Director Sin Dong-il
, who recently made Host and Guest
(LJ Films), was recently invited to the Forum Category of the Berlin International Film Festival, held on Nov. 2, where peers warmly nicknamed him "Korea's Woody Allen".
Just as Woody Allen, "forever New Yorker", delivers sharp satires and caricatures of himself, Shin also questions social issues such as political situations and discrimination against religious minorities with Ho-Joon (Kim Jae-rok
), a man of the so-called "386 generation", who has become a snob, as his mediator.
With humor as its backdrop, the film accurately delivers its message in an easy-to-understand language, which is the best virtue of the Host & G...More
A number of Korean feature film projects were awarded production support and cash awards at the Asian Film Market (AFM) which ran for four days during this year's 11th Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF). The main event at AFM is the Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), a project market where selected Asian film projects are presented to investors. Out of 130 projects submitted this year, 36 were selected for the market, an increase from last year's 27.
Among Korean awardees, director Lee Myung-se
This year's Chuseok or Korean Thanksgiving holiday will be the longest ever since it comes right after the Foundation Day holiday. Theaters will not miss this golden opportunity to draw as many viewers as possible by showing the best movies. Competition will be fiercer than ever.
Clockwise from left, "Marrying the Mafia III
: The Rebirth of Family", "Tazza: The High Rollers
", "Radio Star"
, "Our Happy Time
", "Strange Circus", "The Ant Bully", "The Banquet", and "Rob-B-Hood, Project BB".
How Many Will Come?
Most film distributors estimate that they will draw some 10-12 million viewers for the 11 days from Sept. 28 until Oct. 8 when a host of interesting movies are released. Although the period accounts for 3 percent of total screening days, the number of viewers during the period will take up 7.5 percent of the estimated total of 160 million viewers for the year. Last year, 3.9 million viewers came to thea...More
The movie "Our Happy Time
", starring Lee Na-young
and Gang Dong-won
and directed by Song Hae-seong
, will open in Japan in April next year.
The movie's production firm, LJ Film, said September 1 that the Japanese firm Amuse will distribute the film in Japan.
Kang has already gai...More
A group of Korean film companies has committed to move to the city of Paju, outside of Seoul. A total of 18 production companies will move to a 170-acre stretch of land being developed in Paju, located 20 miles northwest of Seoul. The city, located close to the North Korean border, has been branded "Book City" thanks to a similar zone that has attracted many book publishers. The new development is expected to be completed by 2008.
Companies making the move include top production houses Sidus FNH, MK Pictures, iFilm Corp., LJ Film, Kim Ki-duk
Film, Moho Films (headed by "Old Boy"
According to LJ Film, the revolutionary new Korean film "Host & Guest" directed by Sin Dong-il
won the jury award of the New Directors Showcase Award, at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 18, 2006. The award is the first prize at the New Directors Competition section, and it is given to a talented director who shows remarkable innovation and outstanding cinegraphic achievements.
"Host & Guest" is the debut film of Korean director, Sin Dong-il
. He has been praised highly by movie critics and viewers, and has been considered as South Korean Woody Allen. The film, Host & Guest also received good reviews from movie critics in Seattle, and it was selected as one of the 17 must-see titles.
Mr. Spencer, an executive chairman at the film festival, said...More
Film Director Sin Dong-il
's movie "A Visitor" will participate in the 32nd Seattle International Film Festival.
The production company LJ Film said that the movie has been invited to the film festival, which will run from May 25 through June1.
Actor Kang Ji-hwan
, the male lead of the drama "...More
Korean company LJ Film and U.S.-based Focus Features have agreed to the joint production of the film The Julia Project (working title), a film about the American Julia Mullock, wife of the last Korean crown prince Kyu LEE. The film will be LJ Film's most ambitious project to date.
LJ Film and Focus Features will produce together and equally share the film's $20-25 million budget. English will be the main language for the film and it is aimed at an international audience, with overseas rights handled by Focus. For this project, Focus will work together with the American branch of LJ Film.
