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April 30, 2018


MEMOIR OF A MURDERER Picks Up Prizes in Beaune and Brussels
Jury and Thriller Awards for Serial Killer Thriller in Continental Europe


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz




Korean serial killer thriller MEMOIR OF A MURDERER (2017) from director WON Shin-yun has become a festival hit in Europe, where it recently picked up prizes from two events in April. The film was awarded the Jury Prize at the 10th International Thriller Film Festival of Beaune, in France, as well as the Thriller Prize at the 36th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Meanwhile, LEE An-kyu’s crime drama A Special Lady (2017) received a special mention in the thriller competition at Brussels.


Starring SUL Kyung-gu (The Merciless, 2017) and based on a novel by acclaimed Korean author KIM Young-ha, ‘Memoirs of a Murderer’ focuses on an aging serial killer who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and attempts to save his daughter from another serial killer he detects in their midst. The film is the latest from The Suspect (2013) director WON Shin-yun and also stars KIM Nam-gil (Pandora, 2016).


WON’s film has also screened at several other events, including the BFI London Film Festival and the Frankfurt Korean Film Festival. Last year, SUL Kyung-gu earned the Best Actor Award for his part at the Director’s Cut Awards. 


Released in Korea on September 6, MEMOIR OF A MURDERER welcomed 2.66 million viewers during its domestic run in theaters. The film is represented internationally by Showbox.

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January 23, 2019


Korean Film Invited to Screen at Berlin Film Festival

Source: The Chosun Ilbo


Director Lee Su-jin's new film "Idol" has been invited to screen at the Berlin International Film Festival next month. The festival's executive committee unveiled the titles for the non-competitive Panorama section on Monday. 

The film stars top veteran actors Han Suk-kyu and Sol Kyung-gu as well as actress Chun Woo-hee.




Lee’s 2013 debut "Han Gong-ju," which made Chun a star, swept a host of film awards at home and abroad, including the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands, the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival in Spain and the Marrakech International Film Festival in Morocco.


Famed American director Martin Scorsese, who headed the Marrakech jury in 2013, said at the time, "'Han Gong-ju' is outstanding in mis-en-scene, image, sound, editing and performance. I have a lot to learn from this movie and I can't wait to see Lee Su-jin's next film."


This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Panorama section, whose lineup is carefully selected to give audiences a range of perspectives and social messages. Previous Korean films invited to this section include "The Unjust" (2011), "Ode to My Father" (2015) and "The Bacchus Lady" (2016).


"Idol" is about a provincial politician whose career is threatened when his son commits a crime, causing the victim's father to try to obtain something he cannot have, while the life of a woman who was with the victim at the time spirals out of control.


The film is slated for commercial release this year. 

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February 20, 2019


Ferry Disaster-Inspired Film Set for Release in April


Source: The Chosun Ilbo



A film inspired by the 2014 ferry disaster that took the lives of over 300 people is set to be released in April to coincide with its anniversary.


The film "Birthday," starring actor Sol Kyung-gu and Cannes award-winning actress Jeon Do-yeon, deals with the struggles faced by a couple who lose their son in a tragic accident.


The film has stirred much excitement ahead of its release, as it is themed after the worst tragedy in Korea's modern history.


Source: CINE21


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March 6, 2019


Stars of movie 'Birthday'


Stars of movie 'Birthday'

Seol Kyung-gu (L) and Jeon Do-yeon, stars of the new movie "Birthday," pose for photos as a press event in Seoul on March 6, 2019. The movie follows the story of a mother and father struggling with the memories of their dead son. (Yonhap)

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March 7, 2019


A somber birthday


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily




The stars of the upcoming movie “Birthday” meet with local press on Wednesday at Apgujeong CGV in southern Seoul, from left: actors Seol Kyung-gu, Jeon Do-yeon, Kim Bo-min and director Lee Jong-eon. The movie revolves around a couple who lost their child in the sinking of the Sewol Ferry in 2014 and must get through the birthday of their son without him. [YONHAP]

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March 28, 2019


Im Si-wan finishes military service


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily





Singer-turned-actor Im Si-wan was discharged from his 21-month mandatory military duties on Wednesday morning, and he is eager to return to the small screen.


