Born in 1978, Yeun Sang-ho graduated from Sangmyoung University with a degree of Occidental Painting and established studio Dada Show. His short animations, [The Hell: Two Kinds of Life](2006) and [Love is Protein](2008) has been screened at many prestigious film and animation festivals. He also made the 2010 Busan International Film Festival trailer. [King of Pigs] is his feature debut.
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.10.07 ~ 2016.10.09 2016/10/10,
Tim Burton's "Miss Peregrine" and "Breathe" trump "The City of Madness"...
It's been weeks since a foreign film topped the charts in Korea, but after entering the fray in second place last week, Tim Burton's dark fantasy drama, "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" (starring Eva Green), managed to top the charts with 660,702 admissions (35.3%). Last weekend, Burton's latest, which is based on Ransom Riggs' 2011 novel of the same name, entered in second place with 23.5% of the sales from 810 screens, but an increase in screens to just under 900 helped propel the film to the top as its total tally in Korea moves to 1.9 million ($14.6 million),...More
[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets 2016/10/09,
Korea Portal explores why Kim Jee-woon's latest film is a unique addition to his filmography, Slash Film flags two South Korean films from the recently concluded Fantastic Fest in Austin, Pierce Conran tracks the appearance of trains in modern Korean cinema, and catch all the winners from the 2016 edition of the DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival,...More
[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets 2016/10/01,
Pierce Conran goes through the impressive lineup for the 11th London Korean Film Festival, NPR looks at the fascinating history behind Korea's first cinema couple, KOBIZ reveals the country's favourite films over Chuseok in their latest infographic, and the Los Angeles Times reviews Korea's official Oscar submission: "The Age of Shadows",...More
[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets 2016/09/24,
See how South Korean horrors "reclaims the occult", Hangul Celluloid reviews Korea's highest-grossing film of the year, Korea gets its first mountain-themed film festival, and explore the history of Korean animation at the Animation Museum in Chuncheon,...More
[HanCinema's Feature] "An Overview of the Korean Film Industry" 2016/08/27, To understand what the South Korean film industry is first you need to understand what film industries are in general. They are, in short, profitable enterprises designed to make money. That's a decidedly unglamorous description of a field that prides itself on making "art", but it's the cold hard truth. Hollywood, as a concept, only exists because a century ago the United States had a large, growing market for films. This made it possible for scale escalation and big budget movies. Most other countries with strong domestic film industries (India, Japan, and increasingly China) have the same advantage. Their domestic markets are so large it's easy to recoup production expenses,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.19 ~ 2016.08.21 2016/08/22,
Local literary adaptations take the top spots...
Kim Seong-hoon's action thriller "Tunnel" retained the top spot over the weekend and moved its total admissions count now to over 5 million. "Tunnel", based on So Jae-won's novel of the same name, was released on 10 August and shot to number one during its first weekend out with almost 2 million admissions. The foot traffic has tapered off since last weekend, but Kim's claustrophobic thriller was still able to maintain a clear lead by attracting more than double the stubs of its nearest competitor, another local literary adaptation,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.08.12 ~ 2016.08.14 2016/08/15, "Tunnel" dethrones "The Last Princess" and takes the crown...
Kim Seong-hoon's action thriller "Tunnel" arrived last week and managed to capture 40% of box office pie and dislodge "The Last Princess" at the top of the pile. Last weekend Heo Jin-ho's historical melodrama (aka "Princess Deokhye") attracted 1.1 million filmgoers across 964 screens to take pole position; despite following that good opening with another 966,862 admissions here (21%), which moved its total tally now to 3.5 million ($25.6 million), Heo's latest was forced into second place after the "Tunnel" arrived on the scene and attracted 1.8 million admissions ($13.8 million) from 1,091 screens,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Train to Busan" 2016/08/06,
The first zombie to show up in "Train to Busan" comes from a rather unexpected place, and is creepy in a way zombies seldom are, although in retrospect the idea is so obvious it's a wonder no one thought of it sooner. That's the general prevading sentiment behind "Train to Busan". By cutting out the usual pointless worldbuilding and focusing on a small group of relatable characters in a disaster situation, writer/director Yeon Sang-ho creates an astonishingly powerful piece of film. "Train to Busan" is both thrilling in the traditional action blockbuster sense as well as thought-provoking in the "what would you do?" vein,...More
[Guest Film Review] Yeong Sang-ho's "Seoul Station" screening on Fantasia International Film Festival 2016/07/23,
If you are a fan of zombie films (I am btw), you are constantly in search for something in the category that has never been done before. Well, a S. Korean animation with zombies has never been shot before, so here we are.
