Friday, August 26, 2011

What are you doing this weekend? Coming to KOFFIA that's what!

After a week of university assignments, work, household chores and all that other boring weekday stuff, TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday!) seems like an apt thing to scream at the top of your lungs before you jump into KOFFIA’s exciting weekend of films, events and forums!

This Saturday, the Young Korean Filmmakers in Australia (YKFA) awards will be presented with a talk on digital aesthetics by lecturer and author Bruce Isaacs, whose expertise in critical approaches to film production will certainly get us thinking about the innovative practices currently used in digital cinema, and the endless possibilities that lie before future filmmakers.

The short film Night Fishing by Park Chan Wook (which was completely filmed on an iPhone!) will also be screened with Blue by Stephen Kang - a Grand Prix Canal award winner from the Critic's Week at Cannes Film Festival this year.

And just when you thought your brain wouldn’t be able to handle any more awesomeness, KOFFIA is holding a special ‘Meet the Director’ forum with director Ryoo Seung Wan, whose specialty in hard-boiled Korean thrillers will have eager fans and budding filmmakers fighting for a seat in this free event.

Catch the screening of Earth’s Women at 2.00pm, an industry forum on Korean cinema’s place in Australia, held by Richard Gray and Mathieu Ravier, and the final screening of The Journals of Musan at 4.30pm to close a fantastic Saturday with KOFFIA.

When Sunday comes around, the show must go on with a screening of… The Show Must Go On! Park Chan Wook’s riveting political thriller, JSA: Joint Security Area will also be screened before a thought-provoking industry forum is held on the representation of the Korean War in cinema, led by Dr. Jane Park and Dr. Leonid Petrov from the University of Sydney.

With these two experts combining their knowledge on Asian representations in film and Korea’s social, economic and historical background, audiences will be offered insightful views and ideas on the films JSA, Secret Reunion and The Journals of Musan.

With KOFFIA there are no excuses for staying home and being bored out of your mind this weekend! Join us at the Dendy Opera Quays for a cinematic experience like no other!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A successful opening for KOFFIA

With a serviette full of traditional Korean food, glasses of rice wine and sweet treats, those who were lucky enough to secure a seat to the opening night of the 2011 Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) were all smiles at the Dendy Opera Quays on Wednesday night.

In the crowd of excited festival-goers were students, couples, tourists, journalists and cameramen who thrived in the air of anticipation as The Unjust, was screened with a special Q &A session to be held afterward with director, Ryoo Seung-Wan, and producer Kang Hye-Jung. Thanks to the friendly service of the volunteers, the sold-out theatre was filled with ease and comfort before a few formal words were delivered by the directors of the festival, the Korean Consulate General, director Ryoo and producer Kang.

If you missed out on tickets for the big opening night, don’t be dismayed. There is still a fantastic screening schedule ahead and if the opening night is any indication of what the rest of the festival will be like, we can definitely look forward to a rollercoaster ride of excitement, fun and pure cinematic enjoyment.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Secret Reunion of Brothers Divided

Reunification is not easy, but friendships aren’t impossible

When a North Korean spy and a South Korean federal agent feature as the two central characters of a film, we're usually in for lots of action, close calls and chase sequences. What we don’t expect is a heart-warming friendship, light-hearted comedy and a touching story that challenges the importance of political ideologies in the face of love and compassion.

Secret Reunion is a film that is as thought-provoking as it is moving and hilarious. With strong performances delivered by acting-veteran Kang-ho Song and young heart-throb Dong-won Kang, Secret Reunion combines the best of Korea’s acting talent with a dually compelling and poignant plot.

Offering insights into the cinematic fantasy of North and South Korean friendship, Secret Reunion draws on Korea’s contemporary cultural and social life to signify the values and morals we all share, regardless of where we come from.

Book your tickets now with KOFFIA, and catch the film that thrived at the Korean box office in 2010.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

'Bloody Friday' A Double Headless Header Film Night

Fridays will never be the same with our FRIGHTFUL BLOODY FRIDAY film night on AUGUST 26th from 6PM starting with the ultra-violence hard-boiled Fight Club-esque flick NO BLOOD NO TEARS, then at 8:30PM with a trip to Blood Island for the bloodiest revenge drama you will ever see BEDEVILLED.

For $20 only, see two great films that are bound to keep you at the edge of your seats. Dress up in your best horror or thriller costume for your chance to win some amazing goodies! A door prize will also be available!

The director and festival special guest RYOO SEUNG-WAN (Arahan, City of Violence) will also be present for a Q&A after the No Blood No Tears session.

See our amazing flyer below for more details - to reserve your tickets, contact now!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

KOFFIA 2011 in Trailer Form!















Spotlight on: Ryoo Seung-Wan

More than just the Action Kid

The opening night for KOFFIA is just around the corner for Sydneysiders! With a special Q&A session featuring the producer and director of the opening film 'The Unjust', KOFFIA shines a spotlight on director Ryoo Seung-Wan, his career and his invaluable contribution to Korean cinema.

After creating one of the most phenomenal debut features in Die Bad, a kinetic coming of age drama, Ryoo Seung-wan was initially misunderstood as Korea’s answer to Tarantino. While influences of Peckinpah, Scorsese, Buster Keaton and the Shaw Brothers were apparent in his features, Seung-wan injected an enthusiasm and creativity that was missing in Korean genre and commercial cinema.

