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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Korean Cinema News (09/29-10/05, 2011)

Big news week for Korean cinema, a good portion of it for the incoming Busan Film Fest and the controversy surrounding new film The Crucible. A number of trailers this week as well as a brief new section to showcase new posters.


KOREAN CINEMA NEWS

Extreme-Short Film Festival Opens in Seoul
Last Thursday, the 3rd Seoul International Extreme-Short Image and Film Festival opened in Guro, Seoul. 387 short of about three minutes are being featured at this year's edition. 144 films are competing across the six categories . The festival openers were A Pale Purple Bird directed by actor Oh Kwang-rok, The Diner directed by Korean singer Horan, and Curse direct by Korean comedian Park Seong-gwang. (KBS.co.kr, September 29, 2011)

Always, which is opening the 16th edition of the Busan International Film Festival, sold out online in a staggering seven seconds. This marks an improvement over the already impressive 18 seconds achieved by Hawthorne Tree Forever, last year's opener. (enewsworld.net, September 27, 2011)
It's been a tough year for the folks running the Busan Intl. Film Festival. Following the retirement of former director Kim Dong-ho it has been a difficult year for those running the Busan International Film Festival. Some critics from within the domestic film industry and the international community wonder whether the fest can continue without Kim's leadership. However, the 16th edition of Asia's largest film festival is gearing up for change, with a new name and new headquarters. (Variety, October 3, 2011)

Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon – The Historical Background
Kim Han-min’s Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon historical action flick is set to get the London Korean Film Festival 2011 underway in a few weeks. Director Kim, whose previous features are Paradise Murdered (2006) and Handphone (2009), sought to attempt something more historical with his third film, and chose this interesting period in the early 17th century. Philip Gowan explains the background to the film. (London Korea Links, September 29 2011)

DMZ Docs 2011 Closes With Tiniest Place Top WinnerThe 3rd DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival (DMZ Docs 2011) closed with a screening of The Tiniest Place. Directed by Tatiana Huezo, the international competition top award winner. The Mexican film was the recipient of the White Goose Award which comes with KW15 million and the honor of screening as the festival’s Closing Film. The documentary film festival, which ran for seven days, took place around Paju City, led by co-festival directors Cho Jae-hyun and Yoo Ji-tae. (kobiz, September 30, 2011)

Sector 7 and Five Other Korean Films to Screen at Tokyo
Six Korean films have been invited to the upcoming 24th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF)  including the sci-fi film Sector 7 as a Special Screening. The other Korean films include Kong Quee-hyun’s mystery U.F.O. and Na Hong-jin’s thriller The Yellow Sea, which will both feature in the Winds of Asia section. The 3D underwater creature feature Sector 7 is due for release in Japan on Nov. 12, 2011. (kobiz, September 30, 2011)

The 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)’s Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) will join the World Documentary Exchange (WDE), a documentary network between Europe, the Americas, and henceforth Asia. The expanded network aims to create more opportunities for documentaries around the world. (kobiz, September 30, 2011)

Stateless Things and The Day He Arrives Continue Fest Rounds
Kim Kyung-mook’s Stateless Things has been invited to the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), which runs in Canada until Oct. 14. Kim’s independent film is in the Dragons and Tigers competition. Stateless Things has also been invited to the upcoming 55th BFI London Film Festival’s World Cinema section, along with Hong Sang-soo’s The Day He Arrives. The London Film Festival will run Oct. 12 – 27 this year. (kobiz, September 29, 2011)
The Busan Cinema Center, which features a huge roof shaped in a wavelike pattern, opened Thursday in Busan. It is propped up by a single pillar built to resemble a pair of ice-cream cones. The center will be the main venue of the annual Busan International Film Festival, previously known as the Pusan International Film Festival. With the completion of the center, the southern port city wants to be recognized not only as a regional cinematic hub but also as the home of key architectural landmarks. (The Chosun Ilbo, September 30, 2011)
A movie currently running in cinemas is sparking a growing call for the revision of laws governing sexual crimes against the disabled and minors. The Crucible, a film based on the true story about school staff sexually assaulting hearing impaired students, is adding mounting pressure on policymakers and politicians to change the laws on sexual assaults on children and welfare foundations. (The Korea Times, September 29, 2011)

