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Curtain falls on Ulju Mountain Film Festival

2018/09/13 15:10

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ULJU, South Korea, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- The final curtain has fallen on an annual international alpine film festival in the southeastern county of Ulju following the screening of almost 140 movies from around the world.

The 3rd Ulju Mountain Film Festival (UMFF) wrapped up its five-day run with great fanfare Tuesday, with "Cloudboy," which depicts a troubled boy embarking on an emotional journey after losing someone he loves, being its closing film.

A total of 139 movies from 41 countries were presented during the film festival with the slogan of "New Journey," drawing a steady stream of viewers. Organizers estimated the number of viewers at 42,000. Of the total films, 11 were premiered during the fete.

Winners and judges pose for a photo during the closing ceremony of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival in the southeastern county of Ulju on Sept. 11, 2018. (Yonhap) Winners and judges pose for a photo during the closing ceremony of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival in the southeastern county of Ulju on Sept. 11, 2018. (Yonhap)

At the closing ceremony, the documentary film "Ultra," directed by Balazs Simonyi, won the grand prize in the section of international competition.

The flick delves into an ultramarathon, a discipline in which athletes run 246 kilometers from Athens to Sparta in 36 hours and its five participants.

Through an extremely personal experience, the director poses the question of what it means to be a human being and how one should live their life, according to the jurors.

This image courtesy of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival shows a scene from its closing film, "Cloudboy." (Yonhap) This image courtesy of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival shows a scene from its closing film, "Cloudboy." (Yonhap)

"The Legend of Fred Beckey" was chosen as the winner of the alpinism prize; "Ice Calling," the climbing prize; "Wonderful Losers: A Different World," the adventure and exploration prize; "Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain," the nature and people prize; "W," the jury's special prize; and "The Lonely Road," the audience prize.

"Trembling Mountain" was chosen as the winner of the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) prize presented to the best Asian film. The prize was newly established this year.

The establishment of the NETPAC award came after the South Korean mountain film festival joined the Singapore-based network this year as its 45th member. NETPAC is a worldwide organization of 29 member countries that promotes Asian cinema.

UMFF Chairman Lee Sun-ho vowed concerted efforts to make the alpine film festival more successful down the road.

Balazs Simonyi, director of the documentary film "Ultra," speaks after winning the grand prize in the international competition section during the closing ceremony of the 3rd Ulju Mountain Film Festival. (Yonhap) Balazs Simonyi, director of the documentary film "Ultra," speaks after winning the grand prize in the international competition section during the closing ceremony of the 3rd Ulju Mountain Film Festival. (Yonhap)

"I will do my utmost to develop the UMFF, the biggest event in Ulju, into a world-class film festival, which locals, alpinists and people in the music world can all enjoy," he said during the closing ceremony.

The awarding of the prizes was followed by a super rock concert by South Korea's three best rockers -- Kim Kyung-ho, Kim Jong-seo and Park Wan-gyu.

On the closing day, some 40 films were screened. In particular, one full-length film jointly made by North Korea and the United States, and four North Korean animated films were screened during a special event for the North's movies.

This image courtesy of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival shows a scene from the grand prize-winning documentary "Ultra." (Yonhap) This image courtesy of the Ulju Mountain Film Festival shows a scene from the grand prize-winning documentary "Ultra." (Yonhap)

The first North-U.S. joint film, titled "The Other Side of the Mountain," features reunions of separated families in the two Koreas. The four North Korean animations were about potato farming, a dog that repays a favor, a fabled ant and important lessons from nature.

The international film festival kicked off with "The Dawn Wall," co-directed by Josh Lowell and Peter Mortimer. The opening film is a 2017 documentary about two rock-climbing stars.

The festival also offered visitors a variety of events, including a program that gave a glimpse into the alpine culture and lifestyles in the Himalayas and Nepal.

The closing ceremony of the 3rd Ulju Mountain Film Festival (UMFF) gets under way in the southeastern town of Ulju on Sept. 11, 2018. (Yonhap) The closing ceremony of the 3rd Ulju Mountain Film Festival (UMFF) gets under way in the southeastern town of Ulju on Sept. 11, 2018. (Yonhap)

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