From the wild homage to films he grew up with in the Dachimawa Lee shorts to the gritty noir No Blood No Tears, the director balanced extreme realism with fantastical cinematic sensibilities. While most of this was due to Seung-wan’s partnership with action choreographer Jung Doo-hong, it also developed as the director matured in his filmmaking.

After the slapstick wuxia-styled Arahan, Seung-wan would return to a scrappier form of action in Crying Fist, which would also signal the director’s graduation from the “enfant prodige” label and his move beyond traditional critical boundaries. Perfectly blending action with story, Crying Fist was something entirely the director’s – completely stripped of his influences and defying generic conventions.

After returning to homage for City of Violence and a feature version of Dachimawa Lee, Ryoo Seung-wan’s newest feature, The Unjust, expands the director’s territory into social commentary, with a more solid, steady, and intense stylisation. A hard boiled thriller with heavy characterisations of prosecutors and the police force, the film continues his long-standing partnership with brother, Ryoo Seung-beom, and is his most commercially successful film. A further movement into new territory, The Unjust proves Ryoo Seung-wan is one of Korea’s most diverse and talented filmmakers.

By Julian Buckeridge ,

Can't get enough of Ryoo Seung-wan? Join us at our Masters & Students event where Variety's Russell Edwards will host a forum with Ryoo Seung-wan himself. The event also features a special screening of Park Chan-wook's award-winning Night Fishing and top prize winner at the Critic's Week at Cannes Film Festival Blue. Dr. Bruce Isaacs will also give a presentation on digital aesthetics. Watch the Young Korean Filmmakers in Australia finalist films, and the awards ceremony as well. This is an event you can't miss!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Its time to HOLD ON TIGHT!

Check out episode 1 of our HOLD ON TIGHT series.

Directed and produced by Sujin Jeong and William Suen.
Sound and music by William Suen
Talent: Ann Margarett Cortez, Aude Rey, Hyun Shin, Sujin Jeong, William Suen

Special thanks to Jimmy Le, Kenny Son, Claudia Sutiono, Timothy Duong, Yujin Choi and the staff at the Korean Cultural Office.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why the KOFFIA experience is worth a ride

The 2nd official Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is on in Sydney this coming August 24 – 29, and will even be rolling into Melbourne for the first time this year in September.

While some movie goers may be deterred by the thought of reading subtitles and deciphering cultural differences in foreign films, the wicked line-up of films for KOFFIA will be sure to prove that there’s much to gain in checking out something outside of the comfortably familiar. Catering to the tastes of horror junkies, action/thriller lovers, indie hipsters and even family-friendly types, KOFFIA is a festival experience that celebrates the breakout of Korean films in international spaces – a phenomenon that could not have been foreseen a couple of decades ago.

Before the 90s, the Korean film industry wasn’t making back any of its money. Relying on Hollywood imports and cheesy melodrama to get people into cinemas, Korea’s film industry was on the verge of simply closing up shop due to its serious lack of profitability. But once the political and economic climate of Korea began to change so did the nation’s films. Even with direct American competition in the country itself, Korean production companies proved that strong concepts and innovative direction could beat foreign competitors, offering the world something that was culturally striking and yet, uniquely familiar.

KOFFIA: The History of Korean Cinema

Korean cinema now stands at a very interesting point in its history. As the eyes of international film festivals, leading American production companies and regional importers (such as China, Japan, and Vietnam) look to the Korean film industry for inspiration (and ways to make money), it seems like global audiences can’t get enough of what this geographically small but remarkable country has to offer in terms of its dramatic art onscreen.

And while celebrating Korean cinema’s success is a large part of what KOFFIA is all about, I think this special event in Sydney is more interesting and exciting in relation to Korean cinema’s rising position. That is to say, I don’t think Korean cinema has seen enough widespread attention (especially in Australia) in order to claim a dominant position in the international landscape of filmmaking. It is still a growing industry, and despite the success it may have seen in the past decade, the nation’s filmmakers are pulling all sorts of moves (good and bad) to win over an international audience. For this reason, Korean cinema deserves to be seen, reflected upon and at the very least, given a chance.

KOFFIA opens in 2010

The Australian film industry itself is continually looking for ways to tell exciting, culturally-specific and yet, widely appreciated stories. Australian filmmakers, film buffs and movie-goers are those who have an eye for originality, inspiration and the daring in film, as we ourselves live in a country full of diverse ideas and people. And considering 2011 is the year of Australia-Korean friendship, what could be a better way of getting to know each other than a movie date?

Whether you end up loving it, hating it, not understanding any of it or just getting weirded out, the distinctly different, new and eye-opening (literally!) experience of KOFFIA is definitely something to look out for.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The KOFFIA 2011 Official Trailer is here!

Hold on Tight! KOFFIA 2011 is here.

Experience the story, the adventure, the rollercoaster ride of Korean cinema this August and September.

KOFFIA 2011 Official Trailer from Koffia 2011 on Vimeo.

This trailer was edited by Kang Minji.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

KOFFIA: History of Korean Cinema

To tide you over until KOFFIA 2011 arrives, which is in just 3 weeks time, we take a look back at the History of Korean cinema. Taking special note as to how it has developed over the years, and highlighting some of the most critically acclaimed films of all time, take a look below

Thanks to Kevin Park for the slick editing and Samuel Choi for the great soundtrack.