Four Korean Films Taking Part in Third Eye Asian Film Festival

Mumbai Fest Takes to Korean Thrillers, Horror, Romance The Third Eye Asia Film Festival kicked off its 13th edition on New Year’s Day in Mumbai. Featuring 36 films from eight Asian countries, as well as a trio of French retro screenings, the festival has included four Korean films in its current lineup. Though not new, the most famous among them is JANG Cheol-soo’s revenge thriller debut Bedevilled from 2010. Widely programmed and made available commercially in a number of markets, the dark thriller stands as one of the most recognizable Korean films of the last few years overseas. From 2011, the high concept romantic drama Pain, from veteran director KWAK Kyung-taek (Friend, 2001) will screen. The film stars KWON Sang-woo (71-Into the Fire, 2010) as a debt collector who can feel no pain who falls for a haemophiliac played by JUNG Ryeo-won (Castaway on the Moon, 2009). BYUN Young-joo’s romantic thriller Helpless (2012) is also on the program. A mystery about a man,

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CGV Opens New Arthouse Screens in Vietnamese

Korean Exhibitor to Make Vietnamese Indies Available at Discounted Rates Korea’s top exhibitor CJ CGV, a subsidiary of the CJ Group, is increasing its focus on the Vietnamese market by introducing special CGV Arthouse screens in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City locations. The new screens will be dedicated to Korean films and Vietnamese indies and will be made available at discounted prices. Already the top exhibitor in Vietnam, with 139 screens in 21 multiplexes, CGV, along with fellow Korean exhibitor Lotte Cinemas, control approximately 75% of the Vietnamese cinema market. In addition, sister company CJ Entertainment has begun producing films directly for the local market, with their first four titles to be released by Spring of this year. CJ aims to make 3-5 films a year in Vietnam, a country that produces approximately 15-20 films per annum. The aim of CGV Arthouse is to help young independent filmmakers in a bid to develop the local filmmaking industry. The new initi

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YOO Seung-ho and GO A-ra to Magically Fall in Love

Main Cast Confirmed for KIM Dai-seung’s THE MAGICIAN   Young but strong performers are coming together for The Magician (working title). Joining the already confirmed YOO Seung-ho is 24-year old GO A-ra of Pacemaker (2011) and popular TV series Reply 1994, who has signed up for the main female role. YOO Seung-ho, who is only 21-years old, is a veteran actor in the Korean film industry with his debut work dating back to 2002 with The Way Home. Following the box office hit of his debut, YOO continued to take part in films and TV series until he went to serve the country in the military. The Magician will mark his comeback after finishing his service this month, and has gained much interest from his fans and the media through the announcement of his casting.   YOO will be playing a magician who meets and falls in love with a princess, while GO will transform into the princess, on her way to get married off to China during the Qing Dynasty. Some of Korea’s favorite supporting act

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NEW Shares Jump 15% on Opening Day

$103 Million Raised by Korean Film Studio Korean film studio Next World Entertainment (NEW) had a successful initial public offering last week on Korean Exchange trading board KOSDAQ, raising KRW 113.29 billion (USD 103.06 million). Opening at KRW 15,800, the stock value rose 15% to KRW 18,150 during its first day of trading. Ahead of the flotation, Chinese distributor Huace Film & TV became NEW’s second stakeholder after investing USD 52.7 million for a 15% share of the company. An MOU was signed between both companies which would see them set up a joint venture that would produce at least two features a year over a five-year period. NEW rocketed to prominence last year after capturing 18% of the Korean theatrical exhibition market on the back of its hits Miracle in Cell No. 7, New World, Hide and Seek and The Attorney, challenging the traditional dominance of vertically integrated majors CJ Entertainment and Lotte Entertainment, as well as Showbox/Mediaplex. 2014 ha

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MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER Becomes Best Performing Diversity Film

Looking at 4 Million in Ticket Sales My Love, Don’t Cross that River surpassed Old Partner (2009), 3 million admissions, and even Begin Again. According to KOFIC’s Integrated Ticket Sales Network on December 29th, the sweet love story about an old couple collected 3,550,530 admissions, meaning it has far passed Old Partner, who had kept the first place in the documentary category with 2.93 million. Begin Again was also defeated which had recorded 3,426,897 admissions and were tending the number one spot in diversity category. My Love, Don’t Cross that River is trucking on from just recording first place in the diversity box office, and is looking towards hitting 4 million. As the documentary had reached 3 million mark on Christmas day, it felt like a present to the filmmakers. However, from the 22nd until the 28th, the admissions dropped 190,000 from the previous week, with just 1,149,463 tickets sold. It seems to be dying down after its hot run due to word of mouth on social me

