Wednesday, July 27, 2011

KOFFIA 2011 Film Line-up announced!

KOFFIA 2011 is coming! HOLD ON TIGHT! 

The KOFFIA Korean Film Festival is back in Sydney for the second time this August, bigger and better than ever, and it all begins here! KOFFIA 2011 will present 13 feature films and 7 shorts that showcase the great diversity of Korean cinema today, as well as providing a true Korean cultural experience with industry forums, cultural performances, food tastings and so much more. HOLD ON TIGHT!

The festival will take place from 24th – 29th August at Dendy Cinemas in Circular Quay, Sydney. In this Australia-Korea Year of Friendship, we are very excited to announce that KOFFIA will also travel down to the beautiful city of Melbourne! The festival will run from 10th – 13th September at ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne. This is an extra special date, as 12th September marks the important Korean Thanksgiving Holiday of Chuseok, join us in this celebration.

This year our line-up will be centred around six key themes felt to represent particular recurring messages in Korean cinema. Experienced genre filmmaker Ryo Seung-wan’s latest box office and critical hit The Unjust (2010) will open KOFFIA 2011 in Sydney as part of our ‘Crime and Punishment’ selection. Known for his action hits Arahan and The City of Violence, we are delighted to announce that director Ryoo and Producer Kang Hye-jeong will be guests of the festival this year. Rounding out ‘Crime and Punishment’ is the number 1 Korean box office hit last year, The Man From Nowhere (2010), featuring popular actor and model Won Bin (Mother).

'Brothers Divided' reflects on conflict found in relationships and opens with Secret Reunion (2010) directed by Jang Hun (Rough Cut). One of the highest grossing Korean films of all time, it follows a tense partnership between a North Korean spy and a former South Korean agent. Also screening under this theme is Park Chan-wook’s classic J.S.A Joint Security Area (2000). Arguably Park’s best feature, the film tells the story of an unlikely relationship between the North and South Korean guards along the border. Both films star festival favourite Song Kang-ho.

‘Indie Cinema’ will introduce our audience to award winning independent films that have been making waves worldwide. The documentary Earth’s Women (2009) follows the stories of three female farmers and their livelong friendship, as they get caught up in a peasant’s rights movement. The Journals of Musan is Park Jung-bum’s first feature, made on a shoe-string budget, and highlights the isolated lives of North Korean defectors in South Korean society. Both films won their respective categories at the revered Busan International Film Festival, taking away Best Documentary and FIPRESCI prizes respectively.

‘Bloody Friday’ highlights the most thrill providing films of Korean cinema today! No Blood No Tears (2002), also directed by Ryoo Seung-wan, is a film noir crime caper with a difference, and launched stars Jeon Do-yeon (The Housemaid) and Jeong Jae-yeong (Castaway on the Moon). Director Ryoo and Producer Kang will attend for a Q&A. Former Kim Ki-duk assistant director, Jang Chul-soo, makes his debut with Bedevilled (2010), which has reinvigorated the Korean horror film industry.

‘Extraordinary Ordinary Families’ describes the very nature of the extended family in contemporary Korean society, with Shim’s Family (2007) uncovering many unknown skeletons, and The Show Must Go On (2007) giving us a look at the Korean Sopranos. The Show Must Go On won Best Picture and Best Actor at the 28th Blue Dragon Film Awards.

To celebrate filmmaking ‘Masters and Students’ highlights the best of the Young Korean Filmmaker Awards entries and short films from renowned Korean directors. Also screening in this section is Oki’s Movie (2010), the latest effort from the critically acclaimed auteur director, Hong Sang-soo.

Finally we focus on the hearts and dream of youth, with ‘Ride The Dream’. This year’s special school screening features Bunt (2007), a heart-warming film of a mentally challenged boy who strives to help everyone around him. Closing Sydney and Opening Melbourne will be Korea’s official submission for the Oscars for Best Foreign Language film, the beautiful A Barefoot Dream (2010), which tells the true story of a Korean soccer coach who gave hope to underprivileged children in East Timor.

