Nov 20, 2020

GIFF2020_Press Release_02_Gangneung International Film Festival 2020 concludes successfully!


Gangneung International Film Festival 2020 concludes successfully!

Gangneung International Film Festival 2020(GIFF2020) was held for three days from November 5th to 7th. GIFF prepared various programs for this year, but due to the global pandemic, the organizing committee had no choice but to weigh its options for the event's format and size. It was decided to downsize this year's film festival, prioritizing the safety of Gangneung citizens and audiences as a gesture of participation in sharing the community's pain, fighting to overcome the local economic crisis. The festival’s period and scale were significantly reduced compared to the previous year. With the enthusiastic support of Gangneung citizens, audiences, film industry, cultural sectors, and artists, it was concluded successfully, and this year’s obstacles have become an opportunity for growth.

A film festival loved by movies and artists

- Various directors of international film festivals in Korea attend!
- Actor LEE Byung-hun, JEON Do-yeon, and KANG Su-jin,
Artistic Director of the National Ballet, send their congratulations via a video message!

GIFF2020 canceled all outdoor events, including the opening and closing ceremonies. The opening ceremony was replaced with a simplified opening film screening. The screening of the opening film was attended by directors of major domestic film festivals including PARK Kwangsoo(Festival Director, Seoul International Women's Film Festival), MOON Sung-geun(Festival Director, Pyeongchang International Peace Film Festival), BANG Eun-jin(Executive Chairman, Pyeongchang International Peace Film Festival), BAE Chang-ho(Festival Director, Ulju Mountain Film Festival), SHIN Chul(Festival Director, Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival), LEE Joondong(Festival Director, Jeonju International Film Festival), LEE Yong-gwan(Chairman, Busan International Film Festival), Jay JEON(Festival Director, Busan International Film Festival), JUNG Sang-jin(Executive Chairman, DMZ International Documentary Film Festival), and CHO Sungwoo(Festival Director, Jecheon International Music and Film Festival). In addition, Actress PARK Jung-ja, Musician NOH Young-shim, and Director LEE Hyun-seung, and other figures from various sectors, such as film, culture, and art graced GIFF with their presence. Korean/foreign actors and leading figures from film and cultural industry, who were not able to attend, sent their greetings through video messages. Minister PARK Yang-woo of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Artistic Director KANG Su-jin of the National Ballet, Actors LEE Byung-hun, JEON Do-yeon, HAN Ye-ri, KWON Yul, KIM Su-an, PARK Myung-hoon, and 10 major international film festivals around the world heads who participated in “Gangneung Forum” congratulated the successful opening of the film festival with heart-felt unison.

A film festival that tells the story with movies

- Presenting 25 films from 14 countries, all strongly recommended!
- The opening film stirred a thunder of applause & this year’s competition section with various genres gained attention!


GIFF2020 invited 25 films from 14 countries, focusing on the opening film and the newly established international feature competition nominations. All were screened offline while thoroughly complying with the government's preventive guidelines. The total seating share recorded 82%, and the paid tickets that were pre-booked online recorded 94% of the seats, demonstrating the massive interest and support from the audience and citizens of Gangneung city.

The GIFF's screenings were well received, positive reviews were uploaded every day. In particular, the opening film received much praise from critics and audience. SHIM Eun-kyung, an actress born and raised in Gangneung, starred in the film. She is the first Korean actress to receive the Best Actress Award at the Japanese Academy Awards in 2019. After the screening, we witnessed many positive comments such as “many thanks to GIFF for giving me the opportunity to watch this movie”(Twitter @WCk**), “The combination of visual beauty, sound, and pure story line is crazy”(Extreme Movie @Ming**), "A movie that is satisfying to the eyes and ears"(Extreme Movie @Ah**), and "Now this is real healing" (Twitter @yummy**).

