[USA and Canada] Korean movie "A Melody to Remember" to be released in theatres in North America on January 29th
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Korean movie ""A Melody to Remember"" to be released in theatres on January 29th in CGV Los Angeles and nationwide on February 2nd
War took away many things
But hope was never gone.
South Korean platoon leader HAN Sang-ryul (Im Si-wan) lost his family and comrades due to the Korean War. He assigned to another unit and comes across war orphans, some of whom are exploited for profit. He decides to help the orphans by creating a choir, thereby healing their wounds with beautiful songs with the help of volunteer teacher Park Ju-mi (Go Ah-sung). Their beautiful voices rise from the battlefield and begin to melt everyone's hearts...
"A Melody to Remember"
* TITLE : "A Melody to Remember"
* DIRECTOR : Lee Han
* CAST :
Im Si-wan (as Lt. HAN Sang-ryul)
Go Ah-sung (as PARK Ju-mi)
Lee Hee-joon (as Hook)
Lee Joon-hyuk-I (as Sgt. Jo)
Jung Joon-won (as Dong-gu)
Lee Re (as Soon-yi)
* PRODUCTION Joy Rabbit
* PRESENTED BY NEW
* PRINCIPAL SHOOT May 18, 2015 – September 26, 2015
* LOCAL RELEASE January, 2016
* RUNNING TIME 124 min
* LOCAL HOMEPAGE facebook.com/its.NEW.contents
2016's most wanted match-up:
"Punch"'s director Lee Han, "The Attorney"'s Im Si-wan, and "Snowpiercer"'s Go Ah-sung!
"A Melody to Remember" is brought to the screen by director Lee Han, who previously helmed "Punch" and "Thread of Lies", by bringing together some of today's brightest young stars in Korean cinema, including Im Si-wan, Go Ah-sung, Lee Hee-joon, and child actors Jung Joon-won, and Lee Re.
Having made his silver screen debut with highly acclaimed "The Attorney" as a university student Jin-woo, who gets involved in the case unexpectedly, idol/actor Im Si-wan made a name for himself in mega-popular TV drama "Incomplete Life". "A Melody to Remember" marks his first collaboration with director Lee Han and also a first time playing a soldier. As a surrogate father figure to a group of orphans, he had to bring out warmth and strength from his core in order to help heal the children. Having never played piano in his life, Im Si-wan had to not only learn the instrument but also learn to conduct as well. As a dichotomy to this sensitive side, he had to go through grueling physical training as part of transforming into a soldier and show off his masculine side.
Unlike Im Si-wan, actress Go Ah-sung has worked with director Lee on "Thread of Lies", and wholeheartedly agreed to work with him again as a warm-hearted teacher who goes to great lengths to protect her pupils. KO is regarded as one of the most promising young actresses of her generation after starring in Bong Joon-ho's seminal monster movie "The Host" and 2014's "Snowpiercer". She will bring out her maternal instinct on the screen and become a surrogate mother to a group of war-torn children.
2016's most beautiful song, children's choir formed after grueling 4-month audition process and practice!
Korean War began on June 25, 1950 between South and North Koreas until truce was reached on July 23, 1953. During this bleak time when people lost parents, siblings and friends to the violence, they found solace in unexpected places, as beautiful and innocent sounds of children's choir took shape. Established during Korean War, the choir provided entertainment to the soldiers on battlefields and hospitals, and after the ceasefire, they toured Japan, Southeast Asia, and Europe in the '60s. As this film is based on a real life organization, the filmmakers took extra efforts to cast over 30 child actors who had to practice singing, and also selected songs that fit the mood of the film.
Realism was of utmost importance to the filmmakers, so they carried out 4 separate auditions in order to find child actors who not only could act but sing as well. Once the audition process ended, the actors worked towards becoming a legitimate choir over the course of 4 months.
Selection of songs for the children also proved to be a grueling task for the filmmakers. Having worked on "Punch" with director Lee Han, composer Lee Jae-jin researched various choir songs of that period, in addition to traditional folk songs and children's songs. He selected songs that brought out sense of longing, home and emotions. 'Thinking of Brother', 'Spring at Home', 'Woman Harvesting Vegetables', and adapting foreign songs like 'Home, Sweet Home', 'Stodola Pumpa' for 30-child choir. In case of 'Stodola Pumpa', director Lee Han himself rewrote the song and changed the title to 'With Friends', and created a beautiful choir highlight scene in which he combined this song with 'My Happy Home'. The children's voices provide warmth and console those who lost everything to the war.
