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December 7, 2011

Celebrities Raise Awareness of Adoption with Photo Exhibition

Source: englishnews@chosun.com

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Korean celebrities are being drawn to a photographic exhibition by photographer Cho Sei-hon as part of a campaign to encourage adoption.

The 20 photos feature stars such as Choi Ji-woo, Lee Min-ho, Kim Hye-soo and Lee Seo-jin holding up babies who have been abandoned by their parents but who are blissfully unaware of this as they mesmerize the viewer with their innocent smiles.

The photographer, who will display his works at Seoul's Insa Art Center from Dec. 14 to 19, has been working on the project since 2003. The idea was sparked when a social worker approached him about taking a picture of a 100-day-old baby who was up for adoption, and Cho saw this as an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue.

About 100 celebrities, such as Rain, Kwon Sang-woo and Ko So-young, have participated in similar exhibitions so far.

"I've been holding these exhibitions every year, but I'm always hoping that I don't have to do this because there will be no more babies up for adoption," Cho said.

"I hope more children find good families through the exhibition, so they can grow up being well-loved and cared for," he added.

For more information about the exhibition, call 02-567-8814.

December 9, 2011

Celebrities Photos for "Letters to Angels" Revealed

by: hazelnutthursdays soompi.com mainsite

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With the exhibit date drawing closer, the “9th Letters to Angels” campaign for domestic adoption is starting to gain more and more attention, thanks to the participation of top artists and celebrities.

“I’m impressed by these stars who hold these orphaned babies for two to three hours, feeding them milk and soothing them, even before shooting,” photographer Cho Sei Hyun, the man behind the charity project said in a broadcast on YTN. “This time, I’m most impressed by the transformation in (SNSD’s) Tiffany.”

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He also publicly thanked respected actress Kim Hye Soo, who has supported the campaign for the past three years.

“I’ve been holding exhibits every year, but I hope I won’t have to—that there wouldn’t be any more babies up for adoption,” local news agencies quoted the photographer as saying. “Through this exhibition, I hope more children grow up well-loved by finding good homes and families.”

The idea came to him when a social worker asked for his help in taking a photo of a 100-day-old orphan up for adoption.

Cho Sei Hyun continues to share sneak peeks into the exhibit pictures, promotional materials and behind-the-scenes shots on his Twitter account (@4portrait). Through the popular social networking site, he has recently revealed the participation of comedienne Shin Bong Sun and actress Min Hyo Rin, who join Tiffany, Kim Hye Soo, 2NE1, 2PM’s Nichkhun, BEAST’s Doojun, Yoseob and Dongwoon, CN Blue, Choi Ji Woo, Lee Min Ho, Park Si Hoo and eight other celebrities in the ninth campaign.

The “9th Letters to Angels” exhibition, with the theme “eyes,” will be at the Insa Art Center in Seoul from December 14 to 19.

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December 9, 2011

Kim Hye Soo and Jun Ji Hyun to Heat Up 'The Professionals'

Source: Nate l CJ E&M enewsWorld Lee, InKyung

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Filming for upcoming heist movie, The Professionals wrapped on December 7 in Seoul after six months of shooting in various cities including Macau, Hong Kong, Seoul and Busan.

The production firm, Caper Film, released its promo still cuts of the movie on December 9. In the still cuts, Kim Hye Soo looks stunning in a retro suit that fits her curvy figure like a glove, while Jun Ji Hyun turns heads in a leopard print one piece dress.

The Professionals is about five thieves from Korea who team up with four Chinese thieves, following the lead of ex-boss Macau Park, to steal the‘Tears of the Sun’ diamond from a Macau casino.

This is director Choi Dong Hun’s fourth film following box office hits, The Big Swindle, Tazza: The High Rollers and Jeon Woo Chi.

Filming for the film began in June with a star-studded cast that includes Kim Yun Seok, Kim Hye Soo, Lee Jung Jae, Jun Ji Hyun, Kim Soo Hyun and China′s top stars Simon Yam, Angelica Lee, and Derek Tsang.

Choi stated, “While shooting the last scene, I didn’t want to give the okay sign to cast members. I didn’t want filming to end. I really enjoyed filming, and I’m very thankful towards the cast and crew for having done their best during the long period of shooting.”

The movie will be hitting theaters next summer.

Photo credit: Caper Film

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December 9, 2011

The Thieves wraps shoot

Source: KOBIZ

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Major South Korean investor/distributor Showbox/Mediaplex has announced principal photography has wrapped on director CHOI Dong-hoon’s highly anticipated thriller <The Thieves>. The film had its last shoot on Dec. 7 at the W Seoul –Walkerhill Hotel after six months of shooting on location in Macau, Hong Kong, Busan, and Seoul.

Formerly known as “The Professionals”, the action thriller is about a five-person group of Korea’s top thieves, called out by their former boss Macao Park to steal a US$20 million blue diamond known as the Tear of the Sun.They descend on Macau where the gem is hidden away in a casino and team up to work side by side with a gang of four of Hong Kong’s top thieves.

The film stars a top flight cast including KIM Yun-seok from <The Yellow Sea>, Gianna JUN (a.k.a. Jun Ji-hyun) from <Snow Flower and the Secret Fan>, KIM Hye-soo from <Tazza: the High Rollers>, LEE Jung-jae from <The Housemaid>, OH Dal-soo from <Detective K: Secret of Virtuous Widow>, and KIM Hye-sook from <Thirst>.