There was much interest surrounding the final nominations in the newly established competition section, “International Feature Competition.” The eight chosen films were carefully selected from all over the world, including Western Europe, Balkan countries, Japan, and the United States. The eight films were first introduced to Korean audiences at GIFF and captivated their hearts. The Award for Best Picture was given to director Patrice TOYE's , and the Award for Best Director was given to by Director Marion LAINE, and the Award for Best Screenplay to Director SATO Jiro's . Winners who couldn’t receive their award in person expressed their gratitude through video messages, acknowledging “what a great honor it was,” and exclaimed “the award they received at GIFF will be a drive and inspiration to continue their work.”

A film festival thinking about the future of the film festival

- The 2nd Gangneung Forum!
- Chairperson KIM Dong-ho stated, “For next year’s Forum, we plan to invite more than 50 participants.”


Directors of film festivals from all around the world attended the Gangneung Forum. The “Gangneung Forum,” an international networking forum that discusses the changing paradigm of film festivals in the post COVID-19 era under the theme of “POST COVID-19: Film Festival in The New Normal Era,” has made the heads of domestic and foreign film-makers turn. Overseas panels prepared with sufficient time beforehand and participated online, while domestic panels attended the offline event exchanging passionate and heated opinions. About 80 people including film and media related personnel were given a platform to share their experiences and their opinions on the new vision of the festival. The hottest topic was of course about hosting online film festivals. Piers HANDLING, Former CEO of Toronto International Film Festival, opened the forum with his keynote speech. “We need to think about what the accelerated digitalization triggered by COVID-19 means for film festivals. What kind of significant impact will it have?” Various domestic/international film festival directors shared their opinions about online screening.

MAEDA Shu, Festival Director of Fukuoka Asian Film Festival and CHO Sungwoo, Festival Director of Jecheon International Music and Film Festival, expressed their skepticism about the online screening, emphasizing the festival’s function of creating a special time and space for expression. Sabrina BARACETTI, President of Udine Far East Film Festival, introduced the case of creating a new platform through an agreement with the largest website in Italy. LEE Joondong, Festival Director of Jeonju International Film Festival talked about how the Film Promotion Committee should come forward to create a public online platform that film festivals can use together. HISAMATSU Takeo, Chairman of Tokyo International Film Festival, predicted that the growing influence of online content service companies would have an impact on the film selection process at festivals. SHIN Chul, Festival Director of Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival stated that his next year’s budget was being planned based on it being an online festival. KIM Hong-joon, Artistic Director of Gangneung International Film Festival, who was also the moderator, concluded the session after a fruitful, productive conversation saying, "I hope that the present situation caused by the global pandemic will be a catalyst to deeply contemplate the future of film festivals. KIM Dong-ho, Chairperson of GIFF, said, "Should the situation improve next year, at least 50 film festival directors will gather in Gangneung to share their experiences on running a film festival post COVID-19." and announced plans to further expand the forum’s scale and size.

A Film festival where film and literature co-exist

- From young writers to representative Gangneung writers!
- Audience-participatory event “Baerong Night Talk” & “Special Talk” were successfully held!

This year all outdoor events were canceled, including the opening and closing ceremony. However, a selected few citizen-participating programs were held to comfort citizens at a difficult time. Gangneung is a city that continues to be a source of inspiration for many literary writers as the city of KIM Si-seop of the first Chinese character novel 『Geumoh Shinhwa』, the first Korean novel 『Hong Gil-dong』, and the representative writers of the Joseon Dynasty, HEO Nan Seol-heon, and SHIN Saimdang. Through special talks in “Baerong Night Talk” and “Women Write, Films Remember” section, the panelists and audience were able to have a meaningful and heartfelt conversation about art that encompasses all genres.


“Baerong Night Talk” is a talk event covering a wide range of stories about movies and literature and was held three times this year. O Muel(Director), Keum Suk Gendry-Kim(Graphic novelist), CHUNG Chong-hwa(Senior Researcher, KOFA), HAN Sang-Eon(CEO, Han Sang-Eon Cinema Research Institution), YUN Hu-myong (Novelist) and SEO Yeong-eun (Novelist) met with the audience in person and shared colorful stories about the lives of various characters, movies, and literature.