Recreating look of 1950s on the screen with large-scale location sets and various visual techniques!
Filmmakers of "A Melody to Remember" researched extensively prior to the principal shoot in order to recreate 1950s Korean War era faithfully on the screen, thereby heightening the choir's beautiful songs. Director Lee Han thought deeply about recreating situations and people's stories that took place over 65 years ago and collected photographs and archival footages from the era, in addition to conducting interviews with survivors of the war and those who lived through the era. He was able to apply believable reality into the film with the collection of stories from the interviews. He also sought aide from production designer CHAE Kyung-sun ("Miss Granny", "Silenced", "Detective K") in order to come up with authentic location sets that range from battlefield to shantytown to refugee shelters. The production design team built a 1km2 military base and a 330m2 orphanage at a ranch near Gyeongju city, and recreated refugee shelter that mimicked Busan streets in Hapcheon location set. They also focused on making the battlefield look and feel as destructive and harrowing as possible, but once the story of children and their choir began, the atmosphere had to switch to more warm and amiable environment as possible, so the focal point of production design became nature and green, thereby creating a significant dichotomy between them. Similarly, handheld camera technique was used to shoot battle scenes to incorporate sense of chaos and mayhem, and smooth dolly shots were used in the drama scenes.
By utilizing these techniques, the filmmakers were able to create visuals that fit the mood of the story, and allow the audience members to be sucked into "A Melody to Remember"'s message.
CHARACTER & CAST
CAST Im Si-wan | From an idol to actor!
In the middle of battlefield, he chose a conductor's baton, 'Han Sang-ryul'
"This is my only warning, don't touch my children"
Korean War took Lt. Han Sang-ryul's family and comrades. He feels deep sorrow for not being able to protect those he loved and is hesitant about taking over the role of an orphanage choir conductor because he knows deep inside that they may be killed under his care. But once he listens to their singing, he realizes that music could be a profound method to treat children's pain.
"I loved his eyes. Even when he's completely still, he looks so virtuous,
an actor who looks like he only thinks about only rightwous things.
He worked sincerely for the film and as the shoot progress,
he transformed into his character more and more".
- Director Lee Han
Born on December 1, 1988, simply known by his stage name Siwan, is South Korean singer, and actor. He is a member of the boy band ZE:A - Children of Empire. As an actor, he is best known for starring in "The Attorney" (2013), in which he played a young student activist detained and tortured by the police on accusations of being a communist sympathizer. The film was a critical and commercial success, selling more than 11 million tickets to become the 8th highest grossing Korean film of all time. He then starred in cable series "Incomplete Life" (2014), which garnered massive ratings. As 'Han Sang-ryul' in "A Melody to Remember", Im Si-wan transformed into a soldier who wants to protect children of war. In order to prepare for his role, he shaped up for 5 months in addition to conducting training, and even though he has never played piano in his life, he learned to play Chopin's Nocturne No.4 In F Major, Op. 15 No.1 by himself. "Han Sang-ryul is a character who was hit the hardest by Korean War. He lost so much to it but he discovers consolation by conducting the choir. Compared to me, I thought he's a tremendously courageous person, and I chose to tackle this character because I wanted to become like him", explains actor Im Si-wan of his motivation to star in the film.
2014 "Incomplete Life" (TV), "Triangle - Drama" (TV)
2013 "The Attorney", "Misaeng" (TV), "Hope for Love" (TV)
2012 "Standby" (TV), "The Equator Man" (TV), "The Sun and the Moon" (TV)
2015 8th Korea Drama Awards - Special Judges' Award ("Incomplete Life")
2015 51st Baeksang Arts Awards - Best New Actor ("Incomplete Life")
2015 9th Cable TV Broadcast Awards – Best Actor ("Incomplete Life")
2014 MBC Drama Awards - New Actor Award ("Triangle - Drama")
2014 50th Paeksang Arts Awards – LF Fashionista Award
2014 35th Blue Dragon Awards – Popularity Award ("The Attorney")
2014 3rd Marie Claire Film Festival – Rookie Award ("The Attorney")
2014 51st Grand Bell Awards - Popularity Award ("The Attorney")
2012 MBC Drama Awards - New Sitcom Actor Award ("Standby")
CAST Go Ah-sung | The most representative actress of her generation!
A teacher who dove straight into war, 'Park Ju-mi'
"There's something I must do here".