The director and cast have yet to be attached, but it is expected that a screen writer who will do final revisions of the script will be announced soon. The film is scheduled to be released in 2007.
Both LJ president ...More
After a successful round at major international film festivals including Berlin Film Festival this year, The Peter Pan Formula
(Peter Pan-eui Gongshik) will be released on April 13 in Korean cinemas. The film is the feature film directorial debut of Jo Chang-ho
The Peter Pan Formula
premiered at the 2005 Pusan International Film Festival. From there the film went on to be invited to the 2006 Berlin International Film Festival (Forum) and the 2006 Sundance Film Festival (World Competition). The film enjoyed positive reactions from viewers at the festivals and film critics were impres...More
The powerhouse American film company "Focus Features " which produced blockbusters such as "Brokeback Mountain", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "The Wedding Banquet", has announced it will co-produce Korea movie "The Julia Project" with LJ Film.
The movie, "The Julia Project" describes the life of Yi Gu, the last heir to Joseon Dynasty on the Korean Peninsula, and his wife Julia.
The two suffer the pains of an arranged marriage of convenience forced by Japan. Yi Gu lived miserable checkered life. Last summer, before his death, Yi Gu remarked, "I do not want to live this type of life again".
LJ Film announced that LJ Film and Focus Features have signed a contract for the co-prod...More
KOFIC has announced the recipients of the first round of the 2006 Subtitle Translation and Print Production support program. Six feature films and five short films were selected out of 27 total submissions (15 feature films, 12 short and independent films). The program provides funding for the production of a subtitled print, with specific arrangements to be made by the film's producer or international sales agent.
A second round of applicants will be considered in late 2006.
The latest recipients are:
"Don't Look Back
" (dir. ...More
Innotz / Prime Entertainment, a new player in the Korean film industry, just got bigger, after taking over the well-established production company Korea Entertainment. The latter is known for its commercial hits Mapado
, The Art of Fighting
, and My Tutor Friend
. Innotz, a Korea Stock Exchange-listed subsidiary of the Prime Group, bought out 100% of Korea Entertainment's stocks for US$15 million.
Innotz, formerly a software-focused company, announced this year that it would launch a powerhouse called Prime Entertainme...More
"The Peter Pan Formula" directed by Jo Chang-ho
entered the Sundance Film Festival, the world-renowned film festival for independent films.
Organizer of the festival said, "16 pieces of film including 'The Peter Pan Formula' were invited to 'World Cinema Competition - Dramatic' at the 22nd Sundance Film Festival to be opened from Jan. 19, 2006".
The Sundance Film Festival will be held from Jan. 19 to 29 in Park City, Uta, USA that is well known for a feast of world independent films and its sponsor, Robert Redford.
"The Peter Pan Formula" starring ...More
Inteview With Director Lee Yoon-ki
By Paolo Bertolin
Director Lee Yoon-ki
last year made an auspicious debut in feature filmmaking with "This Charming Girl". The film won the New Currents Award at the 9th Pusan Film Festival and secured Lee a solid reputation in the international festival circuit being invited to Sundance and Berlin among others.
This year, Lee was back with his second film "Love Talk", released locally on Nov. 11. An intense drama focusing on three wounded characters whose paths cross against the backdrop of the Korean expatriate community in Los Angeles, "Love Talk" made eyebrows rise for characters actually do talk, and a lot, whereas dialogue was almost absent from Lee's previous, name-making film.
However, it was equally enchanting for its jazzy roundedness and sensitive character portraits.
Question: How did you start your filmmaking career?
Answer: It's a long story. I didn't study cinema when in college. I went to business school in the United States, but when I got back to Seoul I joined a group of friends who liked movies and gathered every night to watch films. We bought a 16mm camera and started to make short films, but it took three or four years before I started writing. I finished my first script seven or eight years ago, and that was "Love Talk".
Q: So "Love Talk" ...More
The 8th Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP) wrapped up its three-day schedule yesterday by handing out awards in Pusan (Busan).