<The Thieves> is Choi’s fourth feature, following his much-lauded debut <The Big Swindle> and box office hits <Tazza: the High Rollers> and <Woochi>. AHN Soo-hyun’s Caper Film is producing. Ahn’s credits include <Thirst> and <You Are My Sunshine>.

“As we were shooting the last cut, I didn’t want to give the OK sign. My feeling was that I didn’t want to end the shoot of <The Thieves>. I really had a good time working on it and I am thankful to the cast and crew for giving it their best during the long shoot,” said Choi.

The film will go through post-production and is due to be released in South Korean theaters this coming summer.

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December 23, 2011

Actress Kim Hye-su is the Top Boutique-Sponsored Dresser

Writer: Honorary reporter Song Hyeon-mi CopyrightⒸKBS&KBS Media

On the episode of KBS 2TV's "Morning Live" that aired on Dec. 21, stylist Kim Woo-ri introduced actress Kim Hye-su to the audience as the nation's top boutique-sponsored dresser, proving her a goddess on the red carpet of film awards ceremonies.

On the episode, secrets and behind-the-scene stories about the dresses actresses wear during the year-end film awards ceremonies, which can be called "a noiseless war," were disclosed.

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When Cho Young-gu asked "To whom, among actresses, is offered free clothing most well from boutiques?" Kim Woo-ri replied without hesitating, “Kim Hye-su.”

She said, "Kim Hye-su usually changes her dresses three times during the emceeing of the Blue Dragon Film Awards. She is a fashion star. When she wears a dress, it becomes a subject of conversation."

She further said that, in addition to Kim Hye-su, Suae, Im Su-jong, Shin Min-mo, Kim Hee-sun, who are playing important roles in dramas, attract the largest number of sponsors.

Kim Hye-su is regarded as the pioneer who changed conservative fashion trends since she showed off wearing innovative dresses in 1999. Park Myeon-son, a stylist, evaluated her as a fashion textbook on the red carpet, saying, "Her seductive undressing, beautiful body and her boldness became a hot issue after the award ceremonies."

Meanwhie, on the episode Wednesday, in addition to Kim Woo-ri, designer Logan, who designed dresses for many actresses, including Kim Tae-hee, Sung Yu-ri, Im Su-jeong, Choi Gang-hee, Han Chae-young, and Chang Seo-hee, and actress Yu Hye-ri appeared to talk about the "dress war" among actresses.

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December 26, 2011

Actresses Sin Se-gyung and Kim Hye-su named most photogenic by Korean Directors’ Association

By Carla Sunwoo [carlasunwoo@joongang.co.kr]

According to a panel of television network directors, actresses Sin Se-gyung and Kim Hye-su are the most photogenic women on television and the big screen.

Sin has been selected for the television actress category while Kim has been chosen out of film actresses.

Shin rose to fame when starring in the MBC comedy show “High Kick” in 2010 while Kim made her debut in 1986 in the movie “Ggambo” and has since played femme fatale roles in movies such as “Hypnotized” and “The Red Shoes.” The two will be awarded on Dec. 29 at the Korea Visual Arts Festival heralded by the Korea Broadcasting Camera Directors Association.

Shin Hyun-jun was named the most photogenic male actor in the movies category while Lee Tae-sung took the honor in television.

The most photogenic idol groups were Rainbow and U-Kiss.

Within the comedy category, selected cast members of the comedy show “Gag Concert” were picked.

The Korea Visual Arts Festival is a ceremony that examines all genres associated with visual arts and awards outstanding entertainers as selected by members of the association. Aside from judging celebrities on their photogenic apperances, the festival also awards the best works of directors in visual arts. This year marks the 12th year of the festival and will take place at Gwacheon City Citizens’ Hall in Gyeonggi. The event will air on the EBS channel on Dec. 31.

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January 5, 2012

Big-budget films to open in 2012

By Lee Hyo-won hyowlee@koreatimes.co.kr

While 2011 saw the release of some novel, genre-defying works, not many local films aside from “Sunny” and “War of the Arrows” (a.k.a. “Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon”) managed to draw crowds at the box office.

This year, a lineup of big-budget films featuring the return of big stars await moviegoers.

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A scene from “Professionals,” which is expected to wow movie fans this year with its A-list cast. / Courtesy of Showbox/Mediaplex

Anticipated blockbusters

A diverse variety of works — ranging from melodramas and comedies to action flicks and thrillers — made on a budget of some 10 billion won will hit the big screen.

CJ E&M Pictures will present “Soar Into the Sun,” starring pop star Rain, and “Tower,” headed by actor Sul Kyoung-gu. “Soar” is a drama set in the air force that invited a top Hollywood crew for the aerial action while “Tower,” about fire fighters, is expected to present hot action and hot stars including actress Son Ye-jin and Kim Sang-kyung.

Showbox/Mediaplex will also offer flicks made on a hefty budge of some 10 billion won: fans can look forward to the return of “My Sassy Girl” heroine Jun Ji-hyun (a.k.a. Gianna Jun) acting opposite Kim Hye-soo, Oh Dal-soo and Kim Hae-sook in “The Professionals,” a crime drama shot in Hong Kong and Macau under the direction of “Tazza: The High Rollers” helmer Choi Dong-hoon.