The story revolves around a zombie break-out that starts among the homeless living in Seoul station. The outbreak soon engulfs the whole city and the government declares a lockout of the whole area. In this chaos, Hae-sun, an ex-prostitute who has just broken up with her boyfriend named Ki-woong, tries to save herself with the help from some homeless, while her boyfriend is searching for her along with her father, Suk-gyu,...More
[HanCinema's Digest] Cinema Snippets 2016/04/16,
South Korea's ScreenX returns to CinemaCon in Las Vegas to wow audiences, the Dongyang Arts Center opens in Seoul to screen Chinese films new and old, Inverse has a list of their top 7 horrors from the last decade, and Yeon Sang-ho's third animation ("Seoul Station") has its international premiere in Brussels,...More
[HanCinema's Videography] "King of Pigs": Violence 2015/07/19,
There are many ways to comment on and cite literature, but moving images are harder to handled and quote. The history of cinematic thinking has long been tied to the shadow of literary concerns, taking its terms, theories and filtering them through audiovisual cues back to typographical symbols. Is there a way to articulate the themes, motifs, moments and magic found within films without relying on the power of the written word?,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Fake": An Animated Nightmare 2014/09/13, In the spotlight this week: Yeon Sang-ho's "The Fake"…
There are no heroes in Yeon's dystopian dreamscapes. Within both "King of Pigs and "The Fake" you'll find worlds that resemble the life-sustaining mush under a moist log, dank ecosystems alive with poisons and pessimism; here is where Yeon's Pigs wallowed, and then, in 2013, he sent three haunted men to a ghost town for a mexican meltdown.
"The Fake" pivots around three men: a reformed pastor, a slick charlatan, and a gnarly and cynical thug. This is similar to the trio of testosterone found in "King of Pigs", but here our lead's pasts are chasing them down like dogs,...More
[HanCinema's Image Gallery] "The Fake" 2014/09/13, A selection of stills from Yeon Sang-ho's "The Fake"…
Yeon's feature debut "King of Pigs" was a disturbing and violent look at schoolyard bullying and masculine madness. It was a gritty piece of animation that quickly made the rounds on the festival circuits and flagged Yeon as a unique, if not pessimistic, filmmaker with mind for mayhem and human tragedy. His follow-up film, "The Fake", was equally disturbing and dark and continued in the same violent vein as Yeon's hard-hitting opener…Enjoy! [SPOILERS],...More
[HanCinema's Afterwords] KOFIC Podcast Review - Special Episode 2014/01/04, In this Episode: Korean Cinema in 2013…
KOFIC recently launched "Korean Cinema Today", a bimonthly podcast that's all about the wonderful world of Korean cinema. Hosted by Pierce Conran, the show features the latest Korean cinema news, features, discussions, and interviews with special guests from the industry. In this special episode, Pierce has Darcy Paquet in studio to talk about the past year's big features, their top 5 films of the year, industry trends, as well as mention some of the big period films coming our way in 2014.
"Korean Cinema Today" is only four episodes in, and so while they are still finding their feet, the show is shaping up to be another fantastic new initiative by KOFIC. The show is hosted by Pierce Conran (editor of Modern Korean Cinema, Twitch Korean film correspondent, and writer for the Korean Film Council) and thus far he has already had interviews with Kwak Gyeong-taek ("Friend 2"), Lee Cheol-ha ("Hello Orchestra"), and has Darcy Paquet (one of Korea's leading and dedicated film critics) on the show to talk about 2003 (a landmark year for Korean cinema). In this special episode Darcy joins Pierce once again to discuss the incredible year that was 2013,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2013.11.22 - 2013.11.24 2013/11/25, Korea Proves Fire Retardant as "Friends 2" holds True...
Kwak Gyeong-taek's "Friends 2" held onto the top spot despite the arrival of the engrossing "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire". "Catching Fire" smashed the U.S. box office record for a November release, grossing a grotesque $161.1M as fans flooded the theatres to catch the second instalment of "Hunger Games" trilogy. However a slow Korean market proved incombustible in the face of this fiery U.S. action-adventure, choosing instead to re-elect Kwak's popular sequel as it moved onto 2.3 million admissions in its second weekend out,...More
[HanCinema's Hall of Fame] "King of Pigs" 2013/11/23, In the Spotlight this Week: "King of Pigs" by Yeon Sang-ho
Animations are often branded as innocent dreams for young minds, vivid characters whose sugar coatings are as sweet as their own happy ever afters. This approach to the genre is the rough rule if commercial success is your emerald city, however most animated features contain subtle themes and references that fully-fledged filmgoers can quietly tapped into and enjoy. This matured shadow is often muted and obviously understated, but in "King of Pigs"(2011) Yeon Sang-ho reclaims some territory from the penguins and hens and opens up his own slaughterhouse filled with poisoned placebos and animated anarchism. In "King of Pigs", Yeon inverts the comforts of animation's anthropomorphic rule, and instead favours a disturbing zoomorphism that captures some serious social issues that dwell deep within Korea's concrete jungles,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2013/11/16, K-Films Coming Soon:
★★★★★ "The Fake": A lowly drunk in a rural village tries to expose the corruption of those in power during the villagers' relocation. (11/21)
★★★★ "Marriage Blue": An omnibus melodrama that follows four couples struggling with conflict as their wedding dates draw nearer. (11/21)
★★★★ "Youth Talk": Two young couples attempt to deal with the lemons life throws at their love (11/21).
