The London Korean Film Festival 2012

The 2012 installment of the London Korean Film Festival begins this coming weekend, opening on the 1st of November and continuing through to the 11th in the capital before taking the show on the road to Glasgow, Bristol and Bournemouth. This year has been incredible for Korean cinema and the quality of films produced is reflected in the stellar line-up.

The opening gala, to be held at he high profile Odeon West End, will feature the most successful film in Korean cinematic history – The Thieves (도둑들). Following the screening will be a Q&A session with director Choi Dong-hoon (최동훈) and actor Kim Yoon-seok (김윤석), who has appeared in such prolific films including The Chaser (추격자), The Yellow Sea (황해), and Punch (완득이). Bookending the festival on the 10th of November will be the hugely – and still currently – successful film Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자), also featuring an Q&A with director Choo Chang-min (추창민) and superstar Lee Byeong-Heon (이병헌), who is in London filming action film Red 2.

The festival will also highlight several other of the notable films produced in Korea this year, including science-fiction disease thriller Deranged (연가시) about a new form of parasite that spreads chaos across Korea, comedy-drama Dancing Queen (댄싱퀸) involving a middle-aged woman who attempts to realize her life-long ambitions, and poetically romantic Eungyo (AKA A Muse) (은교) which explores the love that develops between an aging poet and a 17 year old girl. Also present are All About My Wife (내 아내의 모든 것), a comedy about a man desperately trying to divorce his nagging other half, table tennis drama As One (코리아) which is based on the true events of the Northern and Southern teams forced to play together at the 1991 Championships, and Top Gun-inspired action film R2B: Return to Base (R2B: 리턴투베이스).

The Thieves (도둑들)

The Thieves (도둑들) will open the festival

Animated films are ably represented in the form of stark, poignant drama King of Pigs (돼지의 왕) about a reunion of school friends that forces old secrets to light, and indie hit Padak (파닥파닥) involving a fish attempting to escape his fate at a sushi restaurant and return to the ocean. Katuri – A Story of a Mother Bird (엄마 까투리), will also feature.

To honour director Choi Dong-hoon (최동훈), as well as opening the festival with his latest success The Thieves there will also be a retrospective of his work including The Big Swindle (범죄의 재구성), Tazza: The High Rollers (타짜), and Jeon Woo-chi : The Taoist Wizard (전우치).

For the full line-up and to purchase tickets for the event, please head over to the official London Korean Film Festival website, or alternatively visit Hangul Celluloid who first broke news of the line up and sports a host of reviews and interviews with those within the industry.

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Jeon Chan-il (전찬일) introduces Dance Town (댄스 타운)

LKFF Day 3 – Mise-en-scene 1, Detective K (조선명탐정: 각시투구꽃의 비밀) and Dance Town (댄스 타운)

Protestors stand up to police at Trafalgar Square

Protestors stand up to police at Trafalgar Square

Day 3 of the London Korean Film Festival was based solely at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), with a backdrop of anti-capitalist protests through the Trafalgar Square and the Westminster area. Except for the film screenings themselves, it was a fairly uneventful day.

First was a showing entitled ‘Mise-en-scene’, which comprised of short films including Park Chan-kyong‘s (박찬경) and Park Chan-wook‘s (박찬욱) Night Fishing (파란만장), Negligence of Duty (Social Service Agent), PromiseHideout and City. 

Detective K (조선명탐정: 각시투구꽃의 비밀) was the second screening, a comedy set during the Joseon Dynasty about corrupt government officials.

Jeon Chan-il (전찬일) introduces Dance Town (댄스 타운)

Jeon Chan-il (전찬일) introduces Dance Town (댄스 타운)

Lastly was festival favorite Dance Town (댄스 타운), but before it began, film critic and festival programmer Jeon Chan-il (전찬일) introduced the film. He informed the audience that Dance Town was the third film in a trilogy, preceded by Mozart Town (모차르트 타운, 2008) and Animal Town (애니멀 타운, 2009). The films examine city life in a low-budget, social realist aesthetic for which director Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환) has become renowned. Dance Town is something of a festival darling, as the film has been invited to several notable international festivals and received plenty of awards and critical acclaim. Jeon Chan-il explained that he and the director are friends, and that Jeon Kyu-hwan wishes for audiences to form opinions of Dance Town in a non-political fashion, and to focus on the characters and situations that arise. This is/was easier said than done, as the film is extremely critical in its examination of the society/culture in Seoul and the governmental treatment of refugees.

