Korea Joa 2015 organized by KOFICE happened in October 2015. It is now February 2016 and I've only now finished my articles on that wonderful adventure. It feels like it is only now ending. In case you're new to my Korea Joa coverage, HanCinema was invited as one of fifteen world sites on Korean culture, Kpop, K-drama, and K-film to represent the international journalist community...More
One of South Korea's biggest cultural exports is K-pop. But that's not all, it's also a phenomenon within the country itself. All over the country there are festivals, concerts, collaborations, and music shows. For international fans like myself, such ready access to Korean musical acts is rare indeed. A trip to Korea allows for the kind of musical exposure international fans would have to spend years gathering...More
Hongdae may easily be one of the hippest places in Seoul. It's where musicians and artists roam, create, and socialize. The young can find solace in the fast-paced atmosphere, delicious food, and hoards of people their own age. It's especially known for its indie artists: musicians, dancers, and other street performers. There is always a show in a club or on the streets. And don't forget the flea market, fun specialty shops, and pet cafes scattered everywhere. K-pop star and actor Jung Yong-hwa recommends it as a must-see place for anyone visiting Seoul...More
Music shows are one of K-pop's most important forms of artist exposure and fanservice. They showcase the new acts, the returning acts, and give fans one more way to connect to their idols. There is a music show every day of the week and artists often hit many of them in order to promote new singles, mini-albums, and albums. Internationally, they allow fans to see their idols live on a weekly basis. In Korea, attending music shows is an involved process that gives fans many opportunities to see their bias groups live.
I was lucky enough to attend a live broadcast of Mnet's M! Countdown episode # 446 on October 8, 2015...More
Road trips in the United States, like everywhere, are comprised of long hours on the road, scenery that ranges from monotonous to stunning, and pit stops that are defined by sketchy bathrooms and dubious food. As an avid traveler, I've been on many road trips, especially in my native Florida. I thought I'd seen it all and considered myself a pro road-tripper. I've seen over half of the fifty states, eaten their native foods, seen their native attractions. On my forays into other countries I've done much the same. But none of those places can top road tripping in South Korea...More
S.M. Entertainment is one of the triumvirate of entertainment companies along with YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. Some of the most famous acts in K-pop are housed under S.M. such as my personal bias SHINee as well as Girls' Generation, Super Junior, f(x), EXO, Red Velvet, BoA, and TVXQ. This list is by no means inclusive of the immensely talented acts found under the S.M. name. Many of the members have been spotted in dramas and films. And some people represented under S.M. are not musicians, but actors such as Go Ara and Kim Min-jong...More
Namsan Tower, officially named the "N Seoul Tower", is one of the quintessential romantic spots found in Korean film and drama, and is also a tourist attraction for Koreans and international visitors alike. The communication and observation tower is famous for it's night glow, the "Locks of Love", and the spectacular cityscape view that is lovely during the day and mesmerizing at night...More
Seoul is the capital of South Korea and the home of a rich, thriving, and vibrant culture. It is the home of many artistic innovations. With a population of nearly twenty-six million and as the location of the fastest internet connections, top-ranked transportation systems, and ground-breaking technological innovations, it's no wonder that Seoul is also the home of many favorite drama locations. It is so diverse that it can support plots of an array of time periods, disparate industries and environments, and house the companies that provide funding, talent agencies, and filming facilities...More
There is a one stop internet shop in Korea and it is called "Naver". Established in 1999, it was the very first Korean portal to feature its own search engine. Naver currently provides the number one search engine in Korea along with many other services such as news, e-mail, navigation, LINE messenger, gaming, webtoons, shopping, and more. HanCinema had a chance to visit the green Naver building while with the Korea Joa 2015 program...More
When I met with Yonhap News Agency's journalists Lee Eun-jung and Yoon Go-eun at the Terarosa Coffee, I came prepared with questions for them. What I didn't expect was to answer some of theirs. The two-way conversation turned into quite the charming interview where they gave some insight into their processes, and I got to tell them about what we do here at HanCinema...More
HanCinema's correspondent Lisa Espinosa got to sit down with super girl group Sistar on October 7, 2015. These ladies, Kim Dasom, 'Yoon Bora', Hyolyn, and Soyou, have had a big year. They released their fifth mini-album "Shake It" on June 22, 2015 and proceeded to shake up the stage at KCON LA two weeks later. Check out the interview to see what the four ladies of Starship Entertainment had to say about acting and rehearsing...More
The day that Korea Joa 2015 visited Korean Folk Village (한국민속촌) was wonderfully sunny without suffering from the sun's heat. It was the ideal day to walk around and attempt to see all of the 243 acres of land where Joseon era homes, businesses, goods, food, and drink are preserved and reproduced for the modern day public. Despite modern-day amenities like Baskin Robbins 21 and vending machines, the spirit of the Village remains in tact and it is exactly that spirit that captured members of Korea Joa 2015...More
