London is a great place to be if you’re a fan of Korean film. Get your diary / calendar ready, and make sure you don’t miss out!
5. Korea Calling at the Thames Festival
(September – on the Thames – free)
For the last five years, the mayor’s celebration of London has provided a platform for Korean film and much more. Korea Calling aims to cover as many aspects of Korea as possible in a diverse and interactive weekend of fun. Last year, the highlight was an outdoors screening of black and white silent movie Crossroads of Youth. Here’s a three minute video summary to get you inspired:
2012′s festival will be held on the 8th and 9th of September, and promises to be just as good as last year, if not better. You can keep updated via the Thames Festival website.
- Groups of friends
- Hallyu fanatics
4. Pan-Asia Film Festival
(March – Asia House, Prince Charles Cinema, Ciné Lumiere - about £10 per film)
Run by Asia House, and in its fourth year, the Pan-Asia Film Festival focuses on new and emerging cinema from across Asia. The 2012 fest started yesterday (9th March), and goes on until the 18th. It features movies from India, Kazakhstan, Japan, China, Tibet, Iran and Taiwan. South Korea’s ultra-emotive, artsy film Come Rain, Come Shine starring Hyun Bin makes its UK debut on 17th March at Ciné Lumière. Here’s the trailer:
- Foreign-film buffs
- Asia enthusiasts
- An indie cinema date
3. KCC Film Nights
(first three Thursdays of every month – Korean Cultural Centre – free / final Thursday of every month (with Q&A) – various London cinema venues – about £10)
The popularity and success of the free fortnightly Korean Film Nights at the Korean Cultural Centre have led these events to evolve into something even more exciting. Not only has the frequency increased (now a weekly thing), but 2012 has also been crowned ‘Year of the 12 Directors’.
The London 2012 Olympics have warranted us a visit from one Korean director per month. Their film will be screened in a London cinema, and they will stay to answer questions from audience members. This month brings us Park Kwang-su, with Lee Jun-ik and Song Hae-song (the only female on the programme) amongst others to grace our presence later on in the year. The KCC and UK Korean film websites will have specific details and booking info.
- Discovering Korean movies of diverse genres and styles
- Those with questions about Korean film
- A relaxed evening out after work
2. Korean Cinema Blogathon
(March – newkoreancinema.com , cineawesome.com - free)
It’s happening as we speak, and has inspired me to write this post! This yearly online event encourages, brings together and shares articles, reviews, and information on K-film through the medium of the blog. The rules? Just one: the writing must relate, in any which way, to the theme of ‘Korean Cinema’. It’s a great way to get us all thinking about the subject, and to find out what others think, too. Check out New Korean Cinema and cineAWESOME to see what all the fuss is about.
- Budding writers/reviewers
- Blog addicts
- Discovering cool new websites
1. London Korean Film Festival
(November – various London venues including Odeon West End, Korean Cultural Centre, ICA – prices ranging from free to about £20)
This is the quintessential London Korean film event, and has been the most important date in any K-film fan’s calendar for the last six years. The London Korean Film Festival celebrates, promotes, dissects, questions and recognises all areas of the diverse spectrum that is ‘Korean film’.With celebrity appearances, live interviews with film-makers, retrospectives, talks with experts, fun competitions and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities (how often do you get the chance to make a one-minute film and have it shown on the big screen directly after Park Chan-wook’s Night Fishing?), the LKFF demonstrates the impact of Korean film in the west.
Last year’s event was opened by Shinee, endorsed by Jonathon Ross, attended by 4,500 audience members, and showed films ranging from Leafie to Sunny. This vid will give you a taste of what it’s all about:
- Anyone with any interest in Korea
- First-time K-film viewers
- Dedicated Korean-movie fans
With so many awesome events going on on our doorstep, it’s no wonder Londoners are becoming increasingly attached to the world of Korean cinema. These are better attended and more elaborate every year, so let’s see what the rest of 2012, 2013, and beyond can bring for Korean cinema in London.