FESTIVALS showcasing the cinema of Australia’s neighbours have really taken off in recent years, with international students keen for a reminder of home flocking to their screenings. The latest addition? The Korean Film Festival, which, after its debut in Sydney last year, is now heading south to include Melbourne in the fun.
Kim Tae-kyun’s A Barefoot Dream will open the festival this Saturday at ACMI cinemas, next to Federation Square. The film is based on the true story of Kim Shin-hwan, a former professional football player who moved to East Timor and ended up coaching the talented but disadvantaged national youth team.
The film, which features a cameo by East Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, was Korea’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at last year’s Oscars. Tickets to the screening include entry to the festival’s gala opening for drinks and finger food.
There’s a lot on offer for action fans including 2010 Korean box-office chart-topper The Man from Nowhere, the political action-thriller Secret Reunion, and the critically-acclaimed J.S.A: Joint Security Area.
But for a light-hearted finale, the festival will close on Tuesday evening with a screening of Shim’s Family, a comedy about an eccentric and dysfunctional Korean family. This is the second feature from director Jeong Yoon-cheol, who once honed his skills while studying in Australia.
Unfortunately the Young Korean Filmmakers in Australia competition has stayed rather Sydney-centric this year, with the winners announced during the Sydney leg of the festival back in August. Sydney University of Technology student Andrew Lee scored both the Metro Screen YKFA First Prize and the University of Sydney Audience Award for his 12 minute film Second From the Right, which explores illegal prostitution of Korean women in Australia, while Tae Ho Yun took out the University of Sydney Jury Prize for Pure White Ground.
The festival will also host a forum on the emerging role of Korean cinema downunder, with industry insiders sharing their views.
The Korean Film Festival is running from 10-13 September at ACMI cinemas. Tickets to the screenings cost $14 for adults and $12 for students. For more information or to view the schedule visit the website.