Intl. by Bucheon. Animation festival brings healing to audience weary of pandemic

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The 23rd Bucheon International Animation Festival opens with a ceremony at the Korea Manhwa Museum in Bucheon, Gyeonggi province on Friday. (BIAF)

The 23rd Bucheon International Animation Festival began on Friday in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, its five-day duration, with events being held online and offline at the Korea Manhwa Museum and CGV Bucheon. In 2017, the festival became the first in South Korea to be officially accredited by the host of the Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

With the mission of enriching the animated film genre and expanding its presence in Asia, the BIAF offers a general competition section which includes feature films, short films, graduation films, short films. Korean feature films, television and commissioned films, and virtual reality works.

To comply with social distancing guidelines, the opening ceremony had only nine guests on site, including Bucheon Mayor Jang Deog-cheon, and was broadcast live on BIAF’s YouTube channel. Hosted by actor Jun Hyo-seong and TV personality Bae Sung-jae, it presented the opening of the festival “Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko”, led by Watanabe Ayumu, after a performance by the seven-girl group Weekly.

The film is a heartwarming comedy-drama about an unconventional family – a mother and daughter trying to live their lives to the fullest on a ship in a harbor.

A scene from

A scene from “Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko” by Watanabe Ayumu, the opening of the festival (BIAF)

Watanabe won last year’s grand prize for his feature film “Children of the Sea”. The director had already attracted animation fans around the world with popular works such as the film series “Doraemon”, “Space Brothers” and “After the Rain”.

This year’s Honorary Award goes to Jung Henin (Korean name Jun Jung-sik), a Belgian Korean graphic novelist and director who was adopted in Belgium in 1971. Having debuted in 1991 with the graphic novel “Yasuda ”, The director switched to in 2012 for the animated feature“ Approved for Adoption ”, based on his own experience as an adoptee.

Jung has been invited to 80 festivals around the world, including BIAF 2013, and won 23 international awards, including the UNICEF Prize at the 2012 Annecy International Animation Festival. This year marks the 120th anniversary of relationship building diplomatic relations between Korea and Belgium, which adds special significance to Jung’s accomplishments.

A total of eight feature films will compete in this year’s international competition section, and 24 feature and short films are scheduled for special screenings.

The festival also offers employment seminars, film production support program stands and academic forums for those interested in the industry. Details are available on the official website.

By Kim Hae-yeon ([email protected])


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