“Cinema & Literature: Women Write, Films remember” was held at CGV Gangneung on November 7th. The section introduced three works on women facing prejudice and violence, and then invited three young writers who deal with women's narratives in literature. A Special Talk was arranged to illuminate life and the mic was passed to hear the reactions from the audience. Winter Kim(Author and Yountube Creator) and Jin CHO(Programmer of GIFF) moderated each session, and Writers KIM Kyujin, PARK Solmay, and CHOI Jinyoung participated as guests to share in-depth stories about the life of the film and women which received favorable reviews from the audience.

A Film festival with Gangneung filmmakers!

- Production support contest to promote Gangneung movie production!
- First screening of 2019 production support films & three final winning films selected for 2020 production support!


Gangneung International Film Festival has been making continuous efforts with the start of last year's film festival to contribute to the development of the local film ecosystem and to promote film production. In June, Gangneung City and Social Cooperative Indie House held a special screening 'Film in Gangneung 2020', and 15 films completed in Gangneung were screened at the theater, and support money was delivered to filmmakers in Gangneung. It provided practical support for Gangneung filmmakers who were directly hit by COVID-19. During this year's film festival, three films selected for the '2019 Gangneung International Film Festival Short Film Production Support' were screened at the world premiere, and conversations with the audience were held, and all seats were sold out, winning support from Gangneung filmmakers.

This year, following last year, the “2020 Gangneung International Film Festival Short Film Production Support” had been announced and the final three films were selected. A total of 105 applications were carefully reviewed and rated in several aspects, including document screenings and on-line interviews, The submitted works were also checked for the participation of a film personality from Gangneung and the use of the Gangneung area as a location in the films. The scrutinous selection resulted in 3 works with solid screenplays that were chosen as the finalists. Gangneung International Film Festival's finalists <Why Didn't You Turn Off Your Camera?&rt;(Director YOU Misun), (Director PARK Jung-eon) and (Director LEE Ga-hong) were supported with ten million won for production fees, which is a total of thirty million won. The completed work will be screened for the first time at the 3rd Gangneung International Film Festival in 2021.

A film festival that puts the safety of the audience and citizens first!

- Held a safe film festival by adhering to thorough quarantine guidelines & active cooperation from citizens!


This year's Gangneung International Film Festival made every effort to protect public health, putting the safety of Gangneung citizens and audiences first. Prior to the opening of the film festival, the social distancing level was lowered to the first level, but GIFF still maintained the strict guidelines of maintaining seat distance and online reservation to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Before each movie screening, a professional sanitization company disinfected the theater. All guests, audience, and staff participating in the festival filled out electronic access lists and symptom sheets and wore wristbands after scanning the QR code before entering the event. In addition, it was only possible to enter the theater by passing through a state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera and air curtain for sterilization. It took a long time to enter due to thorough COVID-19 preventive procedures, but thanks to the understanding and cooperation of the audience and Gangneung citizens, the guidelines were successfully implemented. An atmosphere of trust and credibility was set so that everyone could relax and enjoy the films.

GIFF successfully held its second festival this year, thanks to the incredible goodwill and support of Gangneung citizens, audiences, and filmmakers. GIFF shall respond to this love and support with more diverse and quality programs and events next year.

  • Title: Gangneung International Film Festival 2020, GIFF 2020
  • Period: Fri. November 5 ~ Thu. November 7, 2020 (3 days)
  • Place: CGV Gangneung, Shinyoung Theater, Gore Bookstore, Lakai Sandpine Resort
  • Screenings: 25 films from 14 countries
  • Key Words: Cinema & Literature, Masters & Newcomers, For Gangneung
  • Organizer: The Gangneung International Film Festival
  • Official Website:
  • Contact: