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Pride film fest to be held at new venue in Seoul

Oct. 13, 2022 - 17:35 By Song Seung-hyun

From left: The 2022 Seoul International Pride Film Festival’s programmers Lee Dong-yoon, Kim Seung-hwan, head of the Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination Park Kyung-seok and SIPFF Head of Executive Committee Kim Jho Gwang-soo pose for photos after a press conference held at Artnine Theater in Sadang-dong on Thursday. (SIPFF)

The 2022 Seoul International Pride Film Festival, which mainly focuses on queer films, will be held from Nov. 3-9 at Megabox Seongsu in Seoul.

The Pride film festival, which used to be held at CGV Myeongdong Station Cine Library in Seoul, had to look for a new venue after the operator of the pandemic-hit theater in Myeong-dong suspended business there last year.

“Although the CGV Myeongdong started operating again, it was when we had already signed the new deal with Megabox,” SIPFF programmer Kim Seung-hwan said during a press conference held at Artnine Theater in Sadang-dong on Thursday.

Although the decision to change the venue was inevitable, the fest programmer emphasized that it happened for the better. As Megabox Seongsu, the SIPFF has more auditoriums for screening, seven in comparison with the previous five.

A total of 133 films from 29 countries will be presented this year during the SIPFF.

“Since the fest will return to normal after three years, we will hold a proper opening ceremony, receptions and forums. We have prepared diverse events,” Kim said.

This year’s festival will hold a master class with Korean American queer movie director Andrew Ahn and screen his five films including “Spa Night” (2016) and “Driveways” (2019).

Kim observed that there are some changes in trends among queer films this year and said that the opening film is a good example that shows this changing trend.

“The opening film’s director is a man and he featured a transgender woman as his muse in the film. In the past, it was usually male directors featuring gay men and female directors featuring lesbians as their muse,” the programmer said.

This year’s opener is “Peafowl” directed by Byun Sung-bin.

"Peafowl" features the story of transgender woman Shinmyung, who is also a passionate waacking dancer. One day, she learns that her father, a master of traditional Nongak, has passed away. Shinmyung returns to her hometown and finds out that she can inherit her father’s money only if she learns to perform Nogak for her father’s memorial service. Since she needs money for gender reassignment surgery, she takes up the challenge.

Bringing the festival to a close is Lukas Dhont's “Closer," a film about teenage boys’ love that won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes this year.

The festival will also premiere 12 movies about people with disabilities at its Open Pride section, which was established in 2018 to present movies about other social minorities, aside from queer.

“It is so heartbreaking that there are still people who have to fight for commuting rights in Seoul, Korea in the 21st century,” SIPFF Head of Executive Committee Kim Jho Gwang-soo said. “We chose people with disability issues for the section this year because we wanted to show that we support them through movies."

The fight Kim Jho referred to is the protest that the Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination, a disability advocacy group, has been organizing at subway stations mainly during the morning rush hour, calling on the government to roll out more detailed plans to guarantee the basic rights of people with disabilities.

The head of the group, Park Kyung-seok, attending the press conference said, “In this society, I believe that people with disabilities and LGBT people have a common experience of discrimination. By forming solidarity, I hope that the voices of those who are discriminated and are targets of hatred in society can be heard clearly.”