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The London Korean Film Festival Proves Successful Again

Dec 08, 2020
  • Writer by HWANG Hee-yun
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More than 3,000 online reservations for synchronized online and offline screenings

Despite the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the London Korean Film Festival, which was celebrating this year its 15th edition, boasts another success, receiving an enthusiastic response from fans of Korean films living in the UK. As the event opted for online/in-person hybrid screenings, the event recorded more than 3,000 online reservations and received significant media attention. The BBC, but also the Guardian and the movie magazine Little White Rise covered the festival, which included an interview on BBC with Darcy PAQUET, who was one of the programmers of this year’s special focus, 

During this interview, the renowned Korean film expert and subtitle translator for PARASITE (2019) explained, “Korea has the highest cinema attendance in the world, per capita. It’s a society that really loves film and their storytelling is sophisticated”. He then concluded, “Now Western audiences might be more willing to take a chance on [Korean films].”

Hosted by the Korean Cultural Center (headed by LEE Jung-woo), the festival was held for two weeks from October 29 to November 12, and introduced a total of 44 Korean films, with KANG Dae-gyus Pawn as the opening film. The main theme this year being Friends and Family, the focus section presented YUN Dan-bis Moving On, which won the Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film at the New York Asian Film Festival, LEE Jae-kyoo’s Intimate Strangers (2018), KIM Tae-yong’s Family Ties (2006), LEE Joon-ik’s The Happy Life (2007) and KANG Yi-kwan’s Juvenile Offender (2012).

HONG Sang-soo’s The Woman Who Ran and JUNG Jin-young’s ME AND ME were some of the highlights offered across the nine sections of the program, which included Cinema Now (for the biggest releases of 2019-2020), Classics, Women’s Voices, Documentary, Artist Video, Mise-en-scene Short Film, Animation and BONG Joon-ho Shorts.

In addition to movie screenings, this year’s London Korean Film Festival offered online talks and Q&As with some of the directors, giving great comfort to audiences exhausted by the coronavirus. Directors KANG Dae-gyu of the opening film Pawn, KIM Mi-jo of Gull, BYUN Young-joo of My Own Breathing (2000), YUN Dan-bi of Moving On, and JUNG Jin-young of ME AND ME thus talked with British local audiences, and a panel discussion with film experts was also held. Sadly, the film festival had to say goodbye and so it did with an online screening of Bori, directed by KIM Jin-yu.
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