Berlin International Film Festival Invites Revivre, an IM Kwon-taek Film

IM’s 102nd Film Goes to Critics Week Revivre, director IM Kwon-taek’s 102nd feature film was officially invited to the Critics Week. The event, a newly established side bar section this year will be held jointly by the German Critics Association and the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The section was established last among the three major international film festivals after Cannes and Venice. The event will run from February 5 to 12 during the film jubilee period. The organizing committee explained that they selected Revivre as the film matches the purpose of the special week to select works that profoundly and richly ask various questions. “IM Kwon-taek, a living legend of Korean cinema, doesn’t play it safe, but takes all kinds of risks in his latest (102nd) output,” the organizing committee was quoted by Finecut, who is in charge of international distribution. “A touching yet completely unsentimental reflection on aging and beauty is told through a complex structure of flashba

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20 Korean Films to Screen at 44th Rotterdam

From Shorts, Documentaries and Features to Retrospective   At the 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), 20 Korean films will be screened, making it a big year for Korean cinema.   The only Korean short invited to the festival is CHO Seoung-ho’s B.1 which intimately studies the male body. This short will have its workd premiere in the As Long As It Takes: Short program.   The Bright Future section will include PARK Jung-bum’s second feature film, Alive. Bright Future will also include the international premiere of LEE Kwang-kuk’s A Matter of Interpretation and the European premiere of KIM Tae-yong’s Set Me Free.   The Korea-France co-production film by ROH Gyeong-tae, Black Stone, was selected for the Spectrum program, as well as JANG Kun-jae’s Korea-Japan co-production, A Midsummer’s Fantasia.   Concerning socially conscious works, BOO Ji-young’s film about temporary supermarket workers, Cart, was invited to screen in the What the F?! program, whil

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END OF WINTER Invited to Berlinale’s Forum Section

International Premiere for Dankook University Feature   KIM Dae-hwan’s End of Winter has been invited to take part in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Forum section. This screening will be its international premiere, following its debut in the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents lineup last October.   Highlighting experimental and documentary works, often by younger filmmakers, the Forum section will this year stage its 45th edition and screen 43 films from around the world, including 31 world premieres and 10 international premieres.   A debut work by KIM Dae-hwan, End of Winter is a graduate work from Dankook University’s Graduate School of Cinematic Contents, which has in recent years risen to prominence, following the success of LEE Yong-seung’s 10 Minutes (2013), which also screened at Busan and Berlin as well as winning the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema’s top award, and JANG Woo-jin’s A Fresh Start, which took the JJ Star A

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Four More Korean Films Confirmed for Rotterdam

BLACK STONE, CART, A MIDSUMMER’S FANTASIA and SET ME FREE Bring Count to 7 The 44th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) is onlyfive days away. Joining the previously announced Alive, Made in China and A Matter of Interpretation are four more Korean films, including a world premiere and an international premiere. Screening for the very first time will be Black Stone, a French-Korean joint production from director ROH Gyeong-tae. The project initially took part in the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)’s Asian Project Market in 2009, as well as the 5th edition of KOFIC’s Ko-Production in Paris in 2012. ROH previously went to Rotterdam with his films The Last Dining Table (2006) and Black Dove (2011). Black Stone, which is ROH’s fourth feature, was invited to the Spectrum lineup. Also in Spectrum will be JANG Kun-jae’s film A Midsummer’s Fantasia, which will be presented as a European premiere. The Japan-Korea co-production d

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ODE TO MY FATHER Hits 10 Million Admissions

First Film of 2015 to Reach Milestone   JK YOUN’s paternal and nostalgic drama Ode to My Father has exceeded the 10 million admissions point, as anticipated. The film, starring HWANG Jung-min, KIM Yun-jin and OH Dal-su, opened in theaters on December 17th last year, and is still performing well at the box office.   Ode to My Father took second place at the box office on the day of its release, which quickly changed to the top spot the next day. The film kept first place until yesterday, January 15th. According to the Korean Film Council’s Integrated Ticket Sales Network, the film has sold 10.29 million tickets in total to date. It has demonstrated quick growth by hitting a million admissions by the fourth day of its release, then jumping to five million on its 15th day, and reaching 10 million by January 13th.   The film, with its global themes of family and sacrifice, was released in approximately 40 screens in North America. It first opened in Los Angeles on Christmas