What is most clear from this line-up, is that there is much more to see of Korean cinema than many people ever imagined. Come along for whichever theme takes your fancy, as you won’t be disappointed. Remember to mark the dates in your diary, August 24-29 in Sydney and September 10-13 in Melbourne, as KOFFIA 2011 will be one not to miss. Prepare to go on a rollercoaster ride of cinematic proportions, HOLD ON TIGHT!

For more information please see our website, Tickets are on sale 3 weeks prior to the festival dates. KOFFIA is organised by the Korean Cultural Office in Sydney.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reasons to keep your eyes peeled for Korean cinema

Korean cinema is a little like Kimchi (stay with me here). It has a taste like no other, the more you have it the more you’ll love it, and it’s an essential part of experiencing Korean culture. But unlike Kimchi, Korean cinema isn’t an acquired taste. Whether you’re a film buff, the occasional movie-goer or simply there for the popcorn, you will always be able to find something exciting and original in the distinctly different flavour of Korean cinema.

Especially over the last decade, Korean films have been drawing the attention of audiences from all over the world as the successful numbers of domestic bums on seats have expanded to regional exports, co-productions, and American remakes that recognize the talent of Korean filmmakers and the universal reach of their stories.

Coming from a nation that has undergone incredible political and economic change, the Korean film industry itself has transformed into one of greater creative freedom and international appeal. As a result, the subjects explored in Korean cinema look at a range of personalities, landscapes and ideas in both large-scale and intimate modes of storytelling, making it increasingly challenging and exciting for Korean filmmakers to continually push boundaries and expectations within well-established genres.

With Korea’s whacky sense of humour, rich cultural background and uncompromisingly innovative cinematic vision, the nation's film industry has continued to garner the respect and critical acclaim of prestigious international film festivals at home and abroad.

So if you're wanting to experience something unique, new and even daring (or just plain sick of seeing the same predictable Hollywood flick as I personally am),you should keep your eyes peeled for Korean cinema and the screening schedule for the Korean Film Festival in Australia. I can't say Kimchi's on the rise, but Korean cinema most definitely is.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ride the KOFFIA Experience

Just 5 weeks till we open in Sydney and we are all very excited here at the KOFFIA office. Preparations are steaming along, lets hope we can keep this train under control! Remember July 26th is when all will be revealed, including our film line-up, special guests and screening schedule. Watch this space!

This year we will have a wide variety of cinema on show, from current hits to past classics, with something for everyone to enjoy. Below are a sneak peek at the 7 themes of films we will be presenting, so watch out for your favourite!

The 5 week countdown begins. Check out our website for more information!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nothing like bonding over a 'Night Fishing'

As we have already announced, Park Chan-wook's latest short film, Night Fishing, will make its Australian debut at KOFFIA 2011. Hannah Lee has contributed this piece on the collaboration Park has had with his lesser-known, but equally talented brother Park Chan-kyung, with whom he collaborated on the award-winning short.

By Hannah Lee
While little is known about Park Chan-wook’s younger brother, Park Chan-kyung, there’s no doubt that their first collaborative short film, Night Fishing, will reel in some much-deserved attention for the talented filmmaker.
Beginning with a Cannes jury prize for his visceral thriller Old Boy, Park Chan-wook has preceded his brother in establishing himself as a critically acclaimed director of feature-length films – drawing increasing attention around the world with a U.S debut, Stoker, set to hit cinemas next year. While such success should really call for bitter sibling rivalry, Park Chan Kyung proved his own individualistic and visually engaging sense of direction in his first feature-length film, Anyang, Paradise City. The film debuted as the Korean Feature Film Competition winner at the Jeonju International Film Festival last year, combining fiction and documentary in eight episodes that traversed Anyang city’s past, contemporary life, politics and ancient folklore.