★★ "House With A Good View - Voyeuristic Desire": A sexy melodrama about the extreme lengths some will go to win over their love interest. (11/20)
★★★★ "Precious Love": A touching story about the love that can be found at the bottom of a barrel. (11/21)
★★★ "Novel Meets Movie":A zany-looking drama by four directors that showcases some atypical characters and their stumblings around life. (11/21),...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Fake" 2013/11/08,
The attitude this film takes toward organized religion is about as cynical a one as possible. From the very beginning it's clearly indicated that the cult which has become the center of life in a town soon to be destroyed a dam project is a sham designed largely to extort money from desperate people. And yet when one man finally steps up to do something about it, his efforts are rebuffed at every turn. Mainly because this man, Min-Chul (voiced by Yang Ik-joon), is impossibly vile and repulsive, provoking disgust not just from other characters but even from the audience,...More
[HanCinema's Hall of Fame Review] "Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild" 2013/10/05, In the Spotlight this Week: "Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild" (2011) by Oh Seong-yoon
Before 2011 no Korean animation had attracted more than a million admissions. It's a number that, according to director Oh Seong-yoon, has "symbolic meaning", a figure that his first feature animation "Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild" eventually more than doubled. "Leafie" spent seven weeks in the top ten last summer, never rising higher than fourth or claiming more than 250,433 admissions at a time. It lingered for weeks and was supported by a steady flow of curious filmgoers, all while competing with the likes of "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" (7.4M), "The Front Line" (2.9M), "Quick" (3.1M), and many others that were on show during its impressive spell. This popular adaptation went on to entertain more than 2.2 million filmgoers, making it the most commercially successful Korean animation in history. "Leafie" was a polished, beautiful story that was well voiced, and unashamedly touched on the selfless trials of modern motherhood,...More
[HanCinema's Film Talk] Class Warfare in "King of Pigs" 2013/07/06,
In 2011, some friends and I were lucky enough to catch Yeon Sang-ho's animation thriller "King of Pigs" (2011) at a rather lonely independent screening house in Seoul. At the time the film was receiving a lot of positive feedback from those critics and fans that caught it, and since then it's become somewhat of a cult classic among animation cinephiles.
The film made its world premiere at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), and it was the first Korean animation to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival. Unfortunately the film fell short of breaking even at the local box office (selling just 19,366 tickets), but Yeon's macabre masterpiece was perhaps never really destined for a box office Miracle,...More
[HanCinema Report] Packed house for opening of KOFFIA in Sydney 2012/08/28,
KOFFIA 2012 - 22-28 August, 2012
The 3rd annual Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) kicked off last week on 22 August at picturesque Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia. It was a packed house at Dendy Cinema for the Opening Ceremony which began with an official welcome and a brief run through of this year's festival by KOFFIA 2012 Artistic Director Kieran Tully. Guests were then treated with a delightful performance of a traditional Korean Fan Dance (Buchaechum) by Hyun Kim before the official opening of the festival by Consul-General of the Republic of Korea (Sydney) Mr Jin-Soo Kim. The night concluded with a well-received screening of the highest grossing Korean film of 2011, Kim Han-min's spectacular "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon",...More
Animation festival to open next week, offering both light, heavy 2012/07/08, Source,
A scene from "Wrinkles", by Spanish director Ignacio Ferreras. It will be screened at the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival, which opens next week.
By Kwaak Je-yup Cartoons and animations hold a special place in every child's heart, and an event next week will give children and young-hearted adults an opportunity to stretch their imaginations through some of the world's finest works. The 16th Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival (SICAF) will screen over 150 animated films from 30 countries at two central Seoul cinemas from July 18 to 22. It will also hold exhibitions and a film market concurrently,...More
PiFan's NAFF It Project 2012: Call for Submissions 2012/04/16, Source,
The It Project is an exclusive project market for genre films that aims to discover new, promising feature film projects by Asian filmmakers or those co-produced by Asian countries and provide participants with a wide range of production and investment possibilities. Launched in 2008 as a section of the Network of Asian Fantastic Films, the It Project has been very successful in attaining its goal of becoming a growing project market for genre films and supporting new, inspiring projects,...More
South Korean Box Office in 2011 2012/01/14, Source, Korean cinema expert Darcy Paquet looks back at the results of 2011's box office with some unexpected hits and misses, the rise of independent features, and how audiences confirmed they value story over spectacle.