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Rotterdam Reveals JANG Jin Retrospective

Section Brings Korean Count at IFFR to 19 The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) revealed its full lineup yesterday, ahead of its January 21st opening. Though we were already aware of seven Korean films participating in this years’s 44th edition, we now know that there will also be a 12-film retrospective of noted filmmaker, writer and producer JANG Jin. Originally a playwright and a variety show writer, JANG moved into the filmmaking scene as the writer of 1996’s A Hot Roof, which is included in IFFR’s retrospective. A key and prolific figure of modern Korean cinema, he has directed, produced and written many hit films, most of which incorporate his noted skill for witty dialogue. Of his directorial output, nine titles will be screened in Rotterdam, including Guns and Talk (2001), 2006’s Someone Grateful (a segment of Human rights omnibus If You Were Me 2), Murder, Take One (2005), Righteous Ties (2006), My Son (2007), The Quiz Show Scandal (2010), Romantic Hea

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Rendezvous for IM Chang-jung and Daniel CHOI

Detective Duo Cracks Down on Corrupt Religious Groups     IM Chang-jung and Daniel CHOI, the two leads from Traffickers (2012), are getting together again for a new detective film, Chi-wae Beop-kwon (working title) which translates as extraterritoriality. IM and CHOI were praised for their roles in Traffickers although the film underperformed, and many are waiting to see how they will partner up for the new project.   IM will play a brilliant criminal profiler who is fast with his fist. CHOI will play the perfect detective who seems to have it all, but is more interested in women than capturing suspects. Together, they try to uncover a man named Sung-ki, who is the sheikh of a cult religion.   IM Chang-jung started his acting career in the 90s, but it wasn’t until he released a music album that he became recognized. Soon afterwards, he was respected as a singer and as an actor. Starting with his role in the 1997 film Beat, he built a strong filmography through Sex i

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Black Movie Festival Takes 6 from Korea

Strong Presence at Swiss Indie Fest   The Black Movie – Geneva International Independent Film Festival has programmed six films from South Korea for its upcoming 2015 edition, which kicks off on January 16th. Demonstrating a preference for indie and in particular debut films, the Swiss festival selected 10 Minutes (2013), Alive, A Hard Day, Hill of Freedom, Socialphobia and Wild Flowers.   Fresh from last year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) and having their world premieres in Geneva will be the debut works Socialphobia and Wild Flowers. A feature length work from the Graduate Program of the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), HONG Seok-jae’s Socialphobia examines the dark side of social media among today’s Korean youth. Meanwhile, PARK Suk-young’s Wild Flowers follows a group of homeless teenagers through their trials and tribulations in Seoul. Also a debut and a premiere from 2013’s BIFF which went on to screen at the Berlinale and win the top prize from the Veso

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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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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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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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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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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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MOURNING GRAVE to Hit Cambodia Screens on January 2nd

Korean Films Galore in Cambodia OH In-chun’s horror flick Mourning Grave will be released in Cambodia nationwide on January 2nd. Mourning Grave is about a young man with an ability to see ghosts who meets a girl with a forgotten past. As they build their friendship, they discover the mystery behind a masked ghost. With his recent role in the popular drama series Misaeng, lead actor KANG Ha-neul has of late been expanding his fan base. KIM So-eun plays the ghost girl alongside him. Mourning Grave is director OH’s first commercial film. He previously received an award at the Seoul International Short Film Festival in 2011. He has been directing horror films throughout his career and continues to be recognized following his Méliès d’Argent from the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival this year and his invitation to the 18th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, as the only Korean commercial film in the program. On the other hand, the 8th Korean Film Festival in C

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New Film from EUNGYO Director JUNG Ji-woo

