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Youth films take home awards in Seoul

Sep 03, 2012
  • Writer by JANG Sung-ran
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Results from the 13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival
The one-week journey of the 14th Seoul International Youth Film Festival (SIYFF) concluded on August 29th. Throughout the screenings of 131 films from 40 countries, 90% of available tickets were sold, one of the best percentages ever in the history of Korean film festivals. The performance can be credited to the excellence of the program and the growing popularity of the festival. This year some sections were renamed -- ‘Kid’s Eye’ ‘Teen’s Eye’ and ‘Strong Eye’ -- giving audiences a more clear idea of what to expect at screenings.
This year included 16 world or international premieres. Through the hot-button issue of school violence, films such as Kauwboy (the fest's opening film), Detachment, Small Creatures and many others struck at the very core of what makes a coming-of-age film.
In addition, the ‘Media Education Forum: School Violence Prevention’ successfully directed nationwide attention to the seriousness school violence and how to prevent it. The ‘International Media Education Forum’ also established a basis for an alternative education program appropriate to the new media era by examining rating systems for adolescent films in other countries.
At the closing ceremony, seven prize winners in the two competition sections -- ‘Competition 13+’ and ‘Competition 19+’ -- were announced. The four prizes awarded in each section included a Grand Prize, the ‘Artistic Experiment Award,' the ‘Challenging Reality Award’ and the ‘SIYFF Eyes of Youth Award’.
The Grand Prize in the ‘Competition 13+’ section (Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Award) was given to Nonsense Mission, directed by a 19-year-old YOON Ho-jun. The film deals with the weighty topic of the Korean education system and offers criticism regarding Korea's competitive society in an entertaining fashion.
Director LEE Joon-ik, the foreman of the jury, commented, “The storyline is based on the sad reality that students are unwillingly compared with each other and often develop depression because of exam results. What I liked very much about the film is that the director developed the story in a bright way rather than making it blue.”
The winner of the Grand Prize in the ‘Competition 19+’ section was The Recorder Exam by KIM Bo-ra. This was her third visit to the SIYFF. She appeared with Another Wonderland (Special Mention) in 2003 and The Girl with Red Shoes in 2004. The Recorder Exam is a film about 19-year-old Eun-hee, who is about to take a recorder exam, and her family living in Seoul in 1998.
In the ‘Comperition 13+’ section, The Silence by Irish filmmaker Adam RAEL won the Artistic Experiment Award and Girl Power by Taiwanese duo CHEN Tzu-Jung and HUANG Yi-Jin won the Challenging Reality Award. In the ‘Competition 19+’ section, Junior by French director Julia DUCOURNAU and Peace in Them by Korean director LEE Gun-joo won the SIYFF Talent Award and the SIYFF Challenge Award, respectively. Once in a Summer by Korean director HWANG Tae-sung won the SIYFF Eyes of Youth Award and also was given a Special Mention by the jury.
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