Song Stars as Grieving Documentary Maker
After starring as the famous Joseon gisaeng - female entertainer - Hwang Jin-i and the mysterious daughter of a Korean shaman, Song Hye-kyo is returning to the big screen as a documentary filmmaker mourning the death of her fiance. "When I pick movies, I don't really think about whether the film I'm going to shoot is going to be a commercial one or an art house one," Song told reporters at a press conference promoting the film, A Reason to Live, on Monday. (asiaone.com, September 27, 2011)
Fans of Oldboy star Choi Min-sik have had to face rather a lot of downtime for the actor in recent days, Choi first withdrawing from the film industry entirely to protest proposed changes to the screen quota system in 2006 and then working only sparingly since his return. Kim Ji-Woon's 2010 effort I Saw The Devil was just Choi's second lead role since 2005 effort Crying Fist and his only work since that effort was to contribute his voice to an animated feature. But Choi will be back in 2012 in the lead role of Yun Jong-bin's The War Against Crime (aka Nameless Gangster) in which he will play opposite Ha Jung-woo as a government official in Busan during a very public and hard fought war against organized crime in the early 1990s. (Twitch, October 3, 2011)

Pan-Asian Youth Film School Opens in Busan
A film academy inviting young aspiring filmmakers from across Asia began last week ahead of the opening Thursday of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). The Asian Film Academy (AFA) opened for the seventh time Thursday as part of the country’s largest cinema event. This year’s installment has invited 24 men and women from 17 countries to take part in workshops, master classes, mentoring sessions and other educational initiatives. (The Korea Times, October 3, 2011)

How a New Cinema Center Could Change the Busan Film Festival
Organizers hope the $15 million Busan Cinema Center, designed by Coop Himmelblau, will dazzle festgoers arriving for one of Asia's most important film events. Destination architecture is hitting the film festival world with the opening of the Busan Cinema Center. Designed by influential contemporary architects Coop Himmelblau of Austria, the building will serve as the home of Asia's largest cinema event, the Busan International Film Festival, which opens Oct. 6 in South Korea's second-largest city after Seoul. (The Hollywood Reporter, Ocotber 1, 2011)

Korean Film Archive Showcases 'Radio Days'
Throughout October, the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) is holding a free VOD retrospective on films from the golden era of the 60s that were originally based on popular radio programs called “Radio Days”. The program will feature 10 films. In Korea, the 1950s and 60s were the heyday of not just films but of radio, too, and a lot of radio programs that were popular hits were then adapted into films and plays. The classic films A Romantic Papa, directed by Shin Sang-ok in 1960, and The Sea Knows (a.k.a. Hyunhaetan Knows), directed by Kim Kee-duk in 1961, were both based on radio serial shows. (kobiz, October 4, 2011)

Busan International Film Festival to Amuse Movie Fans With 307 Films
Busan is set to thrill movie lovers from around the world when the 16th Busan International Film Festival gets underway on October 6 for nine days. Over 300 films from 70 countries, as well as a plethora of famous movie stars from both Korea and overseas, will be featured at the festival this year. A number of films have already sold out their screenings in record times. (korea.net, October 5, 2011)

In the aftermath of the box-office hit Dogani (aka The Crucible/Silenced), depicting the true tale of sexual abuse in a school for hearing-impaired students, the Gwangju Metropolitan Office of Education determined Monday that it would force the Inhwa School to shut down. Gwangju officials convened an emergency meeting to discuss measures against the school for disabled students and will require all 22 students to be transferred to another establishment soon. (Joong Ang Daily, October 5, 2011)

Actress Kang Soo-yeon has been chosen as one of the judges of this year’s Asiana International Short Film Festival. Along with the actress, four other prominent film industry names, including Japanese director Isshin Inudo, chief director of the festival Seigo Tono, director of Guanajuato International Film Festival Sara Hoch and director Kim Tae-yong, have been selected as judges this year, according to the festival organizers. (Joong Ang Daily, October 5, 2011)
The 2nd Gwacheon International SF Festival in Korea opens today (Sept. 30) with the Japanese animation Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society 3D directed by Kenji Kamiyama. The festival will run until Oct 16 at the Gwacheon National Science Museum. It aims to encourage creativity and imagination in children by combining "scientific imagination and filmic imagination". (kobiz, September 29, 2011)