The 30-year-old actor greeted his fans and the press in front of the Army’s 25th division training center in Yangju, Gyeonggi. According to Yonhap News, around 100 fans from around the world were on hand waiting for him.


“I still cannot believe [that I’m discharged],” Im said. “I will only believe it after I wake up late tomorrow without having to hear an alarm.”


He added, “My friends, fellow soldiers and my officer were all a great support during my enlistment. I’m also thankful to my fans who waited for me. I’ve also met a lot with my senior colleague, Seol Kyung-gu, while I was out for break, and I received a lot of good comments and help.”


When asked about his most memorable experience while in the military, Im said that it was when he made bungeo-ppang (fish-shaped bread stuffed with red bean) and shared it with his fellow soldiers. 


Im, who debuted as a member of the boy band ZE:A in 2010, became famous for his acting roles in such hit TV shows as MBC’s “Triangle” (2014) and tvN’s “Misaeng” (2014). 


Im is set to return to the small screen in OCN’s upcoming thriller “Strangers from Hell” (translated) which is an adaptation of a web comic series that goes by the same title. 


The series tells the story of Jong-u (Im), who meets strange people and faces mysterious circumstances after he moves into a small dormitory to concentrate on his studies.


By Yeo Ye-rim

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Source: Jason Bechervaise


I saw the Sewol drama BIRTHDAY earlier this week, and it left me in tears. It’s sensitively staged beginning quite subtly before becoming more intense as the narrative progresses. Jeon Do-yeon and Sol Kyung-gu are fantastic. Haven’t stopped thinking about it since.


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April 9, 2019


Sewol-Themed BIRTHDAY Selected as Udine Far East Film Festival Opener
JEON Do-yeon and SUL Kyung-gu Drama Goes to Italy


by Pierce Conran KOFIC




The new drama Birthday, featuring veteran stars JEON Do-yeon and SUL Kyung-gu, has been selected as the opening film of this year’s 21st Far East Film Festival (FEFF), which will take place from April 26 to May 4 in Udine, Italy. From debut director LEE Jong-un, the Sewol Ferry-themed drama is produced by acclaimed filmmaker LEE Chang-dong.


JEON and SUL play parents who try to keep their family together after one of their children is involved in the Sewol Ferry tragedy, an incident that claimed the lives of over 300 passengers on April 16, 2014. Almost five years after the events, Birthday debuted in Korea on April 3 to a strong critical reception and will have its international premiere in Udine on April 26.


One of Korea’s most respected performers, JEON is known for her many leading roles, which include LEE Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine, for which she earned the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. SUL is also known for his works with Director LEE, which include A Peppermint Candy (2000) and Oasis (2002).


Director LEE Jong-un previously served as an assistant director on LEE Chang-dong’s Poetry (2010). As a producer, LEE Chang-dong has also made films such as A Brand New Life (2009) and A Girl at My Door (2014). His most recent work as a director was last year’s acclaimed BURNING (2018).


Speaking of the film, FEFF president Sabrina BARACETTI explained, “In order to recount the dynamics of a family that lost its eldest son on the Sewol, LEE Jong-un constructs an uncompromising narrative: suffering speaks the language of petit-bourgeois everyday life, of normality without normality, and has no room for facile cinematographic manipulation.”

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April 15, 2019


Film about Sewol ferry disaster wins box office ahead of major anniversary


By Kim Boram


SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- A Korean film about the tragic Sewol ferry sinking rose to the top spot of the weekend box office with the approach of the disaster's fifth anniversary, data showed Monday.


"Birthday" sold 231,089 tickets from Friday to Sunday for a cumulative total of 761,807, according to the data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).


Directed by Lee Jong-eon, the film starring Seol Kyung-gu and Jeon Do-yeon climbed a spot to top the chart in its second weekend, while the previous No. 1, "Shazam!" was pushed down to fifth.


The drama revolves around a family coping with the loss of their son in the ferry accident.


The Sewol ferry sank in waters off the southern coast on April 16 in 2014, killing 304 of the 476 passengers, most of whom were high school students on a school trip. It was one of South Korea's worst maritime disasters.


