The Korea Herald


Short film festival folds in its 20th year

By Lim Jang-won

Published : Jan. 15, 2021 - 16:18

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2020 Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival poster (MSFF) 2020 Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival poster (MSFF)

The Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival has announced that this year will be its last, with no competition to be held this year, to the surprise of many preparing for the festival.

“In the drastically changing movie industry because of COVID-19 that has continued since last year and changes to the theater and media environment, short films and the festival are contemplating what role they should play,” the MSFF executive committee said in a statement on social media on Wednesday. “As a result, Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival will end the film festival format with the 20th edition this year.”

The committee announced that a simple program commemorating its two decades will be held, but the usual film festival competition will not go on. Whether the festival will continue in a new form is to be announced at a later date.

The MSFF was launched in 2002 with the aim of nurturing new directors and raising the profile of Korean short films. Director Lee Hyun-seung spearheaded the movement to look at short films in a new light, to which notable directors across different film genres, including Bong Joon-ho, Kim Sung-su and Park Chan-wook joined. MSFF was created with financial support from beauty conglomerate Amorepacific. The first festival shed light on several unique filmmakers from outside the mainstream.

Notable directors like Na Hong-jin of “The Wailing” and Kim Han-min of “The Admiral: Roaring Currents” debuted at the festival, and in 2016 the festival received the most Korean short film entries among all short film festivals in Korea.

The festival was rattled with controversy last year when it released the nominated movies online for free as the pandemic hit the country. It was alleged that nominated films were pressured to agree to the free online release at the threat of their nominations being rescinded, upsetting distributors and filmmakers. The organizing committee apologized for the controversy and converted the online screening to a pay-per-view event.

By Lim Jang-won (