Korean High-Schooler Wins Int'l Animation Award 
A Korean high school senior has won a prize at the 2011 Ottawa International Animation Festival. Kim Bo-won of Korea Animation High School in Hanam, Gyeonggi Province was given the 2011 Adobe Prize for Best High School Animation for her work titled I'm Sorry, beating about 2,000 entries from around the world. (The Chosun Ilbo, September 30, 2011)

Another Film Shows Sexual Abuse of the Disabled in N. Jeolla Area
With the hit Korean movie The Crucible fueling public outrage against sexual abuse of the disabled, another film about sexual violence against the disabled in Gimje, North Jeolla Province, is drawing keen attention. The Crucible, a 125-minute commercial feature, includes descriptions of sexual assault in Gwangju, but Sum, an 89-minute independent film, describes the pain and love of the heroine and the rape victims. Park Ji-won, a 30-year-old disabled woman, played the heroine in Sum and more than 20 other people with disabilities also performed as supporting cast. (The Dong-a Ilbo, October 1, 2011)

Korean Animation Waddles Into China
The first Korean animated film to play at Chinese theaters opened at 3,000 screens yesterday and is about the adventures of a hen who escapes a chicken farm to realize her dream of hatching her own egg. Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild is based on the hit teenage novel of the same name and has a running time of 93 minutes. The 3-billion-won ($2.5-million) film is currently showing nationwide in China with dubbing in mandarin. It earlier became the first Korean animation to draw 1 million viewers domestically, experts said, where it posted box-office receipts in excess of 2.2 million after it was released in July on 350 screens. (Joong Ang Daily, October 1, 2011)

Pres. Lee Calls for Measures to Prevent Sexual Crimes Against Disabled & Minors
President Lee Myung-bak recently got to watch the much-talked about Korean movie The Crucible which is based on a true story about school staff sexually assaulting hearing impaired students. After watching it, the President said that our society needs to be more conscious of sexual crimes against the disabled, and that he will work to better protect people with disabilities and minors from becoming victims of such crimes. (arirang.co.kr, October 4, 2011)

Film Picks for 2011 Busan Film Fest
The 16th annual Busan International Film festival, one of the world’s most prestigious, will once again kick off on the 1st Thursday of October. The sheer amount of film options can seem a bit overwhelming. Approximately 300 movies from 70 different countries with 135 world premiers will be screened in Haeundae, Centum City, and Namp-dong. Here is a "lockdown" list of picks. (The Vanguard Element, October 5, 2011)

IMAX Signs Revenue Share Deal in China With CJ CGV Holdings, Ltd
IMAX Corporation today announced that CJ CGV Holdings, LTD, a subsidiary of Korean media conglomerate CJ CGV Co. Ltd., has signed a revenue share agreement to add 15 new IMAX(R) digital theatre systems in the People's Republic of China. Under the terms of the agreement, CJ CGV Holdings, LTD is scheduled to install the first IMAX systems in 2011, with all remaining installations expected to be completed between 2013 and 2017. (Market Watch, October 4, 2011)
Spike Lee is set to direct an American version of the South Korean favorite Oldboy, withJosh Brolin looking like the guy to play the lead role. Brolin would be a man who is kidnapped one night and imprisoned for fifteen years for reasons unknown to him. Released back into society just as abruptly as he was snatched, he begins to look for the person or persons responsible for his incarceration. Along the way he meets a young chef who becomes his partner in the search. And now there’s a report that Rooney Mara, of The Social Network (2010) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011), is the choice to play that role. (/Film, September 28, 2011)


INTERVIEW

Metamorpheses Director Oh In-chun
Inchun Oh is a Korean filmmaker, director and screenwriter. Born on August 30, 1980, he studied filmmaking at Korea National University of Arts, where he wrote and directed A Moment - a collaboration between Korea National University of Arts and Beijing Film Academy, filmed entirely in Beijing. His latest short film Metamorphoses (2011) has been screened internationally at a number of film festivals. (Hangul Celluloid, October 3, 2011)


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Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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