Superhero film of "Hellboy" finished second with an additional 155,584 tickets sold during the three-day period, with a total of 220,245 moviegoers on its first week at the box office.


South Korean movies "Another Child" and "Money" came in third and fourth, garnering a fresh 113,981 and 93,466 views, respectively, over the weekend.


The image provided by distributer Next Entertainment World shows a poster for Korean movie "Birthday" directed by Lee Jong-eon. (Yonhap)

The image provided by distributer Next Entertainment World shows a poster for Korean movie "Birthday" directed by Lee Jong-eon. (Yonhap)



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April 16, 2019


‘Birthday’ wins weekend ahead of anniversary: Film about a family that lost a son in Sewol tragedy tops box office


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily


Ahead of the five-year anniversary of the Sewol ferry tragedy, “Birthday,” which tells the story of a family that lost their son in the incident, topped the weekend box office. [NEXT ENTERTAINMENT WORLD]


Today marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Sewol ferry. As if to commemorate the coming day, the top spot at the box office this weekend was taken by “Birthday.” 


From Friday to Sunday, “Birthday” sold 231,000 tickets at 865 screens, pushing the film to the No. 1 rank from last week’s second place. According to the Korean Film Council, the film made up 21.9 percent of the weekend’s ticket sales. 


“Birthday” takes place after the accident, and tells the story of a family trying to cope with losing their loved one. Although he is no longer around, his parents, played by actors Seol Kyung-gu and Jeon Do-yeon, decide to celebrate their son’s birthday with his friends to share their memories of him. 



“Hellboy,” the third reboot of the character from Dark Horse Comics, fared nicely in its first week, selling 156,000 tickets at 726 screens. The film’s director, Neil Marshall, was behind “The Descent” in 2005, and more recently, two episodes of popular U.S. TV series “Game of Thrones” in 2012 and 2014. 


Unlike the two previous iterations of “Hellboy,” this version is R-rated and doesn’t hesitate to include grim, gory and violent scenes.


Actor-turned-director Kim Yun-suk’s debut film “Another Child” managed to finish the weekend in the top three after its April 11 release. The film sold 114,000 tickets while playing at 673 screens. The film tells the story of how two families become interconnected when two adults become involved in an affair. 


As the title suggests, the film humorously portrays adults childishly while their children end up being more mature than their parents. Although the situation is not a happy one, audiences seem to appreciate the director’s portrayal of the frailty and hypocrisy of adults from the children’s perspective. 


Due to competition from new releases, “Money,” which was in the top three for three successive weeks, slid to fourth. 


Superhero flick “Shazam!” had the steepest fall of the weekend, dropping from the top of last week’s box office all the way down to fifth. 


To commemorate the anniversary of the Sewol incident, KBS1 radio (97.3 FM) will air a special documentary “Fifth Spring, First School Trip” (translated) at 11:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. today. The documentary follows a survivor of the tragedy as they venture to Jeju Island to complete the school trip that she was not able to go on with her friends five years ago. The documentary is narrated by singer Yozoh, who is also holding a photo exhibition in Jeju for the anniversary. The broadcast will also be available through the KBS application “KONG,” or “myK.”


BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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May 21, 2019


CJ Entertainment targets European film market with English remake version of film 'The Merciless'

Source: AJU Business Daily



[Courtesy of CJ Entertainment]


SEOUL -- CJ Entertainment, The entertainment wing of South Korea's CJ Group, will collaborate with a Swiss production company to create an English remake version of South Korean film "The Merciless".


"The European filmmaker felt attracted toward the strong storyline of 'The Merciless'," CJ Entertainment said in a statement on Monday, adding the South Korean entertainment giant will collaborate with Swiss filmmaker Pathe Films to create an English remake of the 2017 film to target the American and European markets simultaneously.


"The Merciless", a crime-action film starring veteran actor Sol Kyung-gu and popular singer-actor Im Siwan, depicts a story about loyalty and betrayal between an inmate leader and an undercover cop. "The Merciless" was released in South Korea in May 2017 and failed to garner one million viewers before the film came off the silver screens.

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