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A GIRL AT MY DOOR and HAEMOO Invited to Palm Springs IFF

First Major Fest Invites for Korean Films in 2015 One of the earliest events on the film festival calendar, the Palm Springs International Film Festival will kick off its 26th edition on January 2nd. As with previous years, Korean cinema will be on the menu, with July JUNG’s A Girl at My Door and SHIM Sung-bo’s Haemoo bearing the flag for Korean films on the international stage in early 2015. Following its debut in the Un Certain Regard section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the drama A Girl at My Door, starring BAE Doo-na and KIM Sae-ron, and produced by brothers LEE Chang-dong and LEE Joon-dong, has been invited to a number of international events, such as the Toronton and Busan International Film Festivals, also winning the award for Best First Film at the Stockholm International Film Festival. In addition, JUNG’s debut film secured distribution in a clutch of key markets, including France and the UK. A Girl at My Door will screen in the ‘World Cinema Now’ section. &nbs

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CHOI Min-sik’s THE GREAT TIGER Begins Shooting

Period Hunting Film Aims for Late 2015 Release Hot off the dizzying success of period naval war blockbuster Roaring Currents, which has netted him Best Actor accolades from the Korean Association of Film Critics and the Grand Bell (Daejong) Film Awards, CHOI Min-sik began shooting his next film last week. Entitled The Great Tiger (literal title), this new work is also a period piece and is being directed by New World’s PARK Hoon-jung. CHOI plays CHUN Man-duk, a hunter who was enlisted to catch the last remaining tiger on the Korean peninsula during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century. Co-starring with him are JUNG Man-sik (Miracle in Cell No. 7), KIM Sang-ho (Haemoo), LA Mi-ran (Hope) and Japanese actor OSUGI Ren (KITANO Takeshi’s Fireworks, 1997). Director PARK previously worked with CHOI on his hit gangster thriller New World. He also wrote KIM Jee-woon’s I Saw the Devil (2010), another CHOI film, as well as RYOO Seung-wan’s The Unjust (2010).

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2014 KAFA+ Global China Pre-Biz Program Launched

A neighbouring industry that recently became an important partner to Korea is China. Ever since the signing of the Korea-China Co-production Agreement in July of this year during XI Jinping’s visit to Korea, the two industries didn’t waste any time in starting to work together. Educational subsidiary of the Korean Film Council (Chairman KIm Eui-suk, KOFIC), the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) has held its fourth year of a program called Global China Pre-Biz Program for filmmakers interested in entering the Chinese film industry. As China looks highly of Korean film industry’s planning, production, and human resources, Korean filmmakers also look positively into entering the neighbour’s industry. Especially at this year’s Pre-Biz Program, directors and producers who have worked with or are working on projects with China participated in the session, providing valuable and substantial help to those attending the event. The session was held from November 9th until the 13th for fi

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ALIVE Wins Special Mention at SGIFF Silver Screen Awards

Another Award for Director and Actor PARK Jung-bum At the 25th Singapore International Film Festival, the Silver Screen Awards recognized PARK Jung-bum’s Alive by handing him the Special Mention Award. The awards took place on the 13th (local time), and the festival commented that the film was chosen because “Passion and conviction are very much alive in actor-director Park Jung-bum’s ode to human stoicism. Despite a run time of almost three hours, this film carries us along with its craft and dedication”. At this year’s festival, a multitude of Korean films were programmed. The list includes few works from IM Kwon-taek who received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the festival along with a tribute program. IM’s films include Village in the Mist (1982), Mandara (1981) and his most recent film, Revivre. Other Korean films invited were Director HAN Yun-sun’s 18-Eighteen Noir, LEE Do-yun’s Confession, and KIM Ki-duk’s One on One which went to Asian Vision section. Alive was the

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Korea-China Co-Production FINDING THE LOST MASTER

