77 It’s also a rare opportunity to see many films’ Asian — sometimes even world — premieres, and meet the directors and crews for Q&A sessions after screenings. For documentary fans, the sheer number and variety are amazing. A favorite PiFan memory was seeing “Paul the Psychic Octopus” by the same crew who did “The People versus George Lucas,” and getting to pick their brains after the screening. There are also animation showcases and short films, with specially themed sections unique to each year’s PiFan. Last year’s concepts in- cluded “The Dark Side of the City” and “The Thin Line between Humans and Robots.” Besides some awesome original works, this also gave people the chance to see such classics such as “Escape from New York” and “THX1138” on the big screen. Also, every year both Korean and international directors showcase retro- spectives of their filmography, along with PiFan screens flicks that are the talk of larger fests around the globe. “Puchon Choice (the feature competition lineup) was very strong last year and I really enjoyed the Indian crime film ‘Ugly’ and the Filipino hit-man flick ‘On the Job,’ both from Cannes,” Pierce Conrad, editor of Modern Korean Cinema and member of the Korean Film Council, says of last year’s event. “I was also thrilled to see a retrospective on cult surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. ‘The Holy Mountain’ on the big screen is a must.” By far one of the most appealing aspects of the affair is that it’s on the Seoul subway system. All the showings take place at one of several cin- emas — CGV, City Hall, Lotte and the Manwha (Korean anime) Museum — accessible by subway, bus, cab or on foot. Most of these are next to the recently extended line 7, but line 1 also goes to the south side of Bucheon, where there are shuttles going straight to the action. You can go to the film fest and still make it home, or stay for late showings and party the night away, as the area is rife with jjimjilbangs and cheap motels. In fact, one saving grace in the summer heat is to take breaks between showings and slink right from the cool darkness of the theater to the soothing pools of the saunas, to preserve strength for evening festivities. Plus, PiFan hosts camping grounds and offers equipment for rent for large parties and even families. This year the fest has appointed Jangwan Pyeon — the head of Korea National University of Art’s School of Film, TV and Multimedia — as chief programmer. In addition, this year’s press and marketing director, Sidney Jang, told Groove Korea that the slogan this year is “Yes, Smile! Go, PI- FAN!” While this epic-fail of Konglish will undoubtedly leave many of our readers scratching their heads, don’t let it scare you off: PiFan is the one and only genre film festival in Korea and is a supporting member of the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (EFFFF), plus a member of the Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF), which celebrates its seventh anniversary this year. Joseph Seo, last year’s publicity manager, said, “I’ve been to Busan, and I’ve been to smaller ones like Mise En Scene, and they are all either really commercial or they’re really raw. PiFan is just strictly dedicated to giving marginalized genre cinema a spotlight for the world to see.” Nothing is without caveats, however. For weekend showings or very pop- ular films, buy your tickets in advance. You can do this in person for any future showings as well as online. Secondly, sometimes the elevators or crowds can slow your roll, so give yourself ample time. Finally, Conrad of Modern Korean Cinema gives sage advice: “Don’t be scared to take a chance on a film you haven’t heard about. These often lead to the best discoveries!” ‘Don’t be scared to take a chance on a flm you haven’t heard about. These often lead to the best discoveries!’ Pierce Conrad, editor of Modern Korean Cinema MoRE INFo Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival When July 17-27 Where CGV, City Hall, Lotte and the Manwha Museum in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province Website www.pifan.com/eng