As a prominent Korean artist with extensive practice in media and installation art, Park Chan Kyung’s combined talents in filmmaking and art production then rise to the surface in Night Fishing as his imaging techniques give his brother’s internationally-renowned vision an added kick of freshness and originality.
In joining forces, the Park brothers prove there’s more to engrossing storytelling than high-tech equipment as their award-winning short was filmed entirely on an iPhone 4 (because Apple doesn’t get enough attention already). This makes Night Fishing the world’s first smartphone movie to receive the Golden Bear for best short film at the Berlin International Film Festival, and the first to be released in cinemas with its unique technological origins.
As the Park brothers challenge the conventions of filmmaking with an iPhone in Night Fishing, this artistically daring and bold work is sure to recognize the talents of Park Chan Kyung as the short film’s compelling story is given life through a convergence of two distinctly different visions.
Although Night Fishing is only a 30-minute short film, it received global attention upon its announcement. You can read all about the hype surrounding the film in Richard Gray's previous KOFFIA blog entry which covers how it was created, how they achieved it technically, and what sort of scale the shoot was. It even includes behind the scenes footage so make sure you check it out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WIN tickets to Korean film at MIFF 2011!

Korean Cultural Office | KOFFIA Korean Film Festival

Prepare to HOLD ON TIGHT as the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) graces Melbourne for the first time ever this September! In what will be 4 days of drama, comedy, action and more, KOFFIA will take Victorians on an intense ride of Korean cinema!

Taking place at ACMI Cinemas, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne, September 10-13 will see a Korean wave of culture and entertainment hit ACMI as we celebrate Korean Thanksgiving (Chuseok) on September 12th.

We are delighted to announce KOFFIA will be forming a special Festival Partnership with the iconic Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), which in 2011 is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Known for presenting a wealth of Korean cinema over the years, in fact more than 150 Korean films, this partnership will hopefully strengthen the presence of quality Korean content in Melbourne.

Due to a wealth of interest from Korean film fanatics, no doubt fostered by watching superb Korean cinema at MIFF, we decided to expand to this region. To thank those people for their passion, we are running a competition to WIN TICKETS to a Korean film of your choice at MIFF 60!

8 Korean feature films have been selected in the MIFF line-up for 2011. From the political thriller The Unjust and award winning indie drama The Journals of Musan, to Hong Sang-soo’s piece of meta-fiction Oki’s Movie and the action packed spectacular The Yellow Sea. The rest of the line-up includes Hong Sang-soo’s latest The Day He Arrives, the Park Hae-il KAFA hit End of Animal, the latest Jeonju Digital Project entry, and even a retrospective look at Bong Joon-ho’s quirky Barking Dogs Never Bite.

We are offering KOFFIA Melbourne fans the chance to win a double pass to one of the following:

  • The Journals of Musan (Wed 27th July, 11am, ACMI)
  • Oki’s Movie (Thurs 28th July, 4:45pm, Forum Theatre)
  • The Unjust (Tues 2nd Aug, 6:30pm, Forum Theatre)
To enter simply tell us:
  • “What is your favourite Korean film that has screened at MIFF and why?”
Can’t remember? Simply use The MIFF Archive search tool to refresh your memory!

Simply fill out the form below to enter! The giveaway closes on Friday 22 July 2011, so get your entries in quickly!


The Melbourne International Film Festival takes place from July 21st – August 7th. Get a glimpse at the wonders of Korean cinema before KOFFIA arrives this September! The Korean Film Festival in Australia is organised by the Korean Cultural Office. For details about KOFFIA including session times and how to buy tickets, visit our website

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Week in Korean Cinema (5 July - 12 July 2011)

Welcome back to the column where the definition of 'week' is flexible, but the quality is always high. You may have noticed a change of colour scheme and that's because the KOFFIA 2011 banners and posters are now out, so please feel free to stick them on your own sites and spread the word.