KANG Gyeong-jun and HUH Yoo-jung Cast as Leads A member of the idol group ‘Bob Girls’, HUH Yoo-jung and actor KANG Gyeong-jun have been cast for a Korea-China co-production film, Finding the Lost Master. The film which takes Korean traditional martial arts taekwondo as its subject matter is a collaborative production from Shenzhen’s CQG and Beijing’s JH ENT. KANG Gyeong-jun will play the male protagonist named KIM Hyun-bin, who is a national taekwondo representative from Korea attending the 200th anniversary of Choy Lee Fut, a martial arts academy in China. HUH Yoo-jung will act alongside him as a reckless interpreter named PARK Yoo-jung with a peculiar character. Big name staff and crew are involved in the film. Hong Kong director Lik-chi LEE responsible for Ones Upon a Time a Hero in China (1992) and Ten Brothers (1995) is partnering with the cinematographer of Thunder Cop (1996), Lau Hung-chuen. The main female character will be played by Angela Chen, a popular actress

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JEON Soo-il’s A KOREAN IN PARIS Now in Post Production

A Korean Film Fully Shot in France A Korean in Paris directed by JEON Soo-il and starring CHO Jae-hyun has gone into post production following its France location shoot. The film that shot fully in France tells the story about a woman who disappears on her honeymoon. The husband believes that she has been kidnapped and goes on a search as the film follows his journey. JEON picked France as the location to shoot the film because the plot is based on a real story about a man who actually went on a search for his wife on their honeymoon in Paris. Shooting and editing have both wrapped up. The film is currently in sound recording stage since December 1st. In the third week of December, color correction will be taking place, followed by Korean, French, and English subtitling. The film is aiming for a completed DCP by end of February.JEON commented that through A Korean in Paris, “I want to talk about how fate is determined, how it rules over us, and how we come to accept it.”

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35th Blue Dragon Awards Names THE ATTORNEY Best Film

A HARD DAY and HAN GONG-JU Among Winners On December 17th, the 35th Blue Dragon Awards were held at the Seoul Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Hosted by actors YU Jun-sang (The Target) and KIM Hye-soo (The Thieves [2012]), the awards recognized talents in 16 filmmaking categories. The Attorney, which was already stirring up a lot of talk prior to the awards due to its multiple nominations, ended up converting four of its eleven nominations. Strong titles competed for the Best Film Award. Cannes official invitee A Hard Day went up against local record breaker Roaring Currents, the heavily nominated The Attorney, as well as the musical hit Miss Granny and the social drama Whistle Blower. In the end, YANG Woo-suk’s The Attorney took home the trophy. In addition, The Attorney also took the Best Actor Award for SONG Kang-ho, Best Supporting Actress for KIM Young-ae and the Popular Star Award for IM Si-wan. In the Best Director category, the same titles were nominated, ex

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LEE Sun-kyun and Director KANG Yi-Kwan Team Up for LOVE IS A VIRUS

High Concept Romantic Thriller to Lens in March 2015 Hot off the success of the thriller A Hard Day, actor LEE Sun-gyun has chosen the high concept romantic thriller Love Is a Virus (literal title) as his next project. The film will be directed by Juvenile Offender (2012) filmmaker KANG Yi-kwan. LEE will feature as a man trying to develop a vaccine for a virus that kills off its hosts in five days unless they fall in love. At the same time, he meets an infected woman. Active since the beginning of the millennium, LEE has starred in major commercial hits such as the romcom All about My Wife (2012) and the thriller Helpless (2012), as well as appearing in indie fare such as Paju (2009) and numerous HONG Sangsoo films, including Nobody’s Daughter Haewon and Our Sunhi last year. He will next be seen alongside KIM Go-eun in Angry Lawyer early next year. KANG is coming off his festival hit Juvenile Offender, which netted awards at the Tokyo and Cinemanila International Film Festivals.

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8th Korean Film Festival in Cambodia Invites 5 Films

MASQUERADE Sells Out Before Show Founded in 2006 and organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Kingdom of Cambodia, the 8th Korean Film Festival was held from December 6th to the 10th in Phnom Penh. This year, the festival selected five contemporary Korean films to present to local audiences. Screenings were held at Platinum Cineplex, Legend Cinema, City Mall Shopping Center and the Chaktomuk Theater. The programming included the SONG Joong-ki led A Werewolf Boy (2012), the period piece Masquerade (2012), director Bong Joon Ho’s The Host (2006), a story about a very special ‘old’ family, Boomerang Family (2013) and a new art film that’s been receiving a lot of attention, Set Me Free. Films were all well attended, especially the closing night film Masquerade which sold out before the show started. Although the festival was well attended and many enjoyed the screenings, there were some complaints in regards to the lack of Khmer dubbing like in past years and

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Korean Knocks on Singapore, a New Film Market

