Eastern Filmmaking Travels to the West

by 조선편집국 posted Jul 02, 2013


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Eastern Filmmaking Travels to the West
Korean films reach local Georgia theaters

Gabby Lee

Since the success of Korean films in reputable film festivals across the world, they have gained the interest of Georgia's film-lovers.
Korean films began making their mark in the film industry after the release of the revenge flick, Oldboy, by Chan Wook Park in 2004. The film wowed its audience with its enthralling twisting plot. Chang Dong Lee followed in 2007 with the powerful drama, Secret Sunshine, about a widow's tragic life back in her hometown. Both films won nominations for the Palme d'Or, the most prestigious award at the Cannes film festival for their released years.
In addition to the nominations, Do-yeon Jeon won the best actress award at Cannes for her role in Secret Sunshine while Park received the Grand Prix award, the second most prestigious prize at Cannes for his achievements in Oldboy. 
The Korean filmmaking industry, which primarily served a domestic market, has come a long way.
Ciné, located in downtown Athens, started showing Korean films for public viewings.  Most recently, the theater has been screening The Host and Mother.
Ciné, which opened on April 1, 2007, transformed an abandoned tire capping facility into a community gathering spot for film aficionados.  Ciné shows a variety of films – domestic independent films, international films, and art house releases. 
Korean films, unique in their deep cultural heritage and ability to create strong emotional responses, have been a part of Ciné's goal to reflect a variety of tastes. "We've been fortunate enough to screen some Korean films on the occasion of when they are making their way through the circuit," said Gabe Wardell, executive director of Ciné. 
To Wardell, the defining characteristic of Korean films are the dark visual elements. "The cinema of Korea has been especially dynamic in recent years-- with vivid action, stirring images and explosive violence," said Wardell. His personal favorite is Oldboy, for its twisted and unpredictable plot.   
Ciné is not alone in screening Korean films. Korean film fans seeking to introduce the industry to the mass launched the first Atlanta Korean Film Festival last October. 16 different films were shown at various venues, including Lefont Theaters, Landmark Midtown Theaters, Rialto Center for the Arts, and Carmike Cinemas 12. 
The theaters were chosen based on their location and previous history with international films. "Our goal was to attract mainstream American citizens interested in foreign films. The theaters, Lefont and Landmark were ideal because they had hosted film festivals in the past," said festival manager, S.K. Hong. 
The festival introduced not only the well-known horror-thrillers, but a variety. "We wanted to show the people a diversity of Korean films through different genres. We included comedy, romance, historical and more genres in our selection," said Hong. The selection included Gwanghae, 200 Pounds of Beauty, The King and the Clown, War of Arrows, and plenty more.
Hong plans to the make the festival an annual event. "We hope that this festival will let people experience not only the artistic side of Korean films, but also the entertainment side of it. We want to let the audience enjoy the unique offerings that Korean films provide."

Ciné from the outside located in downtown Athens 

Ciné's logo and ticket booth

The concessions at Lefont Theaters at Atlanta

Lefont Theaters from the outside at Atlanta

The ticket booth at Lefont Theaters


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