Lotte Entertainment, which had a lucky 2011 with “Arrows,” the highest grossing homegrown film of the year, will release “Jeok” (Enemy). Directed by Kwak Kyung-taek, the action film is about a South Korean spy who sneaks into North Korean-occupied territory to search for his lover.

Stars challenge new roles

“Hallyu” (Korean wave) star Lee Byung-hun and actor Cha Tae-hyeon will star in period pieces set during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910) for the first time. Lee will appear in “Joseuneui Wang” (King of Joseon), a “Prince and the Pauper”-esque story in which a commoner resembling the king takes the monarch’s place.

Cha will play the lead role in “Baramgwa Hamgge Sarajida” (Disappear With the Wind), which can be described as a Korean version of “Ocean’s Eleven” as top swindlers try to lay their hands on ice, a rare commodity at the time. The cast also includes Oh Ji-ho and Seong Dong-il, who co-starred in the period TV soap “The Slave Hunters” (Chuno).

Meanwhile, Koh Hyun-jung will take part in a mainstream movie for the first time in her 20-odd-year acting career. “Miss Go” is about a panic disorder patient who accidently becomes involved in a cat-and-mouse chase between the police and the country’s biggest crime ring.

Park Hae-il, who saw his “Moss” co-star Jung Jae-young disguised as an old man, will brave special costume and makeup to play a man in his 70s in “Eungyo.” The “Arrows” star made headlines recently for shaving off all his hair for the role. Kim Myung-min, who famously shed some 20 kilograms for “Closer to Heaven,” lost weight again to play a marathon runner in “Pacemaker,” which opens in theaters on Jan. 19.

Fans can also look forward to Han Ga-in’s return to the big screen. The actress ends a seven-year hiatus since “The Spirit of Jeet Keun Do — Once Upon a Time in High School” for “Geonchuk Gaeron” (An Introduction to Architecture). The romance is about an architect (Eom Tae-woong) who is commissioned to do a project by his unrequited love interest (Han).

Saving face

Top movie stars that saw rather disappointing box office results in previous years will have the opportunity to “save face” in upcoming works.

Ha Ji-won, whose 3D monster film “Sector 7” yielded an embarrassing admission score last year, will return as an Olympic ping-pong champion in “Korea.” Song Kang-ho, whose melodrama “Hindsight” was largely ignored by viewers, will appear opposite Lee Na-young in “The Howling.” He will reprise his iconic role as a detective, for the first time in nine years since “Memories of Murder,” in the serial murder story.

Hwang Jung-min and Uhm Jeong-hwa, whose films “Moby richard simmons” and “Mama,” respectively, saw mediocre box office sales, will team up in “Dance Queen.” Uhm will get back in touch with her singing career as she plays the role of a politician’s wife who becomes torn between helping her husband run for mayor and pursuing her longtime dream to become a musician. The comedy opens in theaters on Jan. 19. Release dates for the other films are yet to be announced.

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January 6, 2012

Coming soon

Story by Song Ho-jin The Hankyoreh

The Professionals is a crime drama showing Korean and Chinese professional jewelery thieves in Macau. My Sassy Girl heroine Jun Ji-hyun, along with Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae and Oh Dal-soo star under director Choi Dong-hoon famous for his work in Tazza: The High Rollers.

Disaster blockbuster Tower is expected to bring hot fire fighting action by Sul Kyoung-gu, Kim Sang-kyung and Son Ye-jin.

His iconic role as a detective will be revived, as the first time in nine years Song Kang-ho will play a detective with Lee Na-young in the serial murder story The Howling.

Beside them, a lineup of films waiting for premiere includes Joseuneui Wang, King of Joseon, starring Lee Byung-hun, action comedy Miss Go by Koh Hyun-jung, melodrama Eungyo by Park Hae-il, Korea, about the united table tennis team of North Korea and South Korea, by Ha Ji-won.

Pacemaker, starring Kim Myung-min, opens on Jan. 19.

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January 16, 2012

Kim Hye Soo Garners Attention for Past Pictures

by: SP0NJiE on soompi.com

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Actress Kim Hye Soo is garnering attention for her past pictures.

A couple of pictures were uploaded on a well-known online community website with the title: “16 Year Old Kim Hye Soo.” The pictures show the actress having the same beauty compared to now— proving her natural glamor.

The pictures that were posted were captured from MBC “Section TV Entertainment News.” In the pictures, Kim Hye Soo is sixteen years old and had just debuted.

Netizens and fans who saw them reacted with diverse responses: “This what you call an un-humiliating past,” “She is one hundred times prettier than the plastic idols,” “She developed fast. Very pretty,” and “When I was sixteen…”

Meanwhile, Kim Hye Soo finished filming “Thieves” with Kim Yoon Suk, Lee Jung Jae, and Jeon Ji Hyun.

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January 17, 2012

Hallyu bets on beauty, fashion to go global

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldm.com) koreaherald.com

Korea boosts its brand value across the globe

Fashionistas around the world may soon be adding a new city to their list of fashion capitals alongside Paris, New York, London and Milan. With its up-and-coming designers and beautiful celebrities Seoul is preparing to become the world’s next fashion and beauty destination.

Greeting President Lee Myung-bak and his wife at the White House during the Seoul-Washington summit last year, first lady Michelle Obama was clad in a distinguished purple dress designed by Korean-American designer Doori Chung. Chung, who recently told the press in New York that Korea is her “root and strength,” is among the growing number of young Korean designers spreading their reach throughout New York and Europe. Local fashion brands including O’2nd and Hexa by Kuho have also managed to enter the U.S. market, with O’2nd opening a store in CO-OP Barneys New York and Hexa by Kuho introduced at the IF Boutique, a luxury store in the U.S.

The explosive popularity of K-pop in Asia and Europe has also piqued the younger generation’s interest in Korean fashion items and cosmetics. With a growing number of people searching online for the fashion items worn by their favorite Korean stars, sites selling Korea-made products are receiving more overseas customers. “We’ve always had orders coming in from outside the country, but they were mostly Koreans. Since about two years ago, however, we have noticed Japanese names written in Korean letters,” Ahn Jin-hyun, CEO of popular online shopping mall sallyslaw.com, said. “I have no idea how these Japanese got to know about us. We can only guess that it must have something to do with the popularity of Korean celebrities in Japan,” Ahn added.

Netstar, an online store run by a Korean CEO, was recently ranked in the top 10 at Japan’s largest internet shopping portal rakuten.co.jp as the first foreigner-operated mall. Launched in 2007, Netstar sells women’s clothing, much of which has been featured in popular Korean TV dramas. Local cosmetic brands such as Missha, The Face Shop, Nature Republic and Skin Food have also been doing well in Asian countries largely due to their relatively low prices and promotion strategies based on hallyu stars.

Missha has the largest number of overseas branches among local cosmetic firms, currently running some 900 stores in 25 countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand. Hoping to become a global brand early on, Missha in 2004 focused on using popular Korean Wave stars such as BoA, Kim Hye-soo and Lee Byung-hun as models to win the hearts of foreign customers. Japan and China are Missha’s two major target countries.

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“We are currently stocking products in more than 3,000 drugstores in Japan. The company has been very much aware of the effect hallyu has on our sales for the past decade,” said Shin Eun-kyung, Missha’s PR official.

Industry insiders and government officials note the importance of “image-making” to boost the fashion and beauty sector. “One of the biggest achievements of hallyu is what it did to the image of Korea,” Lee Charm, president of Korea Tourism Organization, said. “Korean stars have helped make everything about Korea ― its fashion, food and so on ― trendy.”

According to a study released by the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange in December, hallyu earned the country at least 4.98 trillion won in 2010, an increase of 1 trillion won from the previous year. The study is based on various statistics including a survey on 2,000 people in their teens to 40s from five different countries including China and Japan.

Japan remained the No.1 market for hallyu, followed by Taiwan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. And the boost in the cultural sector due to hallyu created some 51,500 new jobs in 2010, the study showed. While tourism showed the largest growth of 32 percent from 2009, the music and film industry raked in surprisingly little profit with smaller-than-expected exports, the study also showed.

The K-pop sector, however, played the largest role in enhancing Korea’s national image, with Girls’ Generation, Big Bang and Jang Keun-suk rated highest among Korean musicians overseas.

To help more of its brands and designers become noticed overseas, Korea plans to continue holding mega-size fashion shows outside the country in 2012. Sponsored by the KTO, fashion shows introducing major Korean clothing brands and up-and-coming designers will be held in cities in Europe, Japan and elsewhere this year, joined by leaders of hallyu who will perform on stage or take to the catwalk.

Another sector that has expanded together with hallyu is medical tourism.

Establishing the Korea Medical Tourism Association in 2008, the Korean government has been increasing efforts to draw foreign visitors to the country for medical checkups and surgery by linking high-quality medical services with sightseeing and shopping opportunities.

Korea attracted some 110,000 patients from abroad last year, an increase of 30 percent from the 81,800 in 2010. A substantial proportion of those patients are estimated to have visited the country for cosmetic surgery, according to government data. The government aims to increase the figure to 300,000 by 2015.

The amount is still relatively small compared to the 1.56 million visiting Thailand and the 720,000 choosing to go to Singapore, but more people have been choosing Korea over Japan, which had been one of the most popular destinations for medical tourism before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year.

The Korean government is paying special attention to the field as “medical tourists” generally spend a longer period of time in Korea and spend more money.

Korea has made 350 billion won from medical tourism with the profit expected to reach 1.27 trillion won in 2015 and 5.5 trillion won by 2020. “We are expecting at least 150,000 visitors in 2012 coming in for cosmetic surgery,” said Han Yu-ok of the KTO medical tourism bureau. “We see great potential in the area as women in the neighboring countries are generally more sensitive about fashion and beauty.”

About 70 percent of Korea’s medical tourists are Chinese, seeking to look like their favorite TV stars such as Song Hye-kyo and Choi Ji-woo, according to plastic surgeons. “Because foreign patients have different facial structures compared to Koreans, we make an effort to recognize the patient’s overall features ahead of counseling,” said Lee Geum-joo, director of Bitnara Plastic Surgery Clinic in Sinsa-dong, Seoul.

“Korea has a long history in the cosmetic surgery sector. We are glad to be sharing the techniques and be seen as a part of hallyu,” she said.

Foreign language-services, provision of comfortable accommodation, fine meals and after-surgery leisure activities are keys to the success of medical tourism, Lee added.

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February 2, 2012

Korean film in 2012

KOREA IT TIMES (INFO@KOREAITTIMES.COM)

SEOUL, KOREA — The Korean film industry has a lot to offer for the year of 2012. Korean films have been gathering more attention around the world and in the domestic market, as Korean films gain attention and Korean actors and producers take part in more international collaborations.

