Thursday, August 16, 2012

3rd Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) Preview

MKC is a proud Media Partner of the 3rd Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA).

The premiere showcase for Korean cinema down under is returning for its third edition next week with what promises to be an even bigger event following last year's already very impressive gains. The 3rd KOFFIA will showcase 20 features and 13 shorts in three different cities. It begins on August 22-28 in Sydney before moving on to Melbourne (September 8-12) and will finish up in Brisbane (September 27-30).

Opening the festival will the hugely popular and critically-acclaimed period blockbuster War of the Arrows. In the same vein, the heartwarming runaway hit Sunny will close out the proceedings with director Kang Hyeong-cheol in attendance.

Both of those are featured in the 'Panorama' section which also includes recents commercial and critical hits such as the wonderful geriatric romance Late Blossom, Im Sang-soo's blistering The Taste of Money, Jang Hoon's Korean War epic The Front Line, Hong Sang-soo's Isabelle Huppert vehicle In Another Country and Hong's The Day He Arrives. Besides 'Panorama', there are another 5 sections to choose from this year: 'Modern Classics', 'Animation', 'Documentary', 'K'Mystery' and 'K-Comedy'.

'Modern Classics' will take a look at some of the landmark Korean films that have emerged as consensus picks following the local industry's resurgence. Park Chan-wook's deliriously popular Oldboy (2003), Kim Ki-duk's meditative Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring... (2003), and Hur Jin-ho's touching Christmas in August (1998) will all be screened as part of the sidebar.

Following last year's breakthrough for Korean animation, both the commercial hit Leafie: A Hen Into the Wild and the festival favorite King of Pigs will be screened at the event. Before last year Korean animation was something of a non-entity but that has quickly changed and these two films are currently at the forefront of the movement.

Over the years, Korea has been quietly but steadily making and releasing a string of powerful documentaries. In 2009, Old Partner became a surprise hit and now more and more documentaries are gaining wider exposure. Kim Ki-duk's award-winning Cannes competition film Arirang will be presented in KOFFIA's 'Documentary' program alongside The Reason Why I Step.

Finally there will be two genre spotlights at this year's festival. The first is called 'K-Mystery' and will focus on a trio of the country's fine thrillers. The fast-paced courtroom thriller The Client will be shown alongside the powerful student film Bleak Night and the controversial real life story Silenced, which prompted a rewrite of the constitution.

'K-Comedy' is the second genre focus and will feature the enormously popular romcom All About My Wife, last year's period detective film Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Widow and 2008's megahit Speedy Scandal.

In addition to the features, a number of shorts will be screened in what is the festival's inaugural competition section.  These include See You Tomorrow and Anesthesia from the Berlin Film Festival, Fly By Night and Ghost from Cannes and Remember O Goddess which recently succeeded in crowdsourcing its production costs for a full-length version.

The 3rd KOFFIA features a stellar program of hits and favorites old and new and is a must for anyone in Australia interested in cinema, not just Korean!

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Korean Reviews, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (Korean Standard Time).

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