Ju-mi is a volunteer teacher who looks after orphans at an orphanage. She's an elite who studied abroad and wanting to find something that she could do well, she became guardian of orphans during a time of war. She shows signs of longing when receiving letters from her parents, but she maintains positivity for the sake of her children. She assists Sang-ryul and manages the choir and finds happiness in seeing children when they rediscover laughs through their songs.
"Ju-mi is someone who'll refresh your mood even if she's standing still.
After filming "Thread of Lies", I found her freewheeling lifestyle very attractive
and I had her in mind when writing the character"
- Director Lee Han
Following her TV commercial debut at age 4, Go Ah-sung has been consistently active in TV and films. She was catapulted to stardom in 2006 when she starred in Bong Joon-ho's blockbuster hit "The Host". 2009 saw her take on a more difficult role as a handicapped orphan in Ounie Lecomte's critical darling "A Brand New Life". She reteamed with director BONG for the highly anticipated sci-fi blockbuster "Snowpiercer", in which she played the daughter of Song Kang-ho's character once again, and appeared alongside many A-list international stars. "As I was reading the script, I heard the songs in my head so clearly. I chose to star in this film because I had utmost trust in director Lee, and throughout the shoot, I found the film endlessly compelling", said KO.
2015 "Right Now, Wrong Then", "The Office", "Beauty Inside", "Heard It Through the Grapevine" (TV)
2013 "Thread of Lies", "Snowpiercer"
2010 "Master of Study" (TV)
2009 "A Brand New Life", "After the Banquet"
2008 "Radio Dayz"
2007 "The Happy Life"
2006 "The Host"
2005 Beating Heart (TV)
2015 FANCINE Fantastic Film Festival – Best Actress ("The Office")
2015 51st Paeksang Arts Awards – Best New Actress for TV ("Heard It Through the Grapevine")
2014 3rd Jeonju Film Festival – Rising Start Award
2006 9th Director's Cut Awards – This Year's Actress ("The Host")
2006 27th Blue Dragon Awards – Best New Actress ("The Host")
CAST Lee Hee-joon | Versatile actor you can't take your eyes off of!
A man who was changed by the war, 'Hook'
"I'm doing this to survive, how is that any different from man and child?"
Hook is a veteran of war who lost his hand in battle. He now lives in a shantytown while exploiting war orphans for his own benefit. He takes whatever the orphans manage to steal in town and even from the military base. When he learns about the choir, he makes it look like he's helping Lt. Han by providing the choir with children but he has other ulterior motives.
"He's an actor with tremendous focus.
You can't take your eyes off of his stare or not pay attention to his tone.
I had to work with him no matter what".
- Director Lee Han
Playing a sailor who is faithful to his instinct and desire, versatile actor Lee Hee-joon surprised Korean audiences in "Haemoo" and as a respectable young man in "Yuna's Street" on television. He's an actor who freely jumps between film and television. He plays a vicious war veteran who lives to exploit his surroundings in "A Melody to Remember". He is the main antagonist who threatens existence of the orphan choir.
2014 "Haemoo", "Yuna's Street" (TV)
2013 "Marriage Blue", "The Flu", "Dear Dolphin", "The Queen of Office" (TV)
2012 "Runway Cop", "Helpless", "My Husband Got a Family" (TV), "Wild Romance" (TV)
2011 "SIU", "Moby Dick", "Drama Special - Cupid Factory" (TV)
2010 "The Unjust"
2009 "The Pit and The Pendulum"
2013 49th Paeksang Arts Awards - Best New TV Drama Actor ("My Husband Got a Family")
2012 KBS Drama Awards - Newcomer Actor Award ("My Husband Got a Family")
2012 KBS Drama Awards - Best Couple Award ("My Husband Got a Family")
2012 5th Korea Drama Award - Special Judge Prize ("My Husband Got a Family")
2012 5th Korea Drama Awards - Excellence Actor Award ("My Husband Got a Family")
2011 KBS Drama Awards - Special Actor Award ("Drama Special - Cupid Factory")
CAST Jung Joon-won | 2016's best new discovery!
14-year old boy who loves his sister, 'Dong-gu'
"We're siblings. We'll always be together".
After losing his father, Dong-gu only has his little sister left in the world. He will never allow her to be in harm's way and he feels terrible for not being able to do more for her. As he joins the choir and starts singing, he finds inner strength that he did not know existed.
"His ability to deliver emotions is far beyond other child actors.
Although he was older than what I originally imagined for 'Dong-gu',
I adjusted the character's age after his audition to fit him".