According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the market share for Korean films was 51.9%, up from 46.5 in 2010 and marking the first time in modern history that Korean moviegoing audiences showed a marked preference for domestic movies. As well, film exports increased by 14% in 2011.

Five Korean films sold more than four million tickets in Korean theatres in 2011, up from just two in 2010. Those include Sunny by director Kang Hyeong-cheol and Detective K, directed by Kim Seok-yoon, as well as Kim Han-min’s War of the Arrows, which sold almost 7.5 million tickets. The Crucible, based on the novel of the same name by Gong Ji-young, shone a light on the sexual abuse scandal at Gwangju Inhwa School, causing the public, the media, and lawmakers to sit up and take notice.

Already several movies have been released this year. Dancing Queen stars Uhm Jung-hwa as the wife of a politician who leads a secret life as a dance singer. Veteran actor Ahn Sung-gi stars in Chung Ji-young’s Unbowed, which depicts the 2007 incident known as the “crossbow terror” incident, in which a university professor fired a crossbow bolt at a judge. A 3D animated feature film, The Outback is a joint Korea/U.S. coproduction about a circus koala.

PHOTO: Already in theatres: Dancing Queen (CJ Entertainment) and Unbowed (NEW)

February will see yet another film starring Song Kang-ho, who has received acclaims throughout his career for films such as JSA, Memories of Murder, and The Host. He appears this time in action-drama Howling, in which he pursues a killer dog. Ha Jeong-woo is set to appear in three films this year; in February he and Oldboy star Choi Min-sik will costar as gangsters in Nameless Gangster, and also as a “Male Bridget Jones” in Love Fiction, both films out in February. Later in the year he will appear as a North Korean spy in The Berlin File. Other releases for the month include Han Ji-won’s The Angel’s Breath, a drama about an actor who dreams of becoming a star, and 2 Lines, a documentary by Ji Min about cohabitation.

PHOTO: Howling (CJ Entertainment)

March will be a busy month for new releases. Lee Sun-gyun, who broke through in the TV drama The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, will appear in Train, a mystery thriller based on the novel All She was Worth by Miyabe Miyuki. Speaking of coffee, the historical drama Russian Coffee depicts King Gojong’s love of coffee, based on a novel by Kim Tak-hwan. Kim Ji-woon, who is currently in the U.S. directing Arnold Schwartzenegger for the 2013 film Last Stand, will showcase his directing talents alongside colleagues Han Jae-rim and Lim Pil-seong in The Fall of Humanity, an omnibus of three science fiction stories. Kim’s segment deals with a robot that gains sentience. Lim’s segment tells the story of a zombie apocalypse from the point of view of a zombie, and Han’s chapter is a musical movie set at the end of the world. If you want something a little safer, Bae Gwang-soo’s drama Eighteen and Nineteen tells of a scandal with adolescent fraternal twins Hoya and Seoya, and Lee Kwang-kuk’s Romance Joe tells a more conventional love story about a struggling film director and a coffee shop waitress.

PHOTO: In Russian Coffee (Cinema Service), Park Hee-soon depicts King Gojong, and Kim So-yeon serves him coffee.

After that, there seems to be a bit of a break in Korean releases until June, with the release of horror movie Don’t Click by Kim Tae-kyeong starring Park Bo-yeong. After watching an unidentified video, her character Se-hee must save her sister and her boyfriend from...something, presumably this time not a ghost who likes to crawl out of televisions.

PHOTO: Don't Click (Showbox Media Plex) teaches you to be careful what links you open on your computer.

Set for a summer release is Yeongasi, which is described as a natural disaster movie but with a plot more akin to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Parasitic horsehair worms -- Yeongasi in Korean – mutate and begin infecting humans, controlling their minds. The star, Kim Myeong-min, received a neck injury while filming a scene where he is attacked by an angry mob. He had anticipated the injury and didn’t let it slow him down.

Many other Korean films are set to be released this year with no definite opening date yet. International star Lee Byeong-heon is set to appear in both an American and a Korean film, revisiting his character Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and taking on a double role in I am King of Joseon, an adaptation of The Prince and the Pauper about a king and a beggar who switch roles. Rain stars in war film Soar into the Sky, a remake of Shin Sang-ok’s 1964 film The Red Muffler about air force pilots. Rain himself began his compulsive military service in October 2011 following the wrap of filming.

Two of the most anticipated films of 2012 will square off for best heist movie. Director Choi Dong-hoon will release his fourth movie, the highly anticipated The Thieves, a heist film set in Macao which has been called the Ocean’s Eleven of Korea. It features a star-studded cast including Lee Jung-jae (Oh! Brothers), Kim Yoon-seok (The Chaser), Kim Hye-su (Tazza: the High Rollers), and Jun Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl), along with Chinese actors Simon Yam and Angelica Lee. It may face stiff competition from Kim Joo-ho’s The Grand Heist, which has been described as the Joseon Dynasty version of Ocean’s Eleven. Rather than cash or diamonds, the target of the film’s heist is a rare commodity of the Joseon era: ice.

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The Thieves (Showbox Media Plex) was filmed in Macao, Hong Kong, and Korea.