At the suggestion of Paul Quinn from Hangul Celluloid I decided that a trip to the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) as the representative of HanCinema, the Korean Film and Drama Database, wouldn't be amiss. This is the place to go for almost anything and everything related to Korean film. It collects all things related to Korean film such as film itself, movie documents, and sound materials and provides access to classic films dating back to the 1930s both via live stream and in the library...More
My trip to Korea was full of amazing opportunities. I went to the world-renowned BIFF 2015, saw multiple K-pop concerts, visited breathtaking historical sites both modern and ancient, and interviewed many fabulous people. But it was one woman's school and class that may have been the pinnacle of that experience: a Q&A and lesson with Chef and Food Director Kim Su-jin-I and Teacher Lee "Ellie" Hye-won of the Food & Culture Academy. The Q&A was a lesson in how Korean food embodies the spirit of its vivacious people and what makes Korean food unique. Then we, the members of Korea Joa 2015, got to make two quintessential Korean dishes: japchae and bulgogi. Those members with dietary restrictions learned how to make haemul jeon. Check the recipes out at the end of this piece...More
Kim Soo-hyun and Jun Ji-hyun stand atop the stairs of the National Theater of Korea in episode 21 of "My Love from the Star" and share a heartbreaking kiss just before he suddenly disappears. This "red carpet kiss" is one of the most famous drama kisses in recent history and it was filmed on the steps on the first national theater in Korea, a space dedicated to supporting Korean traditional arts and the arts in general. As the home of three national performance groups, the theater holds a lot of history even though it was established fairly recently in 1950...More
The third day of Korea Joa 2015 allowed the members a choice of films that they wanted to view as part of the 2015 Busan International Film Festival: "Ode to My Father", or "The Silenced". I, as you know from my previous articles, chose Park Bo-young's film "The Silenced". My trusty companions (Jenny from Soompi, Freya from United K-pop, Mish from PKCI, and Germaine from (x)clusive!) joined me for what we hoped wouldn't be a totally terrifying experience. We'd heard the film was a bit scary and were not sure if we were up for the thrills...More
Buddhism runs deep in the veins of Korean religious and social culture. Korean thinkers developed a distinctly Korean brand of Buddhism that has grown and changed with the times. Not only did it develop as a religion and philosophy, but its ideas also manifested in architecture as temples. Most Korean Buddhist temples are situated in mountains and although they are beautiful, many of them look very much the same. An exception is found in Haedong Yonggung temple that is situated in the craggy cliffs along the sea that borders the north-east of Busan...More
One thing I love about these diary pieces is that I can tell you, HanCinema readers, about my adventures in Korea and bring you along with me no matter how big or small my adventure may or may not have been. One thing I particularly loved about the Korea Joa 2015 program was that I not only met dedicated colleagues of Korean entertainment, but I also made friends. There is nothing quite like sharing good times with a good friend...More
On October 7, 2015 HanCinema sat down for an interview with Dabit, a talented, creative Korean-American singer/songwriter who has broken into the Korean music scene. Special thanks to Kaja! Korea and Soompi for the opportunity to speak with the down-to-earth, fun, musician...More
After the screening of "The Silenced" that I had the pleasure of watching at the 2015 Busan International Film Festival, KOFICE secured the Korea Joa 2015 members places in the Q&A session following the film with Director Lee Hae-yeong and leading actresses Park Bo-young and Park So-dam. It was held in an adjacent theater where a small number of press was invited to ask question in an open forum...More
Before the official Korea Joa 2015 schedule I had a chance to explore outside of Seoul in the lovely city of Suwon, which is about a forty minute bus ride from the capital. The city is completely walled and is the home of Hwaseong Fortress, Hwaseong Palace, eleven universities, and company headquarters such as Samsung Electronics. Public transportation is fantastic and I found the people to be kind and helpful to the perpetually lost and perplexed foreigner...More
If there is one thing that can be said about Seoul, is that it truly is a city with something that will appeal to everyone. Its personality is multifaceted and deep. While parts of it rest, others come alive. There is always something to do, somewhere to go, and people to meet. Even cats, dogs, and raccoons await the friendly faces of tourists and locals alike in animal cafes. It is steeped in the rich history of Korea and flavored by the worldly wonders of Korea's immense expansion since its birth as a democracy...More
2015/10/24 | Permalink
The very first day of the Korea Joa 2015 program began with a beautiful welcome banquet and ended with an interview of Director General Kim Deok-jung. The juxtaposition of work and play set the mood for the next nine days of the trip. It is what made the trip unique as well as successful. Director General Kim Deok-jung heralded the experience with his presence at the banquet and with his well-thought out answers in his interview with HanCinema. Read on for a transcript of our interview. We'd like to thank interpreter Cha Yoon-su for her invaluable participation as our interpreter...More
On October 2nd, 2015, "The Silenced" aired as part of the 2015 Busan International Film Festival in Busan's Haeundae Megabox Theaters. As part of KOFICE's Korea Joa 2015 project, HanCinema attended the screening and would like to thank KOFICE for the opportunity.
