BIAF rebrands itself as Korea’s 1st Oscars-qualifying festival

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Sept 5, 2018 - 17:03
  • Updated : Sept 5, 2018 - 17:13

In Korea, people are considered adults when they turn 20.

In the same way, the Buchon International Animation Festival is doubly special this year as it enters a new phase with its 20th edition, said its organizers.

“Marking the year the festival is entering adulthood, we’ve prepared various events and items for the festival. … Not only is it the 20th anniversary, it is the first year that the BIAF has become an official Oscar-qualifying festival,” said Yoon Gap-yong, chairman of the BIAF, at a press conference Wednesday in Seoul.

The poster for BIAF (BIAF)

Last year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences -- the host of the Academy Awards -- officially accredited the festival, making the top prize winners in its short film categories eligible for the short film competition at next year’s Oscars. It is the first time a Korean film festival has been officially accredited by the Academy.

A total of 2,412 films from 88 countries were submitted for this year’s competition, which will be held from Oct. 19-23. The jury picked 158 pieces from 20 countries to be shown at the festival.

“Another Day of Life” by Damian Nenow and Raul de la Fuente, set in the Angolan Civil War in 1975, will open the festival. Officially selected for special screening at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the film is an animated documentary adapted from a work of the same name by war correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinski.

“Another Day of Life” (BIAF)

In the running in the international competition for feature films are “A Man is Dead,” “The Last Fiction,” “This Magnificent Cake,” “Tito and the Birds,” “Funan,” “Flavors of Youth,” “The Moon in the Hidden Wodds,” “Motel Rose” and “Okko’s Inn.”

The short film section of the festival features 40 films, including “Bloeistraat 11,” “The Fall,” “III,” “1 Meter/Hour,” “Heroes,” “Fest,” and “Mermaids and Rhinos.”

Some of the directors, including Kosaka Kitaro of “Okko’s Inn,” are slated to visit Bucheon during the festival.

In addition, the festival will also feature 18 films for the TV section and 14 films for the online competition, for which internet users can vote online starting from Oct. 1.

As the festival originally started as a student-centered animation event, 30 films by graduating students will compete for prizes.

An avid fan of the Japanese animation “Crayon Shin Chan” series, the festival’s honorary ambassador, actress Shin Eun-soo, said she is doubly excited because of her passion for the genre.

“The animation director and storyboard writer for my debut film ‘Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned’ had won at BIAF. I feel like there’s a special connection between the festival and I,” she said.

BIAF will also feature various events including the annual Asia Animation Forum. Titled “The Return of the Innocence-Emotions in Animation,” this year’s forum will be held from Oct. 22-23 at the Korea Manhwa Contents Agency.

An animation fair, photo zones, virtual reality zones, magic performances and other events will be available for visitors.

The 20th BIAF will be held at venues in Bucheon including the Korea Manhwa Museum, CGV Bucheon, Bucheon City Hall, Megabox Coex, and Arisol Gallery. 

By Yoon Min-sik