The latter part of the year should see the release of a diverse array of Korean films. Ko Hyeon-jeong stars in Miss Conspirator, a mob comedy about the hunt for misplaced drugs. Shin Jeong-won’s film The Fortune Tellers is a mystery film that sends an ensemble cast to Uljin to solve a mystery. Korea, directed by Moon Hyeon-seong, depicts the story of the first victory of the inter-Korea team at the 1991 Chiba Worldwide Table Tennis Championships. Featuring actresses Ha Ji-won and Bae Doona, it should deliver some stirring performances. For the romantics, there’s also An Introduction to Architecture, a melodrama about an architect who rebuilds the home of his first love, in a nonlinear plot that skips between present and past.

PHOTO: Korea (CJ Entertainment) tells the story of North and South Koreans cooperating to win the 1991 tournament.

There will doubtlessly be many more Korean films released throughout the year. In order to make Korean films more approachable to foreigners residing in Korea, Korean films are often screened with English subtitles at theatres such as CGV Yongsan. Listings may vary throughout the year. For more news on Korean films, visit www.hancinema.net.

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February 7, 2012

Korea’s most anticipated films of 2012

By KANG Byeong-jin koreanfilm.or.kr

With the start of the new year, the Korean film industry looks to its brightest prospects. KANG Byeong-jin profiles eight highly anticipated films of 2012.

Fortune-tellers

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In production. Directed by SHIN Jung-won. Starring KIM Su-ro, LEE Je-hoon, GANG Ye-won. Produced by Dasepo Club, Saram Entertainment. Distributed by N.E.W.Release planned for the first half of 2012.

Korean fortune-tellers not only tell the future, but they also chase away ghosts. The background of <Fortune-tellers> is Uljinri where a decades-old evil spirit rules. When mysterious accidents and events keep happening without avail, fortune-tellers from all over the country gather to hold a shaman ritual.

Master Park, who gets paid for performing exorcisms around the country; the monk Shim-in, who studied with him under the same master but is now telling sundry couple’s fortunes around old Tabgol Park; the boy Wol-gwang, who can’t tell what will happen from one moment to the next; Seung-hee who is skilled at taro cards and can see the memories stored in all objects; Suk-hyun who has a doctorate in engineering and makes all kinds of demon-chasing equipment. In addition to them, newspaper reporter Chan-young, who has come to Uljinri to cover it, joins them in facing off with the evil spirit.

Somewhat like the US TV series <Heroes>,<Fortune-tellers> is the story of a dream team of superheroes wielding different supernatural powers at the right times and right places.

Of course, it’s subject matter with potential for director Shin Jung-won’s idiosyncratic black comedy. Moreover, the film takes place mainly on a treasure ship and so Shin is planning thrills from adventures of the likes of <Goonies> and <Indiana Jones>.

The film also features Lee Je-hoon, who rose to stardom with his performance in <The Front Line>, and Gang Ye-won, who was in <Haeundae> and <Quick>.

The Taste of Money

2012m2.jpg

In post-production. Directed by IM Sang-soo. Starring Kim Gang-woo, KIM Hyo-jin, BAEK Yun-shick,YOUN Yuh-jung. Produced by Film Pas Mal. Distributed by Cinergy. Release planned for May.

More characters, more love and hate, more sex, more cash. Director Im Sang-soo’s seventh film <The Taste of Money> is set to be a more powerful and shocking film than his previous one,<The Housemaid>.

The main character JU Young-jak is the secretary to BAEK Geum-ok, a rich conglomerate owner’s woman. Baek covets Ju’s young body, and he has already sold his pride for money a long time ago. What tangles up their relationship is the appearance of Baek’s daughter Na-mi. Na-mi shows an interest in Young-jak, and he is also attracted to this girl who is so differentfrom her money-is-everything parents.We could say it’s a sort of erotic drama that takes place in the household of a conglomerate-owning family.

If <The Housemaid>asserted through a self-immolating woman the impossibility of overturning the classes, <The Taste of Money> is a film that asks the question of whether a beautiful and happy life really might be impossible in a dark society.

Youn Yuh-jung, who is virtually Im Sang-soo’s muse, plays Baek Geum-ok while Kim Gang-woo from <Le GrandChef> and <The Railroad> plays Ju Young-jak and Kim Hyo-jin plays Nami. What heightens our anticipation is how the veteran actors’ experience and the young actors’ charms will emerge in this film.

The film wrapped principal photography Jan. 20 and is set for a release in late spring.

The Thieves

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In post-production. Directed by CHOI Dong-hoon. Starring KIM Yun-seok, KIM Hye-su, LEE Jung-jae,Gianna JUN, Simon YAM. Produced by Caper Film. Distributed by Showbox / Mediaplex. Release planned for second half of the year.

<The Thieves> is a story about five thieves from Korea and four thieves from China. Legendary thief Macao Park suggests a caper to his old colleagues. With a lot to pay back to Macao Park, Popeye, Pepsi, Anycall, Jampano, and Chewed Gum - each with their respective specialties in thievery - go over to Macao together to partner with Chen’s gang.

The Chinese thieves have a lot of secret stories, too. One dreams of revenge, another is a cop, and one thief suddenly falls in love.

Director Choi Dong-hoon, who portrayed crime procedures with such liveliness in his previous works <The Big Swindle> and <Tazza: The High Rollers>,is set to make an strong action entertainment film out of the light-footed operation that penetrates the iron-tight security system of a casino, adding in the conflict between his characters.

