A scene from “Tove” by Finnish filmmaker Zaida Bergroth / Courtesy of SIWFF, Sami Kuokkanen
By Kwak Yeon-soo
This year’s Seoul International Women’s Film Festival (SIWFF) will open Aug. 26 and run through Sept. 1 in a hybrid of online and in-person activities amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections here.
Under the slogan “A Caring Reflection,” 119 films that explore feminist issues, from 27 countries, will be screened during the festival at western Seoul’s Megabox Sangam World Cup cinema and the nearby Oil Tank Culture Park. Digital screenings of 44 feature films and 22 short films will also be available through the online film festival network ONFIFN.
The 23rd edition of SIWFF will open with Finnish filmmaker Zaida Bergroth’s “Tove,” a biopic of Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jannson during the formative decade in which she invented the Moomin characters while managing family disapproval and a bisexual love triangle in the shadow of World War II.
“Rather than focusing on Tove Jannson’s career or the success of the Moomin series, the film centers on how she finds her path to self-discovery and growth through complex relationships, anxiety and tension,” said Hwang Miyojo, a programmer for SIWFF.
Twelve films were chosen for the “Discovery” competition section, which showcases the first or second feature films of female filmmakers from Korea and abroad. They include “#AfterMeToo,” which proposes a rethinking of how to sustain the #MeToo movement after losing its initial vitality; “Outcry and Whisper,” which documents the political situation in Hong Kong and highlights the power of activism; and “Instruction for Survivor,” which captures a trans woman’s life in Georgia.
“This year, documentary films constituted a large majority of the submitted films, and many of them showed a tendency to focus on personal roots and interpersonal relationships rather than targeting social structures or systems,” said Kim Hyun-min, a programmer for SWIFF.
A poster for the 23rd Seoul International Women’s Film Festival / Courtesy of SIWFF
Nineteen short films were selected in the “Asian Shorts” section from among 1,017 submissions that embody bold approaches and experimentation. Others include the “I-Teens” section that introduces films made by teenage Korean women filmmakers; “New Currents,” which studies the current trend of women’s films; and “Queer Rainbow,” which introduces queer films and highlights structural discrimination and oppression.
On the sidelines, the festival will also hold a special retrospective section that showcases actor Bae Doo-na’s filmography. It looks back on her journey through seven films across the boundaries of genre and characters.
Actress Moon Ka-young, who rose to fame through tvN’s drama “True Beauty” (2020), will host this year’s event. “It’s an honor to be the host of the film festival that I have affection and respect for. Like the festival’s slogan suggests, I hope female filmmakers care for each other,” she said.Internet Explorer Channel Network