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September 27, 2017


Moon So-ri steps behind the lens :

‘The Running Actress,’ her latest film, features three short works


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily



Actress and director Moon So-ri and director Yim Soon-rye pose for a photo together while interviewing with the JoongAng Ilbo. [JOONGANG ILBO]


Moon So-ri’s latest work, “The Running Actress,” offers a special treat for fans of the actress - the chance to experience her behind-the-camera skills as a director. 


Released on Sept. 14, “The Running Actress” is a collection of three short movies Moon made while majoring in film production during graduate school. Viewers will be able to glimpse Moon’s life as a long-running actress and her roles as a wife, mother and daughter-in-law.


The JoongAng Ilbo had the chance to meet Moon and Yim Soon-rye, the director of “Forever the Moment”(2007) and the upcoming “Little Forest,” both of which star Moon. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.


Top: Moon works behind the camera as the director of “The Running Actress.” Bottom: In a scene from “The Running Actress,” Moon signs her credit loan contract. [JOONGANG ILBO]


Q. Has Yim Soon-rye played an important role in your debut as a director?


A. Moon: I told Yim I was attending graduate school during dinner at a film festival in April 2013. I was debating my major, so I said to Yim, “I think film theory would be too hard, and I don’t want to major in acting or film production, so I’ll probably go for policy research.”


Yim: I remember. Didn’t I say, “Don’t you think policy research would be too boring for you?” I recommended film production, but I could see that Moon was hesitating. 


She has seen directors up close, and it seemed that she knew how difficult film production could be. So I tried to persuade her by saying, “Standing behind the camera is another experience that could also affect your acting. Also, you would only make short films about your surrounding life in the graduate school’s curriculum.” 


Moon: Yes. Yim asked me why I wanted to go to graduate school and I told her that I’ve never studied films properly, so I really want to do it. And she replied, “Film production would be the most interesting part in film studies.” 


Yim: I thought she would excel in film production.


Moon: You told me before that you wished you had an assistant director just like me.


Yim: If an actor or an actress has to focus on his or her emotions during the scene, the director has to see everything from a bird’s-eye view and make objective decisions. I’m not lowering the value of acting, but the two subjects require different things. I saw in Moon that she had a knack for it. 


Did you plan on making an anthology film from the start?


Moon: No. I felt that I was only scratching the surface of film production when I was done with making the first movie. I wanted to push myself further. I guess I wasn’t fully satisfied with only making one movie.


Yim: Are the movies connected in the order that they were made?


Moon: Yes. The first film, “The Actress,” is about circumstances that every actress may have faced in their career. The second film, “The Running Actress,” looks more closely at the life of “Actress Moon So-ri” [examining her own life from an outside perspective]. When I finished making the second one, I felt that my life was a series of periods I spent bonding with people I’ve met through movies. With that thought in mind, I made the third movie about the funeral of a fellow director, “The Best Director.”


Yim: I saw this movie first at the SEOUL International Women’s Film Festival. My first impression of it was that Moon showed the audience the world of the movie industry that she experienced as an actress. The most essential part is to objectify oneself, and I think she accomplished that. Plus the humor. She makes fun of not only herself, but also her mother.


I also liked the part in the second film when the mother asked Moon to take a picture together with the dentist to get a discount. It brought out the ubiquitous side that all of us possess: the materialistic side. Wasn’t it hard?


Moon: It was really tough to balance between reality and fiction. It’s not just about passing on truth, but also considering the audience’s feelings since it’s based on experience, too. It was like a mobile. If I tried to pull to one side the other side was off balance. I tried not to fall into self-pity by trying to look at each scene from various sides. 


Yim: As a director, I noticed the acting of a non-professional actor and a child actor. I was especially impressed with the acting of the young actor. Do you have any special guidance for acting?


Moon: Since I’m an actress myself, I know what kind of acting an actor or actress would be good at and when he or she feels uncomfortable. 


Being an actor doesn’t mean you are good at all areas of acting. I tried to guide each actor’s strong points in the direction that I wanted. I explained as much as I could about my intentions and did lots of rehearsals. I shot the scene in which the child was whining about not wanting to go to kindergarten in the early morning, actually waking the sleeping child. It was because it had rained before, so the shooting schedule was all messed up. So the child was actually very sleepy and grouchy. I felt like I was going to get somewhat punished for this.



As a senior director, can you appraise the movie objectively?


Moon: Isn’t it too cruel to do that in front of me? 


Yim: The biggest advantage of her movie is that she wasn’t greedy. I could see that she didn’t have an attitude like, “I’m going to devote all my energies to show everyone my capability as a director,” in the movie. 


I saw the film and it gave the audience something to think about, like the stereotypes that actresses face. However, there was an impression that the three films lacked consistency since they were made in different periods. Another advantage I pick is, of course, the humor in it.


Moon: I can joke and make people laugh as much as Yim does off-stage. I think that humor in life is as important as life philosophy, and I believe I cannot live without humor. So I couldn’t give that up in production.


Yim: The part where her friend said, “Moon, you are the Meryl Streep of Korea,” was funny.


The scene when Moon grumbled to her manager when he passed on the long-awaited script late to her made me laugh, too. 


Moon: The funniest scene for me was when Moon was talking to her mother on the phone. After she took a picture with the dentist, she asks her mom, “Dad, too? Why are everyone’s teeth so awful?” However, the audience didn’t laugh as much because they thought the parents had aged so much by raising me.


The audience may wonder how much of the movie is true. Can you clarify that?


Moon: I just want to clarify that it’s much closer to fiction than the director Hong Sang-soo’s film. My memories do not depict objective reality, but I restructured them to make the film. So now even I’m not sure the extent to which the film is reality. 


So one time, I asked my husband, “Have I ever spoken like I did in the movie?” and he answered, “No.” I mulled that over for a while, and I realized I wrote the lines I wanted to say in real situations. So the movie was born through memory, hope and imagination. 


Yim: Unless it’s director Hong, it’s hard to make your own story into a movie. From the perspective of an audience anticipating Moon’s film, I want to see a film that commands natural, everyday use of language and intonation. 


Moon: After I started film production I never gave much thought to “I’m going to take my work to the film festival. Film production is now my number two goal in life.” 


Yim: She always said as a joke, “I’m never going to involve myself in film production,” or “One director per family is enough.” But she doesn’t have to think that way. In Hollywood, the actors and actresses make or produce work that fits their tastes. 


I like to see those kinds of active participation. Moon definitely has production capabilities that other directors don’t have. If she can expand to other areas of film as a director, it will also have positive effects in the Korean movie industry.


Moon: Since I’ve been in this part of the industry for so long, there’s no reason for me to reject film production, acting or anything related to movies as long as I can work and have fun with my fellow coworkers. 


I’m not the type of person who will always eat brunches and go shopping. It’s now a habit of mine to discuss movies with friends. The advent for premiere of this movie was also suggested by a friend who works in the film distribution, to ask for the support of the Korean Film Council as a low-budget film release. 


I formed a team for the premiere, had meetings about poster ideas, shared ideas, talked, laughed, produced results and had a drink as a way of celebration. That’s how I live with movies.


Yim: I personally think that director Moon is much more relaxed than other directors. If she fails as a director, she can always come back as an actress. Who knows, her daughter may grow up to be a fabulous actress someday. She has nothing to lose. I hope that she can continue with production freely without feeling pressure. If she can work with that kind of attitude, the audience will be able to feel that, so it will be more enjoyable and unique than other films. 


It may seem as if the changing movie industry, which has become centered on genre films such as thrillers, is what made actress Moon make her own movies. Yim may also not be free from this problem. Is this true?


Moon: I don’t believe my appearance in movies lessened only because of that reason. My acting may not fit the trend, or my charm as an actress may be less than it was. Whatever the reasons are, I cannot just sit here and complain about it. Also, I’m just not that kind of person. I thought a lot about how I can love movies more, or how I can fix problems beforehand. When I look back, I think several situations overlapped for me to go into film production.


Yim: In my case, my early works, such as “Waikiki Brothers” (2001), weren’t a hit, so I didn’t get to meet lots of viewers. I considered what I could do to continue making films. The majority of female directors, including myself, tend to prefer films that concentrate on individuals’ deepest thoughts and minds instead of provoking genres. However, those kinds of works have difficulty receiving investment in the current film market. 


Moon: I agree with Yim. I realized something from following several directors’ footsteps. The majority of male directors seem to go in the direction of expanding the size of their work. 


For instance, if they made a 5 million won [$4,419] budget movie, next time they move on to a 10 million won budget, and then they go abroad for investment. On the other hand, female directors muse over topics or genres that capture their interests rather than focusing on making money, even if they received good results from their earlier works.


So I believe the increase in the number of female directors directly influences Korean movies’ diversity. Now that I think of it, Yim’s “Little Forest” isn’t about making money but about the beauty of Mother Nature.


Yim: It fits my taste. As for what Moon said about female director’s characteristic, that holds true for not only Korea, but the United States, Japan and European countries. In Korea, I think the problem is the atmosphere of the movie market’s production, investment and distribution, which put less weight in the diversity of genres. The supplementary measures in the market for minority audiences to watch the movies they want are strikingly poorer than those of foreign markets. In such circumstances, the place in which female directors can stand is getting smaller. This also goes for male directors who want to make a drama that depicts delicate emotions.


Moon: Nowadays, I frequently contemplate over how to resolve the gender equality issues in the current film industry. One day, it suddenly came to me, “Finally, I’ve become a feminist.” I believe in the kind of feminism that will have a positive influence on my life and films. 


What’s painfully crystal clear is that if we only rage over the injustice women are facing today, we would only feel more wretched and lose the power to change reality. 


To limit the discussion to the film market, I sincerely wish for the increase of females, especially the number of female directors. It’s now time to think deeply about changes and what kind of improvements we can make. 




BY KIM NA-HYUN [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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September 27, 2017


Veteran actresses struggle to land on roles



Actress Moon So-ri, right, is seen in her film "The Running Actress" / Korea Times file


By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times


Veteran actresses in their late 30s and 40s struggle to find characters that suit their experience and abilities. 


The film and TV industries complain of a shortage of young actresses in their 20s, while older and more experienced actresses say their chances of appearing on screens are getting smaller because many TV dramas and movies shun them. 


Actresses in their 40s are as gorgeous as younger actresses and are eager to devote themselves to acting. Yet those veteran actresses have a hard time finding decent roles befitting their names. It is in stark contrast to actors in a similar age group who are bagging diverse roles and building their careers. 


Although some dramas such as "Good Wife" needed actresses in their 40s, and "Woman of Dignity" cast two lead actresses Kim Sun-a, 43, and Kim Hee-sun, 41, who stole the show, it is rare for veteran actresses to find such projects. 


Choi Kang-hee, 40, after finishing her latest project "Queen of Mystery," said in an interview that she was in a bad slump and recovered by landing the title role in the drama. 


"I saw the range of characters I can play is drastically reduced," she said. "I felt that that I couldn't be in romantic comedies forever with younger male partners. But at the same time, I was not suited to feature, say, as a married woman with kids." 


An official of a local entertainment agency said: "It is true that film distributors prefer projects where actors take leading roles. Although those A-list veteran actresses receive diverse offers, it is another matter whether those projects can actually receive investment and secure screening. 


"Although actresses of that age group have a higher desire to be challenged by diverse roles and expand their acting spectrum, it is hard to find such projects. Instead of considering if it is a leading role or supporting role, it would be better for them to find scene-stealing roles that can make them outshine the lead actors." 


Kim Hye-soo left a strong impression in "Signal," even though her part was small, and Bae Doo-na, co-star of "Stranger," is known to choose films that are good rather than for how big the potential role is. 


Some actresses become directors and create the characters they want to play. Veteran actress Moon so-ri, 43, recently made her directorial debut with her new film "The Running Actress. " The semi-autobiopic comedy features her as the main character, showing her struggling with her career, family life and public perception. In the film, Moon plays a middle-aged actress who has a hard time landing roles she wants but receives offers to play other parts such as a single mom butcher with a grown-up child. 



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September 28, 2017


Song Gang Ho-Gang Dong Won Join ‘The Running Actress’ ...Invite Audiences in Busan and Gwangju


Source: BNTNews



[by Ent Team] A special invite event to support ‘The Running Actress’ has been prepared. 


The film full of actress Moon Sori’s self-rehabilitation live story, ‘The Running Actress (Director Moon Sori) has reached 10,000 audiences in 2 weeks by word of mouth and various CGV even though it was released at small-scale theaters on September 14th. 


In addition, on the 26th, actors Choi Minsik, Sol Kyunggu and Park Haeil became a topic of discussion as they arranged a special invite event in order to support ‘The Running Actress’. Today (28th), actors Song Gangho and Gang Dongwon also continued the relay of support for ‘The Running Actress’. 


‘The Running Actress’ is in the spotlight from receiving high praise from critics, the media, and audiences but the reality that there aren’t many screenings has caused seniors and juniors in the film industry to support the film. Starting with actor Choi Min Sik, Sol Kyung Gu, Park Haeil, Song Gangho, Gang Dongwon, these 5 actors that are outstanding just from hearing their names, supported the film and helped achieve the spectator numbers from 10,000 to 20,000. 


In addition the 2nd part of the free viewing comment event of ‘The Running Actress’ at CGV Arthouse provided by actors Choi Minsik, Sol Kyung Gu, Park Haeil, Song Gangho, and Kang Dongwon starts from today until the 29th and can be checked out through CGV Arthouse’s homepage. 


The day of free viewing is October 2nd, located in Busan and Gwangju. Song Gangho is inviting audiences to CGV Seomyun, Gang Dongwon is inviting audiences to CGV Gwangju Terminal for 100 people each. 


The event starts today on CGV’s Arthouse homepage. All you have to do is fill in the theater you want to go to along with the following “____ is___ today also” in the comment. A maximum of two tickets per person will be given to chosen people who write excellent comments and the winners will be announced on CGV Arthouse’s homepage on September 29th. 


Meanwhile, ‘The Running Actress’ that has surpassed 10,000 audiences in 2 weeks and is receiving warm support from the film industry now showing great acclamation. (photo by Showbox, YG Entertainment) 

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October 6, 2017


2017 Busan Festival reveals international guest list

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- Dozens of Korean and foreign movie stars and directors will be out when the Busan International Film Festival kicks off its 22nd edition in the southern port city of Busan on Oct. 12.


Festival organizers recently revealed a list of the South Korean and foreign film industry figures who are expected to attend the festival, including actors Jang Dong-gun and Moon Geun-young as well as directors Oliver Stone, Darren Aronofsky, John Woo and Hirokazu Kore-eda.



This file photo shows South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun. (Yonhap)



Among local actors, Jang of "V.I.P." and Lee Je-hoon of comedy-drama "I Can Speak" confirmed their plans to visit Busan for the fest. Both will attend the Open Talk event hosted by the Korea Film Reporters Association at the Haeundae BIFF Village outdoor stage on Oct. 13 and 14. Jang also will co-host the opening ceremony of the festival with actress Kim Ha-neul on Oct. 12.


Moon So-ri, who recently made her directorial debut with the comedy-drama based on her own life story titled "The Running Actress," will also be on the Open Talk stage with Japanese actress Nakayama Miho from Iwai Shunji's seminal "Love Letter" on Oct. 13.


The same program will feature the main cast members -- Moon Geun-young, Kim Tae-hoon, Seo Tae-hwa and Im Chung-woon -- of the 22nd BIFF opener "Glass Garden" with its director Shin Su-won on Sunday.



This file photo shows South Korean actor Lee Je-hoon. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows South Korean actor Lee Je-hoon. (Yonhap)



The casts of forthcoming Korean films "RV: Resurrected Victims," "Man of Will" and "The Fortress" are scheduled to meet fans on the seaside stage. They may include A-listers like Kim Rae-won of "RV: Resurrected Victims," Lee Byung-hun of "The Fortress" and Song Seung-heon of "Man of Will".


Oliver Stone, who gained global fame for his film "Platoon" (1986) and "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989), was invited as the head juror of this year's New Currents Award.


Darren Aronovsky, director of the Hollywood mystery thriller "Mother!," will also be coming to Busan. This would be the first formal Korea visit by the director best known for "Black Swan" (2010).


John Woo, known as the godfather of Hong Kong action movies, will make his first-ever visit to the Busan film festival with his latest action noir "Manhunt." Woo, who rose to international fame for "A Better Tomorrow" (1986) and "The Killer" (1989), has returned to the typical crime action noir after more than two decades.


Many prominent Asian directors who have frequented the festival will also come to Busan for this year's event. They include Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda, Naomi Kawase and Kiyoshi Kurosawa.


Kore-eda will attend the screening of "The Third Murder," a courtroom drama, in the Gala Presentation section while Kawase will return with "Radiance," invited to the "A Window on Asian Cinema" section.


In the same category, Kurosawa will present "Before We Banish," a sci-fi drama premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at this year's Cannes Film Festival.



This file photo shows Japanese actress Aoi Yu. (Yonhap)

This file photo shows Japanese actress Aoi Yu. (Yonhap)




Japanese actress Aoi Yu and actor Eita will promote their latest films "Birds without Names" and "The Ringside Story," both invited to the same section.


Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke will return to the festival with "Where Has Time Gone?" invited to the Wide Angle section. It was co-directed by five filmmakers representing Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa.


Popular Chinese actor Luo Jin, who has 15 million followers on Chinese social media service Weibo, will attend the screening of his latest film "Ash."


Also among other prominent figures who will shine at the 22nd BIFF are Thai director Nonzee Nimibutr, French actor Jean-Pierre Leaud who received the honorary Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and Singaporean director Boo Junfeng.


Director Sho Tsukikawa of the Japanese box office sensation "Let Me Eat Your Pancreas" and its lead actress Minami Hamabe recently confirmed they will both be in Busan as well.


Based on the best-selling novel by the same name, the movie is a teen romance drama about a high school loner who happens to find a diary by his classmate that reveals she is suffering from a pancreatic disease and shares the secret with her.

The 22nd BIFF runs from Oct. 12 to 21.



Above is a promotional poster for the Japanese film "Let Me Eat Your Pancreas." (Yonhap)

Above is a promotional poster for the Japanese film "Let Me Eat Your Pancreas." (Yonhap)




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October 14, 2017

[HanCinema On Site] Beautiful actress Moon So-ri's "Open Talk" with Japanese actress Miho Nakayama


Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy' via HanCinema.net




Moon So-ri is a multi-talented woman who has most recently gained attention for the film she directed and starred in "The Running Actress". On Friday, October 13, a day made luckier by her appeareance, the director, actress, professor, and scriptwriter was joined by equally affluent Japanese actress Miho Nakayama.


The beautiful, breezy day at the outdoor stage of the Haeundae BIFF Village saw a crowd of spectators and journalists who had gathered to watch the Open Talk between the actresses. The feeling between them was one of respect and enjoyment. It was obvious that they enjoyed the conversation and sharing it with their audience. The translator contributed naturally to the talk with her relaxed translations and keen, funny commentary. Together, the host, two actresses, and translator had a jolly good time talking about the acting life.





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November 28, 2017


Max Movie - My Daily Survey | 

Kim Hye Soo tops movie ticket power for 2 consecutive years


Source: Max Movie




Max Movie - My Daily has conducted a survey from November 3 till November 20 which revealed the list of the best female movie actresses with the highest ticket power in Korea.


The ranking as follows:


1. Kim Hye Soo

2. Son Ye Jin

3. Moon So Ri 

4. Jeon Do Yeon

5. Chun Woo Hee

6. Ra Mi Ran

7. Gong Hyo Jin

8. Kim Tae Ri

9. Jeon Ji Hyun

10. Han Hyo Joo



^ Details of participants taking part in the survey conducted.

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December 26, 2017


Best Korean movies of 2017


By Rumy Doo The Korea Herald

Another year has come to a wrap up the Korean film industry. 


Genres continue to be limited to political thrillers and crime flicks, and the scarcity of female roles persists. Despite the relative lack of diversity, however, 2017 turned out to be a year that offered several pleasant, unexpected surprises for moviegoers. Quieter, more pensive films excelled this year, offering insight into humanity and the everyday. 


Adventure, fantasy 
Directed by Bong Joon-ho 
Distributed by Netflix, Next Entertainment World


“Okja” is a film full of heart, an optimistic story that also peers into some of the most twisted aspects of a social order mankind has created for themselves. 


Vegetarians and environmentalists hailed the film as an effective campaign tool against the mass-production of meat, and though it makes an excellent case, the film is much more than an advocate for green eating. It speaks of universal issues such as the need for empathy, the inevitable pang of growing up and facing a vicious world, the inhumane order of capitalism and the terrible consequences that one person’s envy can cause. 


At once a coming-of-age tale, satire and good old-fashioned adventure ride, led by the indefatigable young heroine Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), “Okja” once again proves director Bong’s unique sensitivity and intellect. It includes picturesque Korean landscapes, large-scale yet detailed chase scenes, a richly layered story and an equally diverse cast. 


The Fortress
Historical drama
Directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk 
Distributed by CJ Entertainment 


In Korea, dozens of period pieces are made every year for both film and television, but “The Fortress” is that rare example of a historical drama that appreciates history in all its complexity. 


It also invites viewers to ponder philosophical issues through characters who seem to adhere to a higher moral standard than the modern bureaucrat. 


The year is 1636. The location, Namhansanseong, a mountain fortress southeast of Seoul. Joseon’s King Injo (Park Hae-il), his advisers and people are trapped within its walls in the freezing winter, unable to escape from or fight against a Chinese invasion. 


At the center of the film lies the ideological struggle that ensues as the king’s two highest advisors -- Choi Myung-gil (Lee Byung-hun) and Kim Sang-hun (Kim Yoon-seok) -- fiercely debate on the course of action to take. Choi opts to surrender, arguing that life and survival precede lofty ideals, while Kim, staunchly believing that the only meaningful life is one with honor and dignity, argues Joseon should fight even if it means death. 


The film’s debate mirrors the philosophical tension that was pervasive throughout the Joseon era; some scholars today argue that it was Joseon’s excessive emphasis on form and formality that led to its demise. In the film, both arguments, meanwhile, pale when compared to the brutal reality of people dying from frostbite and starvation.  


The Running Actress
Drama, comedy
Directed by Moon So-ri 
Distributed by Metaplay


Humorous, intelligent and reflective, this is a gem of a film and the directorial feature debut of acclaimed actress Moon So-ri, known for films such as “Oasis.” Moon, who penned, directed and starred in the film, tells a semi-autobiographical three-part story about the daily life of an actress, which usually begins and ends in a breakdown in her van. 


Moon struggles with the gap between the cachet people place on actresses -- “You must not eat (cheap) food like this!” -- and the painfully menial, often demeaning, details of her actual daily routine. With a livelihood that relies so heavily on “personal charm” and “beauty,” the actress perennially wavers between confidence in her skills, the courage to ask for better roles and intense insecurity. The film ends with a stirring contemplation on art and life. 


The First Lap
Directed by Kim Dae-hwan 
Distributed by Indieplug 


With his sophomore feature, Kim Dae-hwan proves once again that he has a keen eye for capturing the real Korean family. His debut work “End of Winter” observed how deep-seated resentments begin manifesting themselves after a family is snowed in in their hometown. 


“The First Lap” focuses on a young couple as they attempt to navigate adult life, meet each other’s families and evade, for as long as possible, that daunting institution of marriage for fear of turning out like their respective parents. In two achingly naturalistic performances that were in large part adlibbed, according to director Kim, Jo Hyun-chul and Kim Sae-byuk bring to life a thoroughly average millennial Korean couple and all their blunders. 


The Merciless
Crime, action
Directed by Byun Sung-hyun
Distributed by CJ Entertainment 


Director Byun made an explosive debut with the stylish noir “The Merciless,” which was invited to Cannes Film Festival’s midnight screenings in May. 


The value of this film lies in its style -- its bold, vintage colors, the meticulous arrangement of the buildings and people -- and how it follows the emotions of its two lead characters, the seemingly hardened gangster Han Jae-ho (Sol Kyung-gu) and reckless young delinquent Jo Hyun-soo (Im Si-wan). Their relationship evolves to become deeper than a bromance and more calculated than a romance.  


The film’s box office numbers, meanwhile, received a blow due to public outrage at director Byun’s sexual tweets about his actors, for which the director subsequently apologized. 

Distinctly ‘Korean’ films that soothed the souls of Koreans

"A Taxi Driver" (Showbox)


“A Taxi Driver,” directed by Jang Hoon, became the 11th most-viewed Korean film of all time. Through the movie, we see that through the efforts of one taxi driver -- played by the always enjoyable Song Kang-ho -- and a relentless German journalist, Korea’s May 18 Democratic Uprising, where hundreds were killed while protesting the military government, became known to the world.

"I Can Speak" (Lotte Entertainment)


“I Can Speak,” directed by Kim Hyeon-suk, also deals with Korea’s lingering pain from history. The elderly Na Ok-boon (Na Moon-hee) is a neighborhood busybody who pesters civil servant Park Min-jae (Lee Je-hoon) for English lessons. It turns out that Na was forced into military sexual slavery in her youth by the Japanese. By learning English, she exposes Japan’s crimes on the international stage. 


Spectacular computer graphics 

"The Battleship Island" (CJ Entertainment)


Ryoo Seung-wan’s “The Battleship Island” recreated almost in its entirety Japan’s Hashima Island, where Korean people were forced into slave labor by the Japanese, both using a set and through computer graphics. The film shows large-scale explosions in the narrow underground coal mines, Korean laborers’ decrepit living conditions and a rebellion that breaks out among the workers. 

"Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds" (Lotte Entertainment)


Kim Yong-hwa’s “Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds” offered another example of sheer scale and spectacle. It created a vast fantasy world of the afterlife, from the burning hell of lava to sprawling deserts and towering waterfalls. The graphics were undertaken by Kim’s Dexter Studios, one of Asia’s leading motion picture production studios.    


Daring films that attempted to transcend genre 

"Real" (CJ Entertainment)


Director Lee Sa-rang’s “Real,” starring Kim Soo-hyun, caused a small sensation when it was released in June. With blaring electronic visuals (so much red lighting), a plot that attempted to intertwine the present, the past, the psyche, and reality, and explicit sex scenes, the film was incomprehensible and utterly new -- though perhaps not in the best way. It is worth noting for its courage to break all rules.

"Glass Garden" (Little Big Pictures)


Shin Su-won’s “Glass Garden” features a scientist (Moon Geun-young) who isolates herself in the forest to research blood. She discovers a way to create “green blood” by infusing blood with chloroplasts, and dreams of one day turning into a tree. The novelty of the premise led the film to open this year’s Busan International Film Festival.   


By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com) 

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March 13, 2018


62% of actresses, female film workers sexually harassed: survey 

By Cho Se-yong, Park Si-soo The Korea Times


Six out of 10 actresses and other women working in the film industry have fallen victim to sexual harassment by their male colleagues, a survey showed, fueling the #MeToo campaign that is shaking Korean society to its core. 


The Korean Film Council and the Women in Film Korea revealed this based on a survey of 749 workers, including actresses, female writers and film crew members. The figure compared with 17.2 percent of male respondents who claimed to have been sexually harassed. 


"We were all bystanders," actress Moon So-ri lamented, announcing the results at a conference on women's human rights in the film industry at the Korea Press Center on Monday. "This (survey) shows how rampant sexual violence against women is (in the film industry) and we have done nothing to fix the problem." 


Moon attended the forum as a guest speaker.


"All workers in the film industry must accept that they were victims, perpetrators, or bystanders of sexual harassment," she said, calling on victims to come forward and speak out to make the industry free from sexual violence. 


Shim Jae-myung, CEO of filmmaker Myung Film, echoed her view, saying Korea's film community is "more hierarchical than Hollywood. And this is why the victims have had a harder time revealing their problems." 

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April 9, 2018


Wildflower Film Awards Announces Nominations for 5th Anniversary
JANE Leads Korean Indie Films with 7 Nods


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz




The Wildflower Film Awards Korea will return for their 5th edition on April 12. Ahead of the ceremony, the organizers have announced the nominees for this year’s awards, which include a new category for Best Music. The Wildflower Awards, founded by Korean film critic Darcy Paquet and co-organized by local critic OH Dong-jin, recognize achievements in the Korean independent film scene.


This year’s nominees for Best Narrative Film are KIM Dae-hwan’s The First Lap (2017), MOON So-ri’s The Running Actress (2017), Hong Sangsoo’s On the Beach at Night Alone (2017), PARK Suk-young’s Ash Flower (2017), LIM Dae-hyeong’s Merry Christmas Mr. Mo (2017), CHO Hyunhoon’s Jane (2017) and SHIN Dong-il’s Come, Together (2017).


Meanwhile, the Best Documentary Feature nominees are LEE Chang-jae’s OUR PRESIDENT (2017), CHOI Seung-ho’s Criminal Conspiracy (2017), JUNG Yoon-suk’s Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno (2017), MOON Chang-yong and JEON Jin’s Becoming Who I Was (2017) and KIM Tae-il’s All Live, Olive (2017).


The Wildflower Awards offer prizes for Best Director in the Narrative as well as Documentary categories while they also attribute an overall Grand Prize among all the 12 nominees. 


Most successful among this year’s nominees was CHO Hyunhoon’s debut film Jane, which earned nods in seven categories, including Best Film, Actress, Actor, Cinematography, New Director, Screenplay and Music. The film, which details the friendship between a teenage runaway and a transgender character, was first screened at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in 2016. 


Not far behind is another debut film from BIFF 2016. Merry Christmas Mr. Mo was nominated for Best Film, Actor, Screenplay, Cinematography and New Director.

Other multiple nominees include Ash Flower and KIM Yang-hee’s The Poet and the Boy (2017), with four nominations each, and The First Lap, Come, Together and SHIN Joon’s Yongsoon (2017), with three.

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April 13, 2018


Moon So-ri's Directorial Debut Film Invited to Far East Film Fest


By Sung Jin-hee The ChosunIlbo

Moon So-ri


Actress Moon So-ri's directorial debut film has been invited to the Far East Film Festival in Undine, Italy.


"The Running Actress" has been included in the White Mulberry competition section, which mostly features films by rookie directors. In her film, which offers a snapshot of an actress' life, Moon not only directed the film but also starred in it.


The festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is set to open next week.


The prolific actress recently appeared in rural life-themed film "Little Forest" and another film is set for release soon.

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April 23, 2018


Far East Film Festival Selects 15 Films from Korea
Korean Stars and Filmmakers Invited to Udine


by Pierce Conran / KoBiz




The 20th Far East Film Festival in Udine (FEFF) has selected 15 films from South Korea, including this year’s opening film Steel Rain (2017). The North Korea-themed action-drama’s director YANG Woo-suk and stars JUNG Woo-sung and KWAK Do-won will travel to Italy, along with a slew of other actors and filmmakers from Korea.


Action maestro RYOO Seung-wan will be the subject of a special focus section that will feature his 2015 action drama Veteran (2015) as well as the director’s cut of his Word World II action film The Battleship Island (2017). HWANG Jung-min, the star of both films, will make his way to Udine with Director RYOO.


