As the infamous sweltering heat of Korean summer begins to arrive in July, two high profile film festivals are due to return, serving to keep cinema fans in the cool indoors and entertained with the latest in global cinema fare. The events – the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival, and the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival – are quite different in scope and scale, yet offer something for everyone from the hardcore film aficionado to the casual cinema goer. Be sure to check the official websites for updates regarding film screenings and programs, as tickets tend to sell out fast!
Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival (SICAF)
This year marks SICAF’s 20th edition of celebrating cartoon and animation films across the globe. This year, the festival has changed location to the wonderfully stylised Dongdaemun Design Plaza for its five-day run – a big change from the usual location in Myeongdong – and is set to host screenings of feature and short animated films from professionals, students, and even children in a variety of programs.
As well as hosting the animated film festival, SICAF will also provide a number of special events for attendees. Aspiring artists will undoubtedly take great delight in the exhibitions, educational experiences with professionals in the field, and tutorials on animation tools and software, while the whole family can enjoy taking pictures with the colorful characters and shopping at the market stalls.
Dates: July 6- 10 (5 days)
Location: Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)
Transport: Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station (Lines 2, 4 and 5)
Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan)
Also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, BiFan is Korea’s primary showcase for genre films from around the world. While many other festivals focus on the more art-house merits of filmmaking, BiFan joyously embraces and unashamedly revels in the conventions of horror, fantasy, action, sci-fi, and much, much more.
As with every year, BiFan organizes a multitude of programs to satisfy even the most casual cinema-goer. Selected international works will vie for prizes in the Bucheon Choice competition, numerous genre titles are to be screened in the World Fantastic Cinema showcase, and tributes are to be paid to greats in The Masters program. As 2016 marks BiFan’s 20th edition, a greater number of special categories are to appear, as well as a host of live outdoor events that will take place next to Bucheon City Hall.
This year also brings with it new management for the festival, as producer Yong-bae Choi assumes the role of festival director for the next three years. Mr. Choi has produced several notable Korean films including monster movie The Host and thriller 26 Years, among others. It will be of great interest to see Mr. Choi’s vision for BiFan and what he has in store for genre fans in this pivotal year.
BiFan Teaser Poster
Dates: July 21-31 (10 days)
Location: Bucheon City – Bucheon City Hall, Korea Manhwa Museum, Bucheon Gymnasium, CGV Bucheon, CGV Sopoong, Lotte Cinema Bucheon
Transport: Bucheon City Hall (Line 7)