Although the number crunchers in Hollywood estimate that US theatrical admissions sank to their lowest level since 1995, things were not so gloomy in Korea. With an estimated 160 million tickets sold (more precise figures will become available at a later date), it appears that Korea has approached or broken the modern-day record for admissions. In 2010, total admissions stopped at 146.8 million. In monetary terms, 2011 was certainly the best year ever, given the 3D surcharge and rising average ticket prices. Americans may be growing tired of the theatrical movie-going experience, but young Koreans still crowd the multiplexes,...More
Korean Cinema 2011: The View from Here 2012/01/14, Source,
US-based author and curator of film at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, Tom VICK shares his views on recent trends he has noticed programming their Korean film festival.
How do you introduce new Korean films to an American audience? Since 2004, when I began programming the Korean Film Festival DC, the answer to this question has become more difficult to answer. This is not to say that it's harder to find good films. Quite the opposite. The problem (if it can be called a problem) is that there are so many films to choose from.The explosion of digital production and distribution in the last decade or so has made it easier than ever to make a film, but harder than ever find an audience for it,...More
Busan film festival and MovieCollage in Seoul 2011/12/18, Source,
A special screening program called '2011 Busan International Film Festival with MovieCollage' kicks off at the Apgujeong CGV in Seoul today, to run until Dec. 21. The program will screen 19 highly acclaimed films from this year's Busan festival including Korean films "Jesus Hospital", which won the Directors Guild of Korea (DGK) Award for Best Actress, and "Dangerously Excited", an Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) Post-production Support winner,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "King of Pigs": Zoomorphism and Class Warfare 2011/11/19, Yeon Sang-ho's gritty and disconcerting "King of Pigs" largely impressed at this years film festival in Busan, but not all offered up their praise for Yeon's hard-hitting and provocative efforts. Drawing from personal experience and working with a limited budget, Yeon has pieced together a fairly controversial film that will unsettle many in the audience. Its violent and distressing subject matter speaks through its sharp visuals, all the while disturbing and unnerving as it plays out the fate of three, extremely troubled, middle school friends,...More
'Pigs' depicts frightening realism 2011/11/18, Source,
There is something frightfully disquieting and intense about "King of Pigs" that is quite difficult to nail down.
After sweeping three awards at the Busan International Film Festival in October, the decidedly noir animation for adults has been making a quiet stir since opening in theaters earlier this month. It became the first local indie film to attract 10,000 viewers in just two weeks, according to its distributor KT&G Sangsang Madang,...More
Busan Closes with Mourning, Nino and La-Bas taking top prizes 2011/10/19, Source, By KOFIC Staff
The 16th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) ended its nine-day run on Oct. 14 with the New Currents Award going to two films - Morteza FARSHBAF's Iranian film Mourning and Loy ARCENAS's Filipino film Nino. The Flash Forward Award went to Guido LOMBARDI's Italian film La-Bas -A Criminal Education. All three films were awarded US$30,000 each.
New Currents jury head Yonfan stated that Mourning "sets a new standard of cinematic poetry" while Nino"is a well-scripted, finely interpreted, superbly directed film that turns a familiar family saga to a new Aria in an opera",...More
Korean films draw pleasing response at PiFan's NAFF 2010/07/20, Source,
A pitching session for It Project 2010 is held at the Koryo Hotel in the city of Bucheon of South Korea on July 19, 2010. [PiFan]
Korean films in competition at the It Project genre film market of this year's Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF), the industry specialized program of the ongoing Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan), received favorable response during a pitching session yesterday,...More
PiFan unveils NAFF It Project Official Selection 2010/06/08, Source, The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival has announced its official selection for the 'It Project' development project market, a part of the NAFF (Network of Fantastic Films). The movies this year come from 10 mostly Asian countries but feature a diverse range of genres that fall under the f,...More
Congratulations on Birth of Animation! 2008/11/03, Source, There will be a lot of events which celebrate the birth of animation from all over the world. From October 31st to November 2nd, Seoul Animation Center will open workshops and screening shows to view excellent animations.
This event will not only screen Korean animations but also rare animations,...More
2006 Indi Anifest's directors' preliminary meeting 2006/10/17, Source, Staffs and directors participating in the 2006 Indi Anifest, co-hosted by the Korea Culture and Content Agency (KOCCA, CEO: Suh, Byung-Moon) and the Korean Independent Animation Association (President: Lee, Yong-Bae), had a preliminary meeting at a cafeteria around Hongik University on Oct. 13.
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