Another major name scheduled to travel to Italy is MOON So-ri, who will be supporting both The Running Actress (2017), which she directed, as well as YIM Soon-rye’s drama Little Forest, which she features in.


Among the directors expected in Italy are JANG Joon-hwan of 1987: When the Day Comes (2017), Be With You’s LEE Jang-hoon, ZHANG Hang-jun of Forgotten (2017), Midnight Runners (2017)´s director Jason KIM, KANG Yun-sung of THE OUTLAWS (2017), GWON Gyung-won of Courtesy to the Nation, A Special Lady (2017) helmer LEE An-kyu and Little Forest’s YIM Soon-rye.


Other titles screening at FEFF include JUNG Bum-shik’s found footage horror GONJIAM: Haunted Asylum, KIM Hong-sun’s serial killer thriller The Chase (2017) and SHIN Dong-seok’s indie drama Last Child (2017).


FEFF will kick off on April 20th and run until the 28th.

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April 24, 2018


Moon So-ri tapped for goodwill ambassador for international dance festival

Actress Moon So-ri / Courtesy of C-Jes Entertainment


By Kang Hyun-kyung The Korea Times


Award-winning actress Moon So-ri was appointed goodwill ambassador for the 37th International Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE) to be held in Seoul on May 16 to 27.


"We, the Contemporary Dance Association of Korea, are pleased to announce actress Moon as goodwill ambassador of this year's MODAFE event," the association said in its press release on Tuesday. "She won numerous awards at film festivals both at home and abroad and she is a world-class star. We were particularly thrilled to learn that she is a huge fan of modern dance and this prompted us to appoint her for the post."


Moon rose to global fame in 2002 when she won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Emerging Actress at the Venice International Film Festival. In 2016 she also became the first Korean actor to serve as a judge at the same film festival. 


Accepting the offer, Moon said she has been fascinated with modern dance for two years.


"As an actress, I hoped I could maintain my body shape and wanted it to be natural," she said. "When I dance, I could feel the music as well as the moves and rhythms. I was also inspired by my partner. This is how I came to be drawn into modern dance and I've been in love with it for two years."


Moon said she came to understand her body better as she was able to respond to every sign from her body. "I know many people think modern dance is not their thing as they feel it is something distant from their daily lives. I regret this," she said. "I hope they can feel the music and dance just as I did."


The actress will attend a press conference for the 2018 MODAFE and watch British physical dance theater Gecko's "The Wedding," the opening dance performance of the event, on May 16.


MODAFE is Korea's oldest contemporary dance festival. Under the slogan of "Cheer, Your Dance, Your Life!" this year's fest features dance performances by 133 artists from five countries. 


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July 23, 2018


THE JURORS Is in Session with MOON So-ri and PARK Hyung-sik
HONG Seung-wan Debuts with Real-Life Courtroom Drama


by Pierce Conran KoBiz




Trial drama The Jurors (translated title), with MOON So-ri and PARK Hyung-sik, kicked off production on July 7. The film is the first feature for director HONG Seung-wan.


The Jurors will focus on the true story of the first jury trial in Korea, which took place in 2008. MOON is on board to play the judge who leads the trial, while PARK is playing the last of the eight people to be picked as jurors in the case. Together, the eight people must discover the truth of the case for themselves.


MOON, who launched to critical acclaim in LEE Chang-dong’s Peppermint Candy (2000) and Oasis (2002), was last seen in YIM Soon-rye’s hit youth drama, Little Forest. Last year she also unveiled her first feature directing effort, the comedy-drama The Running Actress (2017), in which she also played the lead.


Popular singer and member of K-pop band ZE:A, PARK Hyung-sik has grown in fan base through several hit Korean drama series such as The Heirs. The Jurors will mark his film debut.


Also featuring in the film will be CHO Han-cheul (Heart Blackened, 2017), KIM Hong-pa (REAL, 2017), PAIK Soo-jang (Anarchist from Colony, 2017), SUH Jung-yeon (Mothers, 2017), YOON Kyung-ho (The Battleship Island, 2017), JO Soo-hyang (Coffee Noir: Black Brown, 2017) and KIM Mi-kyeong (Secret Sunshine, 2007), as the other members of the jury.


The Jurors marks the directorial debut feature of HONG Seung-wan, who has worked in the camera departments of dozens of commercial features, including KANG Woo-suk’s Public Enemy (2002) and IM Kwon-taek’s Low Life (2004).

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July 27, 2018


Moon Sori of ‘Life’, "The recent works are utilizing materials in genre without the attitude"


Source: BNTNews




[by Kim Youngjae / photo Kim Chiyoon] Moon Sori mentioned author, Lee Sooyeon.  

On the afternoon of July 23, JTBC's new Mon-Tue drama, "Life (Script: Lee Sooyeon, Director: Hong Jongchan Lim Hyunwook)" was held at Selena Hall of the Imperial Palace Seoul in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, and PD Hong Jongchan, Lee Dongwook, Jo Seungwoo, Won Jina, Yoo Jaemyeong, Moon Sori and Lee Gyuhyeong were attended.


Author, Lee Sooyeon, is a so-called 'Monster New Author' who wrote a 'Secret Forest', which awarded the grand prize of TV category and the prize of script at 'The 54th Baeksang Arts Grand Prize'. Moon Sori appeared for the first time in Lee Sooyeon's work, 'Life'.


