Bifan announces movie lineup, events and new brand addition Bifan+

A still from romance crime film ″Love Lies Bleeding,″ directed by Rose Glass, which was selected as the opening film for the 28th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. [BIFAN]

The Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (Bifan) aims to expand by adding a technology-focused brand, called Bifan+, and has chosen two long-awaited feature films for the grand opening and finale of the festival.

Through its rebranding, the festival will upgrade itself by expanding its scope to reflect the changes within the filmmaking industry. It has added an AI section, more diverse screening programs and special events for moviegoers.

“The 28th Bifan prepared to make a leap forward by changing its name to Bifan+," Chung Ji-young, the chairperson of Bifan's organizing committee, said at a press conference held Wednesday in Dongdaemun District, eastern Seoul.

The organizing committee also unveiled 255 features and short films from 49 countries and regions that will be screened during the festival, which kicks off on July 4 and runs until July 14.

Crime romance film “Love Lies Bleeding,” directed by Rose Glass and featuring actors Kristen Stewart and Katy M. O’Brian, was selected as the festival's opening film. The film revolves around characters Lou and Jackie, who instantly fall in love. After Jackie murders someone for Lou, the pair's crime journey begins.

“This 'crazy love story' demonstrates the outstanding flair and talent of Rose Glass, who garnered worldwide attention with her debut feature ‘Saint Maud’ (2019),” the committee said in a press release.

The closing film will be Hong Kong action film “Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In,” directed by Soi Cheang. The film is set in the Kowloon Walled City, one of the most dangerous areas in Hong Kong in the 1980s, and follows the journey of Chan Lok-kwun, played by Raymond Lam, who accidently enters the Walled City.

A press conference for the 28th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival was held Wednesday in Dongdaemun District, eastern Seoull. [BIFAN]

“The glamorous action scenes that evoke nostalgia for the heyday of 90s Hong Kong cinema are also fascinating and irresistible,” the Bifan committee said.

“Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In” was also invited to the Cannes Film Festival this year and received a standing ovation after its screening.

Among the films to be screened, 67 will have their global premiere at the festival, including Japanese horror film “Stolen Identity” by Nakata Hideo, according to Bifan.

Films will be screened at the Bucheon City Hall Lawn Square, the Korean Manhwa Museum, CGV's Sopoong Branch and the Bucheon Art Bunker B39.

Some films will also be screened online via the streaming platform Wavve.

A still from Hong Kong action film “Twilight of the Warriors: Walled In,” directed by Soi Cheang, which was selected as the closing film for the 28th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. [BIFAN]

This year, Bifan's newly launched AI section aims to recognize films using AI technology and will discuss the impact of AI in the filmmaking industry through a program called Bifan+ AI.

Along with Bifan’s new initiative, many more events are set to entertain visitors, such as the exhibition for actor Son Ye-jin, who was selected for the festival’s actor retrospective this year. There will also be fan meet-and-greet events with Hong Kong director Johnnie To, Japanese screenwriter Koki Mitani and director Kim Sung-soo.

“We will prepare a festival that both audiences and citizens can enjoy, as we have planned various programs and audience events along with AI," Chung said.

The 28th Bifan will hold its opening ceremony on July 4 at the Bucheon Art Center in Gyeonggi.

In this year's Bifan, a special performance by the Bucheon Philharmonic Orchestra will also take place at the Bucheon Arts Center the day before the festival starts to celebrate its opening.