But this isn’t a film meant just for a cool caper like <Ocean’s Eleven> or <The Italian Job>. According to the director, “It’s just a thieves’ scene where love and conspiracy and betrayal run rampant, and they have to get together to do a job and split up, and the story is about whether they can split up well or split up badly.”

Kim Yun-seok from <The Chaser> and <The Yellow Sea>, Lee Jung-jae from <The Housemaid>, Gianna Jun (a.k.a. Jun Ji-hyeon) from <My Sassy Girl> feature in the film and Hong Kong’s Simon Yam adds his acting power.

Currently in post-production, <The Thieves> is the most anticipated Korean film for the summer season of 2012.

Korea

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In post-production. Directed by MOON Hyun-seong. Starring HA Ji-won, BAE Doo-na, HAN Ye-ri. Produced by The Tower Pictures. Distributed by CJ E&M. Release set for first half of 2012.

True stories, and true sports stories are trend these days.<Korea>, which is about the single North and South Korean team that competed at the 1991 World Table Tennis Tournament in Japan, looks like it will amplify that trend.

Table tennis player HYUN Jeong-hwa, who became a star when she won the ’88 Seoul Olympics doubles competition, is perplexed at the news they are putting together a single team. The press is going on about how it is the first single North and South Korean team in 46 years of division. But, to the South Korean players and coaching staff, the North Koreans are simply strangers.

They only have 40 days to train together in order to get over the wall of the Chinese team, the world’s strongest players. Having been put together as a single team in a flash, without any trust as colleagues or affection as human beings, the North and South Korean players clash at every turn.

Hyun Jeong-hwa also has trouble with her rival LEE Boon-hee, who is also the “eldest sister” of the North Korean team. Even if they bear in mind they are of the same people, will Hyun Jeong-hwa and Lee Boon-hee, conditioned by two different systems, be able to make a miracle happen?

It’s said Hyun Jeong-hwa was a body double in some of the game scenes. Fierce smashing from Ha Ji-won, already known to give it her all as an master hand in action from films like <The Duellist> and <Sector 7>, and Bae Doo-na, who used to be a table tennis player in her youth, will be factors to anticipate. As with <Forever the Moment>, the fighting spirit of women sports players will no doubt heat up tear ducts again, too.

Howling

2012m5.jpg

Waiting for release. Directed by YOO Ha. Starring SONG Kang-ho, LEE Na-young. Produced by Opus Pictures. Distributed by CJ E&M. Set for February release.

Four years after <A Frozen Flower>, director Yoo Ha has returned with <Howling>, an investigative thriller dealing with a series of wolfhound-related killings.

A self-immolation suicide happens in a city. Violent crimes detective Sang-gil, who is always getting passed up for promotion, and Eun-young start to investigate. Sang-gil deems the case to be a murder by ignition device, but Eun-young focuses on the animal teeth marks found on the corpse. Then one day, a murder occurs involving an unidentifiable beast. The two detectives discover clues that the teeth marks in common are from a wolf hound, and that the victims knew each other in the past.

<Howling> is based on the Naoki Award-winning Japanese novel “Frozen Cuspids” by Nonami Asa. The problem of how an adaptation of a Japanese novel could embody Korean appeal is solved by the actor Song Kang-ho. A rather unsophisticated detective dependent on instincts, his character could be reminiscent of PARK Doo-man in <Memories of Murder>. Lee Na-young plays a female detective who tries to get to the bottom of the case with her characteristic cool-headedness. What kind of synergy the two might have together is something to look forward to seeing as well. It’s rumored that as the clues multiply, the emerging identity of the wolf hound is also full of suspense.

The Tower

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In post-production. Directed by KIM Ji-hoon. Starring SUL Kyung-gu, SON Ye-jin, KIM Sang-kyung. Produced by CJ E&M, The Tower Pictures. Distributed by CJ E&M.Release due in second half.

Kim Ji-hoon, who directed <May 18> and <Sector 7> thought up <The Tower> after seeing a documentary on the dangers of high-rise buildings.

“They said the highest point a fire engine ladder could reach is 19 stories. I wanted to see the level of isolation there and human beings and their will to survive, aggressive fire, and the passion of the firemen,” he says.

It reminds one of John Guillermin’s<The Towering Inferno>, but it has more action, and compared to <Sector7> has more human stories, explains the director. The setting for the fire is a skyscraper on Christmas Eve. As the worst fire in history starts, a hellish Christmas develops. KANG Young-gi, a fireman determined to save lives; restaurant managerSEO Yoon-hee, the building’s maintenance head LEE Dae-ho and others fight with the deadly fire from inside and outside the building.

<The Tower> might be better suited to Kim Ji-hoon’s leanings and character than <Sector 7>, which highlighted the shape of a monster more than human stories. The CGI and green screen work he experienced with <Sector 7> this time look to fire up audience members’ tear ducts. Sul Kyung-gu, Kim Sang-kyung, Son Ye-jin and other idiosyncratic actors feature as interesting characters as well..

The Masquerade King (Working Title)

2012m7.jpg

In pre-production. Directed by CHOO Chang-min. Starring LEE Byung-hun, RYU Seung-ryong, HAN Hyo-joo, SHIM Eun-kyung. Produced by REALies Pictures. Distributed by CJ E&M. Release set for second half.