"The Silenced" is a film whose plot can be dissected into two contrasting parts: the first two-thirds that is alluring and full of promise, and the last third that quickly declines into disappointing predictability. The two parts are decorated with gifted actors, insightful filming, and very marked themes of friendship, sacrifice, and evil. Set in Japanese-occupied Korea, "The Silenced" focuses on a girls' boarding house and sanitorium where strange things happen to its sickly students...More
2015/10/06 | Permalink
K-pop is one of the biggest exports in Korean entertainment. International fans love its sleek, well-polished, talented, and extremely good-looking idols. HanCinema attended the debut of an idol group that already had a major following from its rookie days: iKON. The concert-going experience was enhanced because it was in Korea where local entertainers appreciate their fans differently from international ones.
The iKON members have been in the Kpop scene since 2013 when five members of the boy group participated in the reality survival program "Who is Next: Win"...More
2015/10/03 | Permalink
Tourists come to South Korea for many reasons, but those can be broken down into two general categories: its far-reaching, rich traditional history and its lively modern day happenings that have won the hearts of international citizens and netizens. Part of KOFICE's Korea Joa program is not only to cover Kpop and Korean film and drama, but also to experience the culture that drives these popular forms of entertainment...More
2015/10/02 | Permalink
On October 1st HanCinema attended the 20th Busan International Film Festival's (BIFF) red carpet, opening ceremony, and opening film. Stars and talents walked the red carpet, stayed to present, and then "Zubaan", an introspective Bollywood film directed by Mozez Singh, had its world premiere. Despite the intermittent rain and blustering wind typical of the Busan area, fans braved the weather in raincoats and Snoopy towels to catch glimpses of the stars.
Upon arrival, what strikes one most is the architecture of the Busan Cinema Center located in Centrum City...More
2015/10/01 | Permalink
KOFICE has gathered an international crew to join the Korea Joa program headed by Director General Kim Deok-jung, and coordinated by Minju Kwon and Julia Jayoon Choi. The fifteen members and their guests round out the group. I, Lisa Espinosa, represent HanCinema, the Korean Movie & Drama Database. The other members represent the different industries of Korean culture coverage such as Kpop, Korean fashion, Korean events, and how Korean culture and enjoyed in their respective countries...More
2015/10/01 | Permalink
HanCinema has begun its Korea Joa journey! KOFICE - The Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange - brought fifteen Korean culture-focused websites together to the Ritz Carlton Hotel of Seoul to commence the first year of Korea Joa, a program geared towards sharing Korean culture through its entertainment and the journalists' personal experience of Korea itself. September 30th was the orientation banquet where the journalists met with the KOFICE director general and staff, and with one another...More
Annyeong haseyo, everyone! I am Raine aka Lisa Espinosa, HanCinema's representative in the first year of the Korea Joa (KJ) program hosted by KOFICE. As your fellow fan of Korean film, drama, culture, and music it is my distinct pleasure to travel, write, film, and photograph my experiences for you. Please be sure to leave comments for the HanCinema team below about what you would like to see in my travels that will take place September 27 to October 9th...More
What is Korea Joa?
We have been looking forward to sharing this with our readers for months and the time is finally here. HanCinema has been invited by KOFICE (Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange) to attend ten days of events covering Korean culture and entertainment, including Korean cinema, Kdrama and Kpop. The project, named 'Korea Joa', includes 15 members from 9 nations. The events will take place mainly in Seoul and Busan, where we can also follow the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). Members of the 'Korea Joa' project will be creating content for their respective sites and we will also be collaborating to promote one another's content through social media, giving you a fuller experience...More
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