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LKFF Day 1 - Fans queue for SHINee

SHINee (샤이니) fans crash Odeon server for London Korean Film Festival 2011

The London Korean Film Festival is due to commence November 3rd

When the London Korean Film Festival announced that SHINee (샤이니) would be opening the 2011 event, fans clamored for information about purchasing tickets. The official facebook page quickly became awash with fans desperate for information. However, after it was announced that the tickets were on sale, the Odeon server crashed due to the unprecedented demand. Both the LKFF and Odeon have said that once the server is up and running again, tickets will be available to purchase (here).

SHINee at LKFF 2011

SHINee have also made a short greeting film about visiting the festival, and how they are excited to meet British fans (here). After the concert, it has been reported that the group will then watch the opening film  War of the Arrows (최종병기 활) (aka Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon).

The LKFF runs from November 3rd – November 17th, and will showcase some of the latest blockbusters and classic films from Korea. There will also be competitions for fans to enter and win prizes. For more information, visit the official LKFF page, the LKFF facebook page, and Hanguk Yeonghwa’s reports (here and here).

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SHINee to perform at the London Korean Film Festival 2011

Kpop sensations SHINee (샤이니) , whose hits include ‘Ring Ding Dong’ and ‘Lucifer‘,

SHINee at LKFF 2011

will perform the first concert to open the London Korean Film Festival. According to the official LKFF facebook page, SHINee will perform at the Odeon West End in Leceister Square, in screen 2 on November 3rd at 4.30pm. Tickets will go on sale soon and will be £20-30, and can be bought at the official Odeon website here.

You can visit the Hanguk Yeonghwa page on the upcoming festival here, and visit the official LKFF page here.

As a taster of things to come, here’s the music video for (arguably) their greatest hit, ‘Ring Ding Dong.’

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Upcoming London Korean Film Festival to showcase latest blockbusters

The London Korean Film Festival is due to commence November 3rd

The London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) 2011 will host the European premieres of several of this years Korean blockbusters.

Running from November 3rd-17th, LKFF will open with action/adventure film War of the Arrows (최종병기 활) (aka Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon), which stayed at the top of the Korean box office chart for several weeks and has currently grossed over 55,135 million Won. According to Hangul Celluloid, preceding the premiere will be a K-pop concert beginning at 4.30pm.

In addition, sleeper-hit Sunny (써니) which took the prize for Best Director at The Daejong Film Awards, and The Front Line (고지전), winner of Best Picture and official entry to The Academy Awards, will premiere at the event. Furthermore, gritty urban thriller The Yellow Sea (황해), period-comedy Detective K: Secret of the Virtuous Woman (조선명탐정: 각시투구꽃의 비밀), Kim Ki Duk’s critically acclaimed Poongsan (풍산개), and animated tale Leafie: A Hen Into The Wild (마당을 나온 암탉) will all be showcased.

Here’s a trailer showcasing the upcoming screenings of the festival.

LKFF will also be holding a 1 minute short mobile phone competition, to be judged by none other than Old Boy director Park Chan Wook. The winning short will be shown alongside the Mise-en-Scene Shorts, which will include Park Chan Wook’s Night Fishing (파란만장) which was not only shot entirely on an iphone but also won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film at The Berlin Film Festival.

To win free tickets, LKFF has also arranged a competition for fans to post pictures of themselves with a promotional poster.

Special events, including a Korean Cinema Forum and Masterclasses, will be held featuring academics, journalists and Korean film professionals. Most notably, director Ryoo Seung Wan will host a ‘masterclass’ event  while his back-catalogue will be screened as this years ‘Director’s Retrospective.’ His latest film, The Unjust (부당거래), will be the closing film of the festival.

The festival won’t be restricted to London either; the festival will also travel to Sheffield (12-13th, at the Showroom Sheffield), Cambridge (18-20th at the Arts Picturehouse), and Newcastle (20-24th, at the Tyneside Cinema).

You can book tickets to the festival here.

With so many films being showcased, and unselfishly taking the festival to other cities, the upcoming London Korean Film Festival looks certain to impress.

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