexual slavery, lesbianism and women’s rights.

“The hostility between genders is serious today,” said Lee Hyae-kyung, honorary director of the festival, at a press conference on Tuesday at the Korea Broadcasting Art School in Seoul. “The basic sentiment of our age is fear -- fear of marriage, fear of scrutiny and fear of crime. We feel that the role of our festival is more important than ever.”

The festival, which is in its 18th edition this year, will screen a total of 118 movies from 27 countries, from June 2-8 at the Megabox Sinchon cinema. Most of the films are by female directors, with the exception of some 10 percent which are made by male directors but highlight women’s issues.

“Suffragette” (2015), a British historical period drama directed by Sarah Gavron and starring Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep will open this year’s festival. The film depicts the burgeoning feminist movement in the early 1900s and its brutal oppression.

The Polemics section will screen seven films that deal with sexual slavery throughout Asia, through works such as German director Bjorn Jensen’s documentary “Forgotten Sex Slaves -- Comfort Women in the Philippines” and Korean director Cho Jung-rae’s feature film “Spirits’ Homecoming,” which deals with wartime Japanese military sex slaves from Korea. Also featured will be Chinese director Guo Ke’s documentary “22 (Her Brave Life),” a Korea-China joint production that captures the present reality of surviving Chinese sex slaves from World War II.

Executive director and chief programmer of the Seoul International Women’s Film Festival Kim Sun-ah speaks to the press on Tuesday at the Korea Broadcasting Art School in Seoul. (Yonhap)
The New Currents category will screen the latest works of global female directors, including 41 films from 22 countries that explore themes such as love, friendship and history from women’s perspectives.

A special category will feature 120 years of French women’s cinema from 1896 to 2016, focusing on the works of Alice Guy-Blache, the world’s first female director.

The Queer Rainbow section will introduce films that portray the lives and issues of sexual minorities.

The Asian Short Film and Video Competition section will feature 19 films. SIWFF received an “especially high number of quality submissions for the competition section this year,” according to programmer Kang Ba-da.

“What the juries considered the most important when reviewing these submissions was the films’ ability to capture the realities and concerns of women across generations and backgrounds,” Kang said. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded 6 million won ($5,138) and a trophy.

Actress Kim Ah-joong has been appointed the promotional ambassador for the film festival.

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)