Perhaps the reason why Korean short films appeal particularly strongly to the audience is that they unfold stories that everyone can relate to. This year’s submissions for Korean Competition for Shorts also focused on the most pressing issues that are taking place in now and here of Korean society. Among them, the trend of 2020 can be summarized as women, socially weak and social safety net, and media change. Especially this year, there is a high proportion of female creators. As reflected in this, majority of films expressed ideas from the women’s perspective. The age group of women the films captured is also broad from young girls to elderly retiree, and each voiced their own thoughts. Full Moon by NAM Soona, Dear Juhee by OH Hyundo, and Moth by JUNG Yeonjoo are depicting the intensity of life exploiting the female protagonists, while Expiration Date by YOO Joonmin, The Thread by CHO Minjae and LEE Nayeon, and Driving School by YU Sujin are incorporating the various voices of working women.
Many films also demonstrate interest in the socially weak, especially efforts to depict disability as an everyday life and partnership instead of a special situation or objectification. In other words, there are many films that one could sense the directors’ mindset to approach these stories of disability, race, sexual orientation, and type of families with an “ethical attitude.” Fanning by JEON Yejin, We Bloom by KIM Yulhee, and Casually, for the Worse by KIM Yewon are films that portray the socially weak with warm perspective.
Another feature of this year’s submissions for Korean Competition for Shorts is the increase in the number of films based on the changing media environment in the sense that short films mainly represent the voices of young creators. In particular, films that dealt with issues with social media such as Instagram and Twitter or emotions and problems of YouTube users stand out. Among them,
Mouth & Mouth Fighter by SEO Gahyeon, which focuses on the life of a YouTuber, deserves attention. Meanwhile, it is peculiar to see that the number of science fiction submissions have increased, and the narrative trend of Korean commercial film industry head for the genre. Especially, Porosity Valley 2: Tricksters’ Plot, an experimental film by director KIM Ayoung, is quite interesting. The film not only provides visual novelty, but also unfolds contemporary concerns about refugees and immigrants in a futuristic way called science fiction. Moreover, many other submissions deal with dystopian worldviews such as low birthrate, dominant gene obsession, and fear of world destruction, to gauge the world perception of young creators of this era.
The submissions and selections from the Korean Competition for Shorts of JEONJU IFF 2020 eventually come down to “diversity.” There are films that express various subject matters in creative way across the boundaries of fiction, documentary, and experimental film and films with their own style within the aesthetics of short films, that are working “in the matter of minutes.” These films not only provide the audience with visual pleasure, but also it will create an opportunity to re-evaluate the present time through them.
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