One of life’s highlights for me each year is attending South Korea’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), which I have done every summer that I have lived in Korea since arriving in 2008. This year, Asia’s largest genre-film fest celebrates its 25th birthday, and today it has revealed a six-poster set featuring its 2021 theme of “Stay Strange.” Following is BIFAN’s official press announcement. — Joseph Perry
The 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN, Festival Director: SHIN Chul) unveiled this year’s official posters on the 27th. The six posters make up the “cake series” that celebrates BIFAN’s 25th birthday, and they reflect this year’s slogan: “Stay Strange.” The mix of cuteness and bizarreness depict a sense of disharmony within harmony. The posters also act as an invitation welcoming everyone to come eat and be merry at the feast that has been prepared by BIFAN for its 25th anniversary.
The “Stay Strange” slogan is an expression of BIFAN’s determination to show keen support for unconventional genre film talents that have turned away from the mainstream. The slogan implies that, although their stories might be unfamiliar and strange to some, if these stories are nurtured, the talents behind them can eventually meet BIFAN and blossom. “Stay Strange” also captures the hope and comfort being offered to filmmakers, audiences, and to everyone else who has struggled as a result of the strange changes that COVID-19 has brought about over the past two years.
In order to encapsulate the sensibility and taste that BIFAN is cultivating, an actual cake was made and photographed, and the six-poster series was designed to capture the process. The goal was to offer a sense of hope to everyone going through trying circumstances via the posters’ bright colors and images. On their own, each poster piques the observer’s curiosity, when seen together, they create a humorous story that will delight audiences. For the fifth time since the 21st BIFAN, PROPAGANDA worked on the design for the official posters. CHARIDA Studio created the cake, and Lee Seung Hee Studio did the photography. A behind-the-scenes video that shows what went behind the making of the posters will soon be uploaded to BIFAN’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/officialPiFan).
Using its experience from 2020 as a basis, the 25th BIFAN will actively use online and offline platforms for the festival. Also, a three-level operation plan that complies with the public health authorities’ social distancing levels has been established. The scale of the offline/online events, as well as viewing formats, will be different, which will allow for the festival to be proactive and flexible in its response to challenges.
“Film festivals, which are theater-based, are struggling because of the pandemic and the rapid progress of online services,” said festival director SHIN Chul. “Although it’s difficult to predict how the film terrain will take shape in the post-Corona era, it’s safe to say that the way in which films are created, distributed, and viewed will be completely different from before.” He went on to add: “BIFAN’s spirit is to look at things with skewed but precise eyes. We are in difficult times without precedent, and the only way to overcome and break through these difficulties is to discover new, creative talents. BIFAN will work to nurture these new, creative talents, as we are in the midst of new changes.”
The 25th BIFAN will be held from July 8-18. For 11 days, the festival will offer both online and offline screenings, as well as audience events.
For more information, visit http://www.bifan.kr/eng/.