If you have been following the Blog, you'll notice that we've already announced two short films have been announced for KOFFIA 2011: Park Chan-wook’s Paranmanjang (Night Fishing) and Yang Hyo-joo’s Pu-Seo-Jin Bam (Broken Night). The respective winners of the Berlin Film Festival's Golden and Silver Bears for Best Short Film, these will join an amazing list of films that we will reveal in the coming weeks.


Since our last column, only a handful of major realase have come out, but the most recent one is one of the most highly anticipated Korean horror films of the year. Byun Seung-Wook's The Cat made its debut in Korea last week, and follows So-Yeon (Park Min-Young, City Hunter) who starts seeing a mysterious girl (Kim Ye-Ron) after bringing home a cat. Kim Ye-Ron, the younger sister of Kim Sae-Ron (the award winning The Man From Nowhere) makes her feature debut in this chilling film. Cat lovers be warned: this is no Milo & Otis (although that reportedly had some unfortunate endings for the kittens, so we best no go down that path this week).


Unsurprisingly, The Cat made its way straight to #2, unable to conquer the monolith that is Transformers:: Dark of the Moon. Indeed, there was about a 13,000,000,000 won difference in taking between the two for the week. Sunny, Poongsan and White filled in the #3, #4 and #7 slots at the Korean box office, and new entries You Are Umasou (Japan) and The Men Who Stare At Goats (US) also made appearances. (Source).


MIFF 2011: The Melbourne International Film Festival launched its 60th program last week, and the Accent on Asia section has a strong showing of Korean films. There are in fact 8 South Korean films listed in the program, including seven features and one short film. Hong Sang-soo is represented twice with his latest film The Day He Arrives, and one from last year, Oki's Movie. Bong Joon-Ho (Mother) adds Barking Dogs Never Bite to the program, while Ryoo Seung-wan's epic crime drama The Unjust makes its Australian debut.The festival-favourite feature film debut by writer, director and lead actor Park Jung-bum (who was the assistant to the legendary Korean director Lee Chang-dong) Journals of Musan is a must-see at MIFF, and Na Hong-jin's The Yellow Sea is another film that comes highly recommended. Sydney Film Festival's only Korean film, End of Animal, also screens at MIFF. Finally, short film Ghost will also float past audiences during the massive festival. Stay tuned for news on how you can win tickets to see some of these films.

Spike Lee to Remake Oldboy: Cries went out from the masses at the new Park Chan-wook's masterpiece Oldboy would be remade, but these were somewhat sobered by the news the equally legendary Spike Lee would be directing. Reportedly being a "Departed-style remake", referencing Martin Scorsese's version of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs films, this gives us some hope that it will not be a complete write-off. How is conservative Hollywood going to deal with that twist ending though?

We hope your are enjoying this weekly column, so if you have any news to contribute, please email the Blog Editor with the scoop.

Richard is a KOFFIA Blog Editor and a Marketing Assistant for KOFFIA. He can be contacted via email on

He is also the Editor-in-chief of DVD Bits and The Reel Bits. He can be found on Twitter @DVDBits and @The_ReelBits. In this guise, you can also reach him at

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Award Winning Films!

Last week we announced our first film in the KOFFIA 2011 line-up, the Silver Bear jury prize winner at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, "Broken Night". Well to be honest, we just weren't satisfied with having only the Silver Bear, so we are going to feature the Golden Bear too! 

Park Chan-wook and his brother Park Chan-kyung (who when directing together are known as PARKing CHANce) set out to shoot a film entirely on an iPhone 4. The result was the highly acclaimed and worldwide phenomenon, Night Fishing (Paranmanjang). Winner of the Gold Bear for Best Short Film at the 61st Berlinale, marking a new era for film-making, these 2 awards signalled the recognition of South Korea's strengths in the art of short-length cinema.

Although Night Fishing is only a 30-minute short film, it received global attention upon its announcement. You can read all about the hype surrounding the film in Richard Gray's previous KOFFIA blog entry which covers how it was created, how they achieved it technically, and what sort of scale the shoot was. It even includes behind the scenes footage so make sure you check it out. 