What It Means to Be in 4th Place Director JUNG Ji-woo of Engyo (2011) is in post-production for his newest feature, Fourth Place (translated title). Fourth Place features child star YOO Jae-sang (The Divine Move) and Hwayi: A Monster Boy and TV series Misaeng’s PARK Hae-joon. YOO plays a young swimmer who constantly only succeeds in reaching the fourth place in races, while PARK took on the role of a coach who had a failed career as a professional swimmer. The story is wrapped around the lives of the swimmer, the coach and the child’s mother, while touching on a sensitive topic of Korea’s competitive society. Although PARK Hae-joon has been in large projects prior to Fourth Place, this will be his first as the main protagonist. PARK played one of the ‘dads’ in Hwayi: A Monster Boy, but his recent casting in TV drama Misaeng in particular has led him to stardom. Fourth Place started shooting on September 28th and wrapped up on November 27th. It is scheduled to be released in the

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MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER Sets New Korean Indie Record

INTERSTELLAR Finally Crosses 10 Million Admissions The hit documentary My Love, Don’t Cross That River, about an elderly couple who have been married for 76 years, has become the most successful Korean independent film of all time after crossing the three million admissions mark on Christmas Day. The previous record holder was the 2009 documentary Old Partner with 2.93 million admissions, a mark that My Love, Don’t Cross That River eclipsed in only 29 days. Yesterday, the film, which was ranked fourth on the daily chart, added 261,016 viewers to its tally, indicating that it has yet to burn off demand and should continue to perform strongly. Further down the chart, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar sold 17,474 tickets in tenth place, which was enough to finally bear the sci-fi blockbuster over the ten million admissions milestone after nine weeks in theaters. Interstellar is the third film to cross the threshold this year, the third non-Korean film to do so since records began an

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Korean Films Top 100 Million Admissions for 3rd Year Running

Overall Ticket Sales Exceed 200 Million for 2nd Time Korean films topped 100 million admissions for the third year running on December 23rd, while overall sales exceed 200 million for the second year on the trot. While the figure is expected to climb higher in the coming days with a strong end of year showing for local releases, the mark was reached slower than in 2012 (November 20th) and 2013 (October 5th). Korea’s market share also dipped down to 48.9% as foreign titles exceeded the 100 million mark for the first time on December 6th. Driven by the phenomenal success of period epic Roaring Currents, which far exceeded previous record holders by clinching 17.61 million ticket sales, attendance for local films rebounded in mid-summer following a period of Hollywood dominance. Tinseltown currently holds the second and third spots for the year with Disney’s Frozen (10.3 million viewers) and Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi Interstellar, which is expected to cross the 10 million m

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A Chat with Epicentre Films, Distributor of A GIRL AT MY DOOR

July JUNG’s Debut Feature Meets French Audiences After its premiere at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section, July JUNG’s A Girl at My Door was invited to various international film festivals such as Toronto, Chicago, Stockholm and Melbourne and enjoyed a positive reception. The director and the actors were recognized through various awards this year, including Best New Director at the Buil Film Awards, Best First Film at the Stockholm International Film Festival, and Best New Actress at the Blue Dragon Film Awards among others. With its delicate subject matter and stellar performances from the two lead actresses, the arthouse film was distributed on a small scale in France, where the film first premiered. Epicentre Films, distributor of A Girl at My Door, gave us a quick insight into what the film’s reception was like in the country, after its release there on November 5th. How did you come to acquire the film? Last year we distributed the

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Seoul International Youth Film Festival Attends Doha Giffoni Youth Summit

Reaching out to International Film Institutions The Doha Giffoni Youth Media Summit took place during the Ajyal Youth Film Festival in Doha, Qatar. Held over December 2nd and 3rd, the inaugural summit brought together youth festival directors and industry delegates in order to discuss challenges and opportunities around cultural events that base their core audience and subjects on youths. The Seoul International Youth Film Festival (SIYFF) attended the event as the representative from Korea and had an opportunity to share Korean IT technology and its importance in youth media education. Other attendees of the youth-based event included Italy, Canada, the UK, the United Arab Emirates and Japan for a total of 26 countries. Not only was the summit important in sharing knowledge about their own cultural events, but it also created a chance for organizations to discuss partnerships for future endeavors. Especially with the recent MOU signing between SYIFF and Asia Internationa

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