Among 33 official projects _ 27 PPP projects from 19 countries and six New Directors in Focus (NDIF) projects by promising Korean directors _ eight projects were announced at the closing ceremony at the Paradise Hotel in Haeundae.
Both "Fairy Tale of a Picture Tree" by Lee Kwang-mo from South Korea and "Heartbreak Pavilion" by Thunska Pansittivorakul and Sompot Chidgasornpongse from Thailand won the Busan Award, the largest prize bestowed by the Pusan city government with $20,000 in prize money.
"Paju" by ...More
By Helene Hindberg
I had been looking forward with excitement to the press meeting in Cinemateket with one of the most distinguished directors in Korean film. Kim Ki-duk
enjoys great recognition throughout Europe, and in the four most recent years he has become a downright festival darling, for instance at the NatFilm Festivalen 2005. Movies like The Isle
(2000) and "Bad Guy
" (2002) has accomplished to make movie watchers in most of the world find interest in Korean film in general and Kim Ki-duk
's work in particular.
A quiet Tuesday morning five journalists appeared in Cinemateket to meet with the director and hopefully to become more insightful towards his work. In the room there were tables shaped in the form of a horseshoe, and Kim Ki-duk
sat at the end of it. He looked very young and relaxed in a t-shirt, cap, and baggy pants. He radiated peace and a kind casual accommodating attitude which made the whole event seem more like a cosy chat at a café than an official press meeting.
Eiga: Why did you establish your own production company (Kim Ki-duk
: I gradually felt a pressure to change my movies in a certain direction, which I wouldn't or couldn't relate to purely artistic. My movies aren't topping the box office and the company LJ Film would like to change this fact. They came up with different suggestions about for instance using famous actors for the roles, but it doesn't fit the kind of movies, I make. With my own company, I have complete artistic freedom and don't need to work out a compromise. It's also an advantage to have control over the economy because then I make more money (laughs). But on the other hand, I also need to find someone who can finance me. The Bow
(Hwal, 2005) and 3-Iron
(Bin-Jip/Tomme Huse, 2004) are both made with Japanese money. Anyway, the primary reaso...More
A troika of Korean films that opened within the last four weeks is blazing a trail at the box office. "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
", which opened on July 28, "Welcome to Dongmakgol
" (Aug. 4) and "48 Hours Live Broadcast" - "The Big Scene
" (Aug. 11) had drawn a total of 8.18 million viewers as of Wednesday, and their respective producers expect the trio to break the 10 million barrier this weekend or early next week.
That three films in completely different genres sh...More
The warning lights are flashing on Chungmu-ro, the center of Korea's film industry as public funding runs out. The liquidation date for most of the W260 billion (US$260 million) movie fund for film production between 2000 and 2002 comes up at the end of this year, and the Small and Medium Business Agency's anticipated first-round contribution of W250 billion to the film fund has come out to no more than W7 billion.
The movie fund was an idea hatched by the film world following the Asian financial crisis of 1997, when the Small and Medium Business Agency, Korean Film Council and other government agencies and private investors came together to set up a fund to boost film production. Under the Kim Dae-jung administration, W260 billion were raise...More
Korea and Germany will produce a joint-venture film on the life of world-renowned Korean composer Yun I-sang, with production costs amounting to 8 billion won.
This announcement was made by an official from LJ Film Company on Apr. 21. The LJ official said, "We have agreed in principle with Pandora Film Production Company of Germany to make a joint-venture movie. We will begin shooting in 2007".
"We estimate the total production costs at 8 billion won. But no concrete terms of agreement have been reached yet...More
Two producers from a leading German art-house film company visited Seoul this week to discuss a movie project about the life of world-renowned composer Yun Isang, a Korean native who was abducted and imprisoned by a past authoritarian government.
Pandora Film, an independent film production, marketing and distribution company, co-produced the popular South Korean film "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring
" by director Kim Ki-duk
. It invested 300 million won ($295,799) in the 1.3-billion-won film project.
