Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Korean Cinema News (02/02-02/08, 2012)

The big news this week is the announcement of this year's Korean Blogathon which is being presented by cineAWESOME! and New Korean Cinema and will this year be hosted on Modern Korean Cinema and a number of other sites, visit the press release below for more information.


Join Us For ‘Korean Blogathon 2012′
Last year New Korean Cinema played host to the Korean Blogathon – a week which was used to try to shine the spotlight on Korean films and the people who are writing about them online.  The response blew us away – over the seven days many great articles emerged from some brilliant writers and this created some interesting discussions about many varied aspects of Korean film and filmmakers.  It was such a great event that we promised the Blogathon would return…. so here we go!  (New Korean Cinema, February 7, 2012)


Seven Korean Films Invited to 2012 Berlinale
Seven Korean films have been invited to this year’s Berlinale, scheduled for Feb. 9-19.  Among the seven, director Kang Ju-gyu’s 28 billion won war blockbuster My Way and Jeon Kyu-hwan’s drama Varanasi have been invited to the festival’s non-competition “Panorama” section.  (The Korea Herald, February 1, 2012)

More Images From Yim Pil-sung and Kim Ji-woon's The Doomsday Book
Just last week we heard the good news that the omnibus sci-fi project The Doomsday Book was back on its feet after a long hiatus.  The cast includes Kim Gyu-ri, Kim Kang-woo, Ryoo Seung-beom, Cho Youn-hee, Kim Seo-hyung, and Song Sae-byeok.  The film will hit Korean cinemas this Spring and will also screen at EFM in Berlin next week.  (Twitch, February 2, 2012)

'Jang Keun Suk effect!' You’re My Pet Earns 2.4 Million Dollars
Jang Keun Suk showed off his box office power on the Japanese silver screen.  You’re My Pet, which was released in Japan on January 21, earned 2,424,009 dollars by January 29.  The movie ranked ninth in box office receipts in the second week.  (, February 2, 2012)

Korean Film in 2012
The Korean film industry has a lot to offer for the year of 2012. Korean films have been gathering more attention around the world and in the domestic market, as Korean films gain attention and Korean actors and producers take part in more international collaborations.  According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the market share for Korean films was 51.9%, up from 46.5 in 2010 and marking the first time in modern history that Korean moviegoing audiences showed a marked preference for domestic movies.  As well, film exports increased by 14% in 2011.  (IT Times, February 3, 2012)

The cast of Korean director Bong Joon-ho's (The Host) first English-language movie, the post-apocalyptic drama Snow Piercer, was already impressive, but it just got even better.  Captain America: The First Avenger star Chris Evans was the first to sign on, but he was soon joined by two-time Academy Award-nominated actor John Hurt (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton).  Now, the cast has gained another Oscar contender as THR reports Octavia Spencer (The Help) has also joined the cast.  (, February 5, 2012)

Finecut Acquires Hong Sang-soo's Another Country
The South Korean sales company will be screening a promo reel at the upcoming European Film Market.  South Korean company Finecut is handling international sales on Hong Sang-soo’s new film Another Country, starring the award-winning actress Isabelle Huppert. The film was shot in summer last year and is now in post-production.  (Screen Daily, February 6, 2012)

Leafie Launches 108 Media
Toronto-based 108 Media is launching at the Berlin market by acquiring English-language rights to Korean animated title Leafie: A Hen Into the Wild.  Company will focus on worldwide sales and Canadian distribution of films, TV, gaming and mobile content.  Funded by private equity, 108 Media is headed by Abhishek Rastogi, former managing director of Cinesavvy.  (Variety, February 6, 2012)

KOFIC to Support 33 Korean-Foreign Joint Productions in 2012
The Korean Film Council will be supporting 33 Korean-foreign joint production films this year, as well as small-sale production houses and distributors, its officials announced in a press meeting in Myeong-dong, Seoul, Tuesday.  The council kicked off the 2 billion won project for the 33 joint productions on Tuesday by announcing its official call for submissions.  (The Korea Herald, February 7, 2012)

Romantic Heaven Picks Up award at 30th Fajr International Film Festival
The 30th Fajr International Film Festival in Iran bequeathed its best screenplay award went to South Korean film Romantic Heaven by director/writer Jang Jin. (Tehran Times, February 7, 2012)

Film Unbowed Creates Nationwide Stir on Fair Trial
The Korean film Unbowed has now become the center of attention in Korea, drawing more than 2.5 million viewers since it opened in mid-January.  The film succeeded in reaching out to millions of viewers, as the film focuses on unfair and biased legal procedures.  Although this movie is based on a true story, it has created a stir nationwide on whether or not the plot has been exaggerated or even modified from the actual facts.  (Arirang TV, February 7, 2012)


Lee Myeong-se – “Better and Sweeter”
Award winning films, Nowhere To Hide (1999), Duelist (2005) and M (2007) are amongst those directed by Lee Myeong-se.  In between directing (& writing) these action, fantasy & thriller-noir titles he’s given the world further tales made up of dramas, love stories and comedies.   However, it’s not only the genre-busting he seems to do well it’s also in his filming techniques.   Rarely does a scene pass without some brilliant imagery.   With all this in mind, it’s my reckoning that this down-to-earth and funny guy is more than capable of pulling off his forthcoming feature.   We cover that film and others in our interview together.  Well done, ‘Mister Lee’!  (Mini Mini Movie Review, February 2, 2012)

Back From Near Extinction, Dinosaurs Tromp Through New Film
Dinosaurs once roamed through Korean film, but none were very fierce.  All of the reptiles were shoddy creatures shot with miniature action figures, resulting in unnatural performances and awkward movements.  The lack of technology also allowed these gigantic characters just one facial expression: an angry face with a mouth wide open to reveal a set of threatening, peg-like teeth.  Then, in the late 90’s, dinosaur films did a disappearing act and it looked like they were on their way to extinction.  (Joong Ang Daily, February 3, 2012)

Interview With Director Lee Kwang-kuk
Formerly an assistant director to Hong Sang-soo, Lee Kwang-kuk has struck off on his own to make his feature debut with Romance Joe.  After a world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, Romance Joe made its international premiere in the Tiger Awards Competition at the recently wrapped International Film Festival Rotterdam.  Lee spoke with Jean Noh ahead of and at the festival about his work.  (KoBiZ, February 6, 2012)


Doomsday Book

Miss Conspirator

Romance Joe


Eighteen and Nineteen

The Taste of Money



(Modern Korean Cinema, February 5, 2011)

Two Korean films emerged as major hits in 2012's Lunar New Year holiday season – Dancing Queen and Unbowed.  The success of Dancing Queen, which sold 2.26 million tickets in its first two weeks on release, was not entirely unexpected.  (KoBiZ, February 3, 2012)

Korean movies are outshining their international counterparts at domestic box offices, according to statistics released recently by the Korean Film Commission, as the top-five most-watched movies at the moment are all homegrown.  (Joong Ang Daily, February 7, 2012)

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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