- Director Lee Han
Child actor Jung Joon-won first reached spotlight as SON Hyeon-joo's innocent son in "Hide and Seek". He was convincing as a frightened child who had to escape from a demented woman. In "A Melody to Remember", he plays a pivotal character 'Dong-gu', who swore to protect his young sister's life at all cost. His courage comes from not just in front of her but from what he doesn't show, primarily how he does not show longing for his parents. His sorrow is embedded in his heart-felt songs.
2015 "The Piper"
2014 "Drama Special - Bomi's Room" (TV)
2013 "Hide and Seek", "Potato Star" (TV)
CAST Lee Re | One of the most promising child actors in Korean cinema!
Loyal to her brother, 9-year old 'Soon-yi'
"Brother, you just have to stay by my side"
When she's with her brother, Soon-yi fears nothing. She consoles the loss of her parents with her brother's songs. She stopped singing after her father's death, but she joined the choir with her brother. Fearing that her brother may also depart this world, just as her father did, she's afraid to open her lips and sing.
"Lee Re simply transforms into her character.
She not only focuses extremely well,
but she's born with the gift of expressing her emotions".
- Director Lee Han
Child actress Lee Re made her debut with "Hope" in 2013, which brought tears to numerous audience members all over Korea. Despite being only 7 years old at the time of filming, she expressed intricate range of emotions and received wide acclaim from critics all over the country. For her role, she received Best Supporting Actress Award at Beijing International Film Festival. She possesses level of concentration and expression uncommon in child actors. She then went onto headline "A Perfect Way to Steal a Dog" (2014), in which she and her friends devise a deviously adorable plan to steal a dog so that they could ransom it to buy a house.
2015 "Six Flying Dragons" (TV), "Super Daddy Yeol" (TV)
2014 "A Perfect Way to Steal a Dog"
2014 4th Beijing International Film Festival – Best Supporting Actress ("Hope")
DIRECTOR Lee Han
"With "A Melody to Remember", I want to bring out
some kind of emotion from the audience.
Whether it be change of heart towards their view on war,
or empathy towards the children in that situation,
or tears of sympathy.
I want this film to move people even just a little".
Born in 1970, director Lee Han graduated from Hanyang University majoring in film and theater. He worked as an assistant director for veteran director Bae Chang-ho's "Love Story" (1996) and "My Heart" (1999). Lee also wrote the screenplay for "Garden of Heaven" (2003, directed by Lee Dong-hyeon). Lee made his directorial debut with "Lover's Concerto" (2002), which he followed up with "Almost Love" (2006) and "My Love" (2007). Lee is a director who knows how to capture the affectionate and miraculous moments of love that bring people together. His career reached a new height 2011 when he released the comic drama "Punch". Starring Kim Yun-seok and Yoo Ah-in, "Punch" dealt with immigration and segregation within modern Korean society and sold over 5.3 million tickets in Korea. Lee returned to the screens with 2014's melodrama "Thread of Lies", featuring actress Go Ah-sung. "Wars are happening all over the world today and they will continue to exist in the future. There are kind souls who will attempt to stop the war and treat those who are affected by it. When the children begin singing, everyone can forget about the tragedy and just enjoy the song. I wanted to convey how the music caressed children's souls and their innocence on the screen", said director Lee.
2014 "Thread of Lies" (director, writer)
2011 "Punch" (director, writer)
2007 "My Love" (director, writer)
2006 "Almost Love" (director, writer)
2002 "Lover's Concerto" (director, writer)
2012 21st Buil Film Awards – Best Director ("Punch")
"We can safely say 'it's real'.
Since the children first gathered and practiced together for the first time,
the way they emote is different.
This film is also different from others
since it's about the songs sang by war-torn orphans,
and not about the war itself".
- Director Lee Han
"There has never been a choir scene that is
so deeply moving and realistic and pure".
- Composer Lee Jae-jin
"It's a film that heals wounds caused by war.
Even during shooting the film, it felt like we were being healed
whenever the choir began singing.
All crew members listened carefully
and felt a collective happiness at that moment".
- Costume Designer KWON Eugene –
"While filming, I imagined this was what war is like in real life
and worked off that.
This film attempts to show people's adamant will and how people do not lose
their innocence even in the worst of times".
- Actor Im Si-wan -
"We received positive vibe from 30 or so kids we filmed with.
I will never forget the time that I imagined those kids as real orphans during the time of war and was moved to tears by it".
- Actress Go Ah-sung -
Official English website : http://cj-entertainment.com/movies/160121-001/a-melody-to-remember