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Bifan to open as online-offline hybrid festival

Korea’s biggest genre film fest teams up with streaming platform Watcha

“Whispering Corridors 6: Humming” (BIFAN)
“Whispering Corridors 6: Humming” (BIFAN)

The 24th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival will kick off Thursday, downsized with parts of the festival going online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of the usual opening ceremony, the premiere of Korean horror movie “Whispering Corridors 6: Humming” from director Lee Mi-young will mark the start to the nation’s biggest genre film festival at 7 p.m. in CGV Sopung in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province. With most events taking place at the theater just west of Seoul, the festival will run for eight days until July 16.

With a mission to “amplify genre talent and introduce it to the world,” the festival will screen a total of 88 features and 85 shorts from 42 countries, with 22 features among them receiving world premieres through the event. While this year’s edition of the festival was expected to introduce 39 virtual reality cinemas, due to concerns over COVID-19 spread, 18 interactive contents among them will be introduced separately through an exhibition scheduled for later this year.

A poster for the 24th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (Bifan)
A poster for the 24th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (Bifan)

Bifan has teamed up with streaming platform Watcha for the event’s online screenings. A total of 69 films available through the desktop version of the platform starting Friday. Features will be priced at 5,000 won ($4.18) and shorts at 1,000 won each.

Introducing itself as a non-competitive film fest with competition sections, Bifan has two competition categories, “Bucheon Choice” for international films and “Korean Fantastic” for Korean films.

The program also includes a section devoted to introducing genre films from China and a special screening of “SF8,” a Korean sci-fi anthology TV series from eight of the most active Korean genre film directors.

With the audience safety at the forefront of the overall festival planning, organizers stated they are doing their best to ensure public safety from the virus, working in close coordination with medical experts.

By Choi Ji-won (