She said that "In recent years, many scripts have dealt with any problems in politics, economics and cultures as an its material," and "but those are utilizing it as a genre material, there are not many script that has the attitude of telling some story as a will".


Moon Sori said, "This trend is in a movie and so in a drama, too. I was surprised when I saw the script of Lee Sooyeon because there was what I felt seriously. " and, "I am in school now, and I am teaching at school. The education system circle is a place where the view of value to see and go further seeing right beliefs and long period is so important. I have deplored the situation that the logic of money became the first in the education system too, and it made me to think that "the medical system was the same". and the common problems of the education and the medical system were dissolved in the book of Lee Sooyeon.


Moon Sori said, "It was amazing that there was a drama that throws this story so sharply squarely. and it was a drama to make me thought that I hope to go together.”, and "I think that there are very few works that have such a theme; how do we increase an immunity and what a view of value to keep in society?", and announced that it is the power of author, Lee Sooyeon, to dig into the inside with the material.


'Life' is the work of a story in which the beliefs between those who want to keep and those who want to change collide in various groups of the hospital, like an intense antigen-antibody reaction in our body.


Meanwhile, 'Life', a new Mon-Tue drama of JTBC, will be broadcasted at 11 pm on the 23rd for the first time following the 'Miss Hammurabi'.

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October 9, 2018


Actress at BIFF

Actress at BIFF

South Korean actress Moon So-ri (C) greets fans during a news conference at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in the southeastern port of Busan on Oct. 9, 2018. (Yonhap) (END)

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October 27, 2018

Winners Of The 2nd Seoul Awards th_congrats.gif

Source: Soompi by J. Lim



Winners Of The 2nd Seoul Awards


The Seoul Awards has announced this year’s winners, honoring some of the greatest in film and television dramas in the past year.


The awards show was on held on October 27 at the Peace Hall in Kyung Hee University, with Kim Ah Joong and Jung Hyun Moo returning as the MCs for the second year.


This year’s grand prize for the film category went to “The Spy Gone North,” a film that is based on a true story about a South Korean spy who infiltrates the North to obtain intelligence on nuclear weapons plans. The grand prize for the drama category went to tvN’s “My Ahjussi,” a story about three middle-aged brothers and a woman who learn to heal each other’s past scars.


The awards ceremony also dedicated a special moment to Kim Joo Hyuk, who won the Best Supporting Actor Award last year for his role in “Confidential Assignment.” The actor unfortunately passed away in a car accident a few days afterwards, and the awards ceremony took time to commemorate his illustrious career and replay his acceptance speech.


Check out the full list of winners below!


Grand Prize Award: “The Spy Gone North”

Best Actor Award: Ha Jung Woo (“Along with the Gods”)

Best Actress Award: Son Ye Jin (“Be With You”)

Best Supporting Actor Award: Joo Ji Hoon (“Along with the Gods” – “The Spy Gone North”)

Best Supporting Actress Award: Ye Soo Jung (“Along with the Gods”)

Best New Actor Award: Nam Joo Hyuk (“The Great Battle”)
Best New Actress Award: Kim Da Mi (“The Witch”)
Popularity Award: Son Ye Jin, EXO’s D.O.


Grand Prize Award: tvN’s “My Ahjussi”
Best Actor Award: Lee Byung Hun (“Mr. Sunshine”)
Best Actress Award: Kim Nam Joo (“Misty”)
Best Supporting Actor Award: Yoo Yeon Seok (“Mr. Sunshine”)
Best Supporting Actress Award: Moon So Ri (“Life”)
Best New Actor Award: Park Hae Soo (“Prison Playbook”)
Best New Actress Award: Jo Bo Ah (“Goodbye to Goodbye”)
Hallyu Artist Award: Jung Hae In (“Pretty Noona Who Buys Me Food”)
Popularity Award: Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, Jung Hae In
Special Acting Award: Heo Joon Ho (“Come and Hug Me”)


Source (1)

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October 29, 2018


Seoul Awards honor the year's best

By Yim Seung-hye INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily



An array of stars took to the red carpet for the second edition of the Seoul Awards on Saturday evening held at Kyung Hee University’s Grand Peace Palace, eastern Seoul, and some left with several trophies in hand. 


TvN’s drama “My Mister,” which featured singer-actor Lee Ji-eun, better known as IU, and film “The Spy Gone North,” directed by Yoon Jong-bin, each received the top honors for Best Work at Saturday’s event. 


“My Mister” dealt with an unlikely friendship between a 20-something woman and her colleague in his 40s. The actors’ immersive performances and emotional direction lead to it receiving much praise.


“The Spy Gone North” starring Hwang Jung-min, Lee Sung-min and Cho Jin-woong, has been hailed as creating a new type of Korean spy flick. The story is based on a true incident that took place in 1993, when a former South Korean military officer was recruited by the National Intelligence Service to infiltrate North Korea amid leaks that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons.


Meanwhile, the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards went to Lee Byung-hun for his starring role in the successful period drama “Mr. Sunshine” and Kim Nam-joo for “Misty” in the television series category. Ha Jeong-woo received Best Actor for “Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds” and Son Ye-jin won Best Actress for “Be With You” for the film category.


The Seoul Awards is the first Awards Ceremony here to select the winners by including the public as judges. According to the organizers, public votes account for 30 percent of the final decision in order to “reflect the public opinion in the awards ceremony.”


Published on October 27, 2018 by 스포츠서울


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