KOFIC’s Korea-Singapore Co-production Seminar Held December 11th In an attempt to find new markets and partnerships, the Korean Film Council (Chairman: KIM Eui-suk, KOFIC) has turned its face towards Singapore. In order to increase the relationship between the two nations, KOFIC attended Screen Singapore which started on December 9th. There, KOFIC organized a special seminar to bring together the film professionals from the two countries, promote Korean cinema, and ran a booth to support sales of Korean films. The Korea-Singapore Co-production Seminar which was held on the 11th at the Singapore Pavilion was organized by KOFIC and the Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA) and many industry related professionals attended. The event provided an opportunity for Singaporean and Korean professionals to have networking time and to find possible co-production projects which will expand the market for both sides. The moderator of the session was the Singapore MDA’s Director,

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15th Women in Film Korea 2014 Festival Held

YUM Jung-ah, CHUN Woo-hee, July JUNG Among Awardees The 15th Women in Film Korea 2014 Festival was held on the 4th of December. The event took place at CineCode Sonje at 7:30pm, moderated by young actress GO A-ra. Organized by Women in Film Korea and supported by the Korean Film Council (Chairman KIM Eui-suk, KOFIC), the event presented awards in 8 categories to recognize the stellar women in Korean film industry for 2014. Actress YUM Jung-ah who starred in BOO Ji-young’s Cart took home the top recognition, Woman in Film of the Year Award, while Acting Award went to the Sunny (2011) actress CHUN Woo-hee for her role in LEE Su-jin’s Han Gong-ju. Achievement Award went to KIM Ji-mee who dominated the theatres in the 60s and 70s as an actress and who continue to have influence in the film industry as a producer, investor, and also as the KOFIC’s council member. In the director and scenario section, July JUNG took the trophy for her debut feature, A Girl at My Door, while LIM

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Korean Doc Becomes Top Indie of the Year

MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER Crosses 300,000 A new Korean documentary is in the midst of a phenomenal run after crossing the 300,000 admissions mark in just under two weeks. My Love, Don’t Cross That River, the story of an elderly couple who face the end of the road after 76 years of marriage, has unseated LEE Su-jin’s Han Gong-ju as the most successful independent film of the year and is still climbing after reaching third place in the daily rankings this week. Following a strong opening weekend, during which it ranked sixth with 54,045 viewers, the film became the quickest indie to eclipse the 100,000 viewer mark, reaching the milestone in just seven days. This past weekend it more than doubled its three-day take to 120,491 and rose to fifth in the rankings. Midweek the film has risen to third place, behind only Exodus: Gods and Kings and sci-fi hit Interstellar. The doc is now showing in 300 screens and is still placing high on the reservations chart. Earlier this y

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SEOUL SEARCHING to Debut in Sundance Premieres Lineup

80s Seoul Summer Camp Comedy Is US-Korea-China Co-Production Award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Benson LEE’s new film Seoul Searching will have its debut at next month’s Sundance Film Festival, as part of its Premieres lineup. A comedy set in a Seoul summer camp in the 1980s, the film marks LEE’s second invitation to the Park City fest. Three Korean teenagers living in the US, Mexico and Germany travel to Seoul for a special summer camp devised by the Korean government for foreign born nationals in Seoul Searching, a coming of age comedy based on real events from 1986. The film stars Justin CHON, Jessika VAN, CHA In-pyo and Crystal KAY. Seoul Searching is an American-Korean-Chinese co-production that was filmed in English on location in Korea. The project availed of the Korean Film Council’s location incentive program and was produced by US outfits Bowery Hills Entertainment and Mondo Paradiso Films while China’s Wonder Vision served as an investor. The USD 2.2 milli

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Rendezvous for KIM Yun-seok and GANG Dong-won

Zip Cinema’s Next Production: BLACK PRIESTS Following their collaboration in 2009 for Woochi, actors KIM Yun-seok and GANG Dong-won are considering partnering up once again for Black Priests (W/T), the next Zip Cinema production. Both actors are currently in the last stages of negotiations for their roles according to KIM’s management company Sim Entertainment, and are trying to confirm their schedules. Rumor has it that the two actors were excited about the film after reading the scenario. Black Priests is about two Catholic priests who get involved in an incident. The film will be directed by JANG Jae-hyun, who won Best Film in the Extreme Nightmare section at the 13th Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival (MSFF) this year for his short 12th Assistant Deacon. Black Priests will be the feature version of 12th Assistant Deacon and is the JANG’s first commercial feature. It is possible that GANG had his eyes on director JANG’s work after participating at MSFF as a jury member

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