FESTIVALS: BIFAN Hands Top Prizes To Chile’s ‘Sorcery’, Korea’s ‘Iron Mask’ 

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Chilean drama Sorcery, directed by Christopher Murray, picked up the Best of Bucheon award at this year’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), while Kim Sung Hwan’s Iron Mask took the top award in the Korean Fantastic: Features section. 

Sorcery is based on a true story that took place on the island of Chiloe in the 1880s, where the inhabitants were accused of practising witchcraft. The Chile-Mexico-Germany co-production had its world premiere at the Sundance film festival in January. 

The Bifan jury described the film as a “hushed Chilean thriller that blends drama and mysticism to astutely depict a collision of colonial attitudes, local politics and indigenous magic.”

Iron Mask, which was presented with the award for Best Korean Fantastic Film, is a sports drama, combined with elements of psychological drama, about a Kendo player going through the national team selection process. 

The film marks Kim Sung Hwan’s debut feature after a run of well-received short films and also won the ‘Watcha’s Pick for Korean Fantastic’ award, presented by Korean streaming platform Watcha. 

Staying true to its ‘Stay Strange’ remit, sidebars at this year’s BIFAN included Mad Maxx, with titles including Quentin Dupieux’s Smoking Causes Coughing and Alex Iglesia’s Four’s A Crowd; Adrenaline Drive for more extreme action and horror including Satanic Hispanics and Terrifier 2; and Folk Horror: Lands of Cruelty, Beliefs of Terror, with titles including Jayro Bustamante’s La Llorona

Korean actor Choi Min Sik was the subject of a Special Program, which spanned his work from 1980s films Vapor and On The Way To Winter through to cult classics like Swiri and Old Boy to more recent work including Park Dong-hoon’s In Our Prime, released last year.  

The festival, which is taking place June 29 to July 9, opened with Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid and closed with Japanese horrormeister Takashi Shimizu’s Sana

Bifan Industry Gathering (B.I.G.) wrapped a few days earlier with the awards ceremony for the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) Project Market


Bucheon Choice: Features

Best of Bucheon (KW20m)
Sorcery, dir: Christopher Murray

Best Director Choice (KW5m):
Superposition, dir: Karoline Lyngbye

Jury’s Choice (KW5m):
The Artifice Girl, dir: Franklin Ritch

Audience Award:
The Artifice Girl, dir: Franklin Ritch

Korean Fantastic: Features

Best Korean Fantastic Film (KW20m):
Iron Mask, dir: Kim Sung Hwan

Korean Fantastic Best Director (KW5m):
Risk Society, dir: Kim Byung Jun

Korean Fantastic Actors:
Jung E-seo, Her Hobby
Jang Seongbeom, Abroad

Korean Fantastic Audience Award:
Abroad, dir: Giovanni Fumu

Nonghyup Award (KW10m distribution award):
Her Hobby, dir: Ha Myung-mi

Watcha’s Pick for Korean Fantastic (KW3m):
Iron Mask, dir: Kim Sung Hwan

Special Mention:
Unknown Narrative: Skyrocket Junipers Under The Crescent, dir: Yang Gun-young

Méliès International Festivals Federation (MIFF) Award for Best Asian Film:
Best Regards To All, dir: Yuta Shimotsu

Hungry Ghost Diner, dir: Cho We Jun

Odd Family Award:
Battery Mommy, dir: Jeon Seungbae
Burger Song Challenge, dir: Kim Min-ha