Loner child, bird friend to open youth film fest
By Kwaak Je-yup
Northeastern Seoul will play host to 140 films from 40 nations when the curtain rises on the 14th Seoul International Youth Film Festival on Thursday.
The week-long event brings some of the finest youth-themed works in world cinema to three venues in the Seongbuk district, an area with several premier universities teeming with young people but a cultural hinterland in comparison to the western Seoul zones around Hongdae, or Hongik University. There will be 16 world premieres and eight first-time showings outside the respective films’ country of origin.
The opener will be the Dutch film “Kauwboy” (2012), Dutch for the “jackdaw boy,” which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and won the “Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk” award for the best film in the Generation Kplus juvenile category. Directed by Boudewijn Koole, whose films have focused on children’s loneliness, the movie tells the story of a 10-year-old boy named Jojo who brings home a bird but must keep it safely hidden from his emotionally unstable father with a history of anger-charged outbursts.
It stars Rick Lens as Jojo and Loek Peters as his father Ronald.
The festival also gives opportunities for youths aged above 13 to compete with original cinematic works, short and long. Some of the winners will be screened at the closing ceremony, which takes place on Aug. 29.
Other categories include Kid’s Eye, for the general audience; Teen’s Eye, rated for over 13; Strong Eye, for adult moviegoers; a special section to celebrate the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games; and an invitational category for the highlights from this year’s International Short Film Festival in Clermont-Ferrand, southeastern France.
According to the organizers, this year 1,235 films were submitted from more than 60 countries, a sharp rise of 110 works from the previous edition.
The 14th Seoul International Youth Film Festival opens Thursday at the Inchon Memorial Hall at the Korea University campus in Anam-dong. Thereafter all films in and out of competition will be shown in Arirang Cine & Media Center in Donam-dong, CGV Sungshin Women’s University in Dongseon-dong and the outside plaza Baram-Madang near the district office and the newly-restored stream Seongbuk Stream. The closing ceremony will return to the Korea University campus.
For the opening ceremony, the country’s most acclaimed filmmakers are scheduled to attend, including Lee Joon-ik, Im Kwon-taek, Chung Ji-yoon and Kim Yoo-jin. Critically-acclaimed actors like Ahn Sung-ki, Kang Soo-yeon, Ha Jung-woo and Yoo Ji-tae, among others, are to walk the red carpet as well.
Tickets to screenings cost 6,000 won, except for the opening and closing films, which cost 10,000. For more information, visit www.siyff.com and follow the festival on www.facebook.com/siyff and www.twitter.com/SIYFF.