Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Feature Film Focus: the rise of Korean Animation at KOFFIA

This year, the KOFFIA lineup has expanded to include a wider range of films, that sees animated feature films screen for the very first time. This year's ANIMATION program reflects a new trend in the burgeoning Korean film industry, sparking a bright future for this often over-looked form of storytelling. 

Korean animators have found their successes from working in large scale productions for a number of years, ranging from James Cameron’s Avatar to The Simpsons Movie. KOFFIA 2012 will present 2 different and juxtaposing feature films LEAFIE: A HEN INTO THE WILD and THE KING OF PIGS.

LEAFIE: A HEN INTO THE WILD, based of a popular children’s book, went on to be the highest grossing Korean animation of all time, and will have its Australian premiere at KOFFIA. Directed by Oh Seung-yun, the story follows an ambitious hen who has dreams of raising her own eggs and roaming free in the wild. After escaping from her coop, she sets out on an adventure with a young wild duck and a wise but quirky otter! LEAFIE exemplifies the Western way of storytelling with the freshness and liveliness of being a truly Korean story of family, love and finding oneself. The film was  also awarded the Best Animated Film prize at the 5th Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

On the opposite side of this is the critically-acclaimed THE KING OF PIGS, which will also screen as part of the ANIMATION program as what is a darker and more adult take on animation. The film is Yeun Sang-ho's feature film debut and reflects on the more serious themes of bullying, violence and social class structures in a modern Korean society. THE KING OF PIGS was also the first Korean film to be competing in the Official Selection at the Sydney Film Festival this year. Furthermore, the film was also the first Korean animated feature to be invited to compete at Cannes Film Festival this year. 

The worldwide success and recognition of these two films symbolise the Korean film industry's coming of age in the international film scene, and a change of attitudes towards animated films in Korea.

We will further explore the progress that the Korean Animation industry has made with industry forums, and even look at the possibility of the Korean and Australian industries working together.  This year's Sydney and Melbourne sessions of LEAFIE: A HEN INTO THE WILD will be followed by a Korean Animation Today Forum, featuring some industry professionals from both Australia and Korea including Cinema On The Park regular Deborah Szapiro (Co-Director of the Sydney International Animation Film Festival). 

Please visit the KOFFIA website for more information on all KOFFIA sessions and forums.

In the meanwhile, get your animation fix this week at Cinema On The Park, a free weekly Korean film night hosted by the Korean Cultural Office in Australia. This week the KCO are focusing on Korean animation and will be screening THE STORY OF MR. STORY, an animated feature film of an ear-cleaner who shrinks to a size that allows him to listen to his clients' inner most secrets.

The screening will follow a short discussion panel about animation between Deborah Szapiro and Damian Gascoigne (Associate Professor of the Design and Animation Faculty at the UTS: University of Technology, Sydney). We hope you join us for this free screening and forum at the Korean Cultural Office.

THE STORY OF MR. STORY + Animation Forum
at the Korean Cultural Office, 255 Elizabeth St, Sydney
July 26, Thursday - Forum starts at 6:30PM, Film starts at 7:15PM
Free entry, bookings essential here:

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