KOFFIA 2011: The Lineup

It seems it’s festival season in Australia right now, and after MIFF the next one we’re excited about is the Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA), which has just unwrapped their lineup for this year. Eugene and I went along to their media launch, and we’re impressed: for their second year, they’ve come back with a larger list of screenings and expanded into Melbourne as well!

Their program announcement has all the details, but here’s a short summary (with links to reviews for those that someone from HC has managed to catch already). All of these films are showing in Sydney in late August, and a subset of them are showing in Melbourne in September.

The Unjust (2010), opening the Sydney festival with a bang. Director Ryu Seung-wan and producer Kang Hye-jeong will be guests of the festival, and there’ll be a Q&A session with them for this film.

The Man From Nowhere (2010), Korea’s highest grossing film of last year (6.2 million tickets, count ’em!), an actioner starring Won Bin.

Secret Reunion (2010), the second highest grossing film of 2010. Stars Song Kang-ho as an NIS agent and Kang Dong-won as the North Korean operative he’s after.

Joint Security Area (2000), Park Chan-wook’s classic film about the relationship between two groups of guardsmen on opposite sides of the North-South border. If you haven’t seen it, you should — and for those of us who have seen it, but not on the big screen… they’ll be showing a nice clean 35mm print.

Earth’s Women (2009), an independent documentary following the stories of three women farmers who have been friends since college. This took the Mecenat Award for Best Documentary at Pusan in 2009.

The Journals of Musan (2010), the debut film from Park Jung-bum (playing his own lead actor), about the lives of North Korean defectors in South Korea. Musan has taken a pile of awards at festivals as well.

No Blood No Tears (2002), also from Ryu Seung-wan, a film noir film with a large helping of action scenes. The first film in KOFFIA’s ‘Bloody Friday’ theme.

Bedevilled (2010), a thriller/horror film from Kim Ki-duk’s former assistant director, Jang Chul-soo. The trailer for this one is all smiles and idyllic island scenes, until the sun goes down and someone starts sharpening a sickle.

Shim’s Family (2007), also known as Skeletons in the Closet, a family comedy/drama. Closing film for the Melbourne festival.

The Show Must Go On (2007), described as “the Korean Sopranos” and starring Song Kang-ho as a middle-aged mobster.

Oki’s Movie (2010), the latest from director Hong Sang-Soo, a film in four parts which treats filmmaking itself as a theme.

Bunt (2007), a film about a mentally-challenged boy who strives to help everyone around him.

A Barefoot Dream (2010), the true story of a Korean soccer coach who worked with underprivileged children in East Timor. This film was South Korea’s submission for the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, and it’s the closer for the Sydney festival and the opening film in Melbourne.

I’m looking forward to this year’s festival enormously — hope to see you there!

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