The German company is keen on teaming up again with its South Korean partner LJ Film to produce a film about Yun for worldwide release in 2007.
"The movie itself is much more connected to Germany (than the film by Kim Ki-duk
). This is a movie which will be made with strong German-Korean content. So our involvement (in the new movie) I think will be bigger in terms of all matters", Karl Baumgartner, president and producer of Pandora said Tuesday.
SEOUL (Yonhap) _ A local film studio announced three movie projects targeting the global market.
The movies are "Smells Like Butter" intended for the general North American audience, and "Love Talk
" and "Love House", both targeting fans of art-house flicks around the world, said LJ Film Co. Tuesday.
LJ Film gained recognition as a business partner of maverick South Korean director Kim Ki-duk
. It produced "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring
", "Bad Guy
" and "The Coast Guard
", all directed by Kim.
The film s...More
Korean production company LJ Film said shooting for the film "Smells Like Butter", starring 34-year-old ethnic Korean Hollywood actress Sandra Oh, will begin in May.
The film is a Romantic Comedy
about a professionally successful Korean American woman somewhat past marriageable age who comes back to Korea under pressure from her parents to find a Korean husband.
The lead has been given to Sandra Oh, whose career has been on a dramatic upswing since her recent film "Sideways", while Korean-American director Grace Lee, noted for her work in short...More
by Gab-Sik Kim
The money is flowing in, but there is no one to act.
This is the current atmosphere at Choong Moo Ro (film district). According to the Bank of Korea, the movie industry's 2003 sales were some 3.7780 trillion won. This is a rapid growth with sales more than triple 1997's 1.2572 billion won. The "10 million boom" which started last year with "Silmido
" and "Taegukgi
" accelerated the capital influx, but actually, it is hard to cast an "A-level star". The actor/actress' guarantee naturally skyrockets and film producers sulkily say, "There is nothing left". Let's look into the increasing guaranteed trend of stars and the other side of it.
○ Movie Industry Sales of 3.7780 Trillion Won
Jun Ji-hyun, who starred in "My Sassy Girl
", is currently picked as the highest guaranteed paid actress. She has a 400 million won guarantee for "Windstruck
" which is scheduled to be released in June. If it wasn't for "iFilm", a subsidiary of "Sidus HQ", her management company, producing the movie, there were rumors that the guarantee would have been much higher.
Chung Hoon-tak, president of "Sidus HQ", said, "There was a new film production company who said they would give a billion won, but Jun Ji-hyun will not choose a film only by the amount of money involved". The producer's reliability or the film director's presentation ability decides whether the actor/actress will act in the film, and when considering the scale of the movie, he explained that the guarantee was settled on not exceeding 400 million won.
Choi Sung-min, president of "Uni-korea", the investor and producer of "Mermaid" and "Woman is the Future of Man
", said, "The money has increased, but the 'blind money' type investments that were done in the past have disappeared. Even though the scenario and the director are good, it is not easy to persuade investors if there is no 'star power'". This is the reason why new film production companies which have not proved their production abilities are presenting enorm...More
How is the forecast of the film industry after Silmido
and Taeguki stormed theatres nationwide, ushering in the 10 million-audience era?
The Dong-A Ilbo movie team gave a survey to 13 filmmakers and critics with question categories such as "Actor/Actress in Power" and "Director in Power". They rated actors, actresses, and directors on a 10-point scale.
The best "Actor in Power" was found to be Song Kang-ho
, with a point total of 9.46. Following in second place was Choi Min-sik
with a point total of 8.48. Third place belonged to Seol Gyeong-gu, with a point total of 8.17.
The victory of Song Kang-ho
was more remarkable in the sense that it went against the strong winds of major successes of Silmido
and Taeguki. F...More
Sony Pictures Classics, one of the best known distributors of arthouse and foreign-language films in the U.S., has picked up North American rights to Kim Ki-duk
's acclaimed ninth film, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring. The ...More