For now we leave you with the teaser below, to keep you salivating at the thought of seeing the film at this years KOFFIA. "Night Fishing" will screen as part of our 'Masters and Students' selection, specifically in our YKFA Young Korean Filmmakers in Australia session in Sydney. It is a must see, and there are many more to come!!!

Thanks to Fine Cut for assisting with this screening. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Award Winning Films at KOFFIA!

The KOFFIA Korean Film Festival 2011 is less than 50 days away, and to celebrate we are announcing the first film in our exciting line-up for this year! Our freshly updated website will be launching very soon, and all will soon be revealed, but for now as a little taste of things to come, we would like to announce a special title we are all extremely excited about. 

Screening as part of our new "Shorts on the Park" series, which will take place at the Korean Cultural Office during the festival and open for all to attend, will be the award winning short film "Broken Night" (Pu-Seo-Jin Bam). Winner of the Silver Bear Jury prize at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, "Broken Night" is another creative piece of film-making from rising star director Yang Hyo-joo. 

A portrait of isolated youth on a lonely night, an intensely fun drama that never stops moving, it is a wonderful entry into the KOFFIA 2011 line-up and we are proud to have it. Just one of the many award winning films that will be announced over the next few weeks, as we prepare to take our audience on a roller-coaster ride of Korean drama. So make sure you "HOLD ON TIGHT!". 

Thanks to the Korea National University of Arts (KNUA) for their assistance with the screening.

KOFFIA 2011 Dates:

August 24-29
Dendy Opera Quays Cinema, 
Circular Quay, Sydney

September 10-13
Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Federation Square, Melbourne

Friday, July 1, 2011

This Week in Korean Cinema (27 June - 1 July 2011)

Now that the Sydney Film Festival is over, and the Melbourne International Film Festival is only weeks away, we can start turning our attention back to Korean film news, and more importantly, KOFFIA 2011 on in Sydney from August 24-29 and Melbourne from September 10-13.

New releases

We've missed a few weeks of new releases due to the Sydney Film Festival, where Jo Sung-Hee's End of Animal (조성희) made its Australian debut, so we'll get to the catch-up in just a moment. Just yesterday, Son Yeong-Seong's courtroom thriller The Client (의뢰인) was released in South Korea, and we'll look forward to seeing how that performs next week.

Other new releases have included Poongsan (풍산개), about a courier who ferries messages between North and South Korean, K-pop horror film White (화이트: 저주의 멜로디) and the animated Green Days (소중한 날의 꿈).

Box Office (June 24 - 26)

Despite being released way back at the start of May, Sunny (써니) found itself back at the top of the box office. it's the movies 8th weekend at the South Korean box office (June 24-26), and after selling more than 500,000 tickets to date, Sunny returned to the #1 spot after hovering in the top ten for five weeks. It has made over 42,032,285,100 Won (or about AUS $36,870,713) so far at the South Korean box office.

Poongsan was another new entry to the charts, coming in at #3, while K-pop horror film White and the animated Green Days took the #5 and #10 spots respectively. Overall, home-grown products accounted for over 46% of the total box office revenue in South Korea this week. An impressive feat considering the likes of Kung Fu Panda 2, Green Lantern, Super 8 and X-Men: First Class were their competitors.


  • The Melbourne International Film Festival has announced a number of Korean films will be added to their Accent on Asia program, with Ryoo Seung-Wan's blockbuster The Unjust (부당거래) joining Hong Sang-soo's The Day He Arrives (북촌방향) and Na Hong-jin's The Yellow Sea (황해).
  • A 30-second trailer has been revealed for the upcoming Korean drama The Beast 

We hope your are enjoying this weekly column, so if you have any news to contribute, please email the Blog Editor with the scoop.

Richard is a KOFFIA Blog Editor and a Marketing Assistant for KOFFIA. He can be contacted via email on

He is also the Editor-in-chief of DVD Bits and The Reel Bits. He can be found on Twitter @DVDBits and @The_ReelBits. In this guise, you can also reach him at