In the history of the Joseon Dynasty, Prince Gwang-hae was like a Shakespearean hero. This is why numerous historical films in Korea have taken him as a model. The film <The Masquerade King> tells the story of what happens when Ha-sun, a person of low birth who looks just like Prince Gwang-hae, takes on the role of substitute king.

Lee Byung-hun, who recently finished shooting <G.I. Joe 2>, plays both Gwang-hae and Ha-sun in his first time acting in a historical piece. RYU Seung-ryong from <War of the Arrows> plays HUH Gyoon, the royal official who leads the plot to seat Ha-sun in the king’s empty place. Han Hyo-joo from <Always> plays the queen who is conflicted between the real king and the fake king’s secret. Shim Eun-kyung, a lead from <Sunny>, plays Gwang-hae’s lady attendant Sa-wol.

Kim Myung-gon from <Seopyonje>returns to the screen after a long time, playing PARK Chung-seo,a court official who has an antagonistic relationship with Gwang-hae and eventually begins to suspect Ha-sun in his role as the fake king.

With a script byHWANG Jo-yun, who wrote <Old Boy>, <The Masquerade King> was a hot commodity from the script stage. Choo Chang-min, who previously did <Mapado> and <LateBlossom>, is directing.

Hoogoong: Jaewang-eui chub (English title TBA)

2012m8.jpg

In production. Directed by KIM Dai-seung. Starring JO Yeo-jung, KIM Min-jun, KIM Dong-wook. Produced by HwangKiSung Films. Distributed by Lotte Entertainment. Release due in first half of the year.

Kim Dai-seung, who previously directed <Blood Rain> and <Traces of Love>, is now in production for a story about a girl who ends up in the palace as a royal concubine against her will.

It is set approximately during the early Joseon Dynasty.The daughter of a non-mainstream military official, SHIN Hwa-yeon(Jo Yeo-jung) one day becomes a royal concubine. It is her parents’ desire for power that has sent her to the palace. But she has someone she has grown up with and been in love with - a man called Kwon Yoo (Kim Min-jun). Having entered the palace, Hwa-yeon is torn between her relationship with Prince Seo-won (Kim Dong-wook) who is about to be crowned king, and her love for Kwon Yoo.

The problem is the fact that the palace where she lives is a place where one must have power in order to survive. Before she knows it, Hwa-yeon is thrown into the middle of a struggle to survive.

Since <Blood Rain>, director Kim Dai-seung has been dealing with the blind spots of people who throw themselves into hell. With <Hoogoong: Jaewang-eui chub> - which roughly translates to “Royal concubine: concubine to the king”, he is set to expand the world of greed and desire. The sexual relationship between king and royal concubine is also part of the nature of power that the film talks about and expands to human relationships.

The sets and costumes, as well as the music, are planned to be unlike those in Kim’s previous works in that they are endeavoring towards breaking the rules to maximize the greed and desire expressed in the film. Jo Yeo-jung, the heroine of <Bangja> will play the royal concubine Shin Hwa-yeon.

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A multiple answers poll ~

There are 2 sets of list provided, please choose from each list so that the votes will go through

Poll: Which 2012 Korean movies that you are most excited about?

http://www.soompi.com/forums/topic/374847-which-2012-korean-movies-that-you-are-most-excited-about/

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Poll: Which 2012 Korean movies that you are most excited about?

http://www.soompi.com/forums/topic/374847-which-2012-korean-movies-that-you-are-most-excited-about/

As of February 25, 2012, 132 member(s) have cast their votes in the multiple-answers movie fun poll. The tally is not definite as members yet to vote can still pick their favorites. However, this is a one-time poll.. once voted, members will not be able to vote again. Related movie posters and info posted at the poll thread for reference

The current result starting with the highest voted movies rbhcool.gif

1. The Thieves

Lee Jung Jae, Kim Yoon Seok, Kim Hye Soo, Jeon Ji Hyun) (46 votes [25.43%])

2. Miss Conspirator

Go Hyun Jung, Yu Hae Jin. Ko Chang Seok, Sung Dong Il, Lee Mun Shik, Park Shin Yang (42 votes [21.11%])

3. The King of Joseon

Lee Byung Hun, Han Hyo Joo, Ryu Seung Ryong, Shim Eun Kyung (39 votes [22.54%])

4. Coffee

Joo Jin Mo, Kim So Yeon, Park Hee Seon, Yoo Sun (31 votes [15.58%])

5. Introduction to Architecture

Uhm Tae Woong, Han Ga In, Lee Je Hoon, Suzy (31 votes [15.58%])

6. Korea

Ha Ji Won, Bae Doo Na (29 votes [13.07%])

7. Love Fiction

Gong Hyo Jin, Ha Jung Woo (19 votes [9.05%])

8. The Howling

Song Kang Ho, Lee Na Young (17 votes [9.25%])

9. Never Ending Story

Uhm Tae Woong, Jung Ryeo Won (15 votes [7.54%])

10. Soar into the Sky

Jung Ji Hoon, Shin Se Kyung, Kim Sung Soo, Yoo Joon Sang (15 votes [8.67%])

11. Papa

Park Yong Woo, Go Ah Ra, Daniel Henney, Son Byeong Ho (14 votes [8.09%])

12. Dancing Queen

Hwang Jung Min, Uhm Jung Hwa (13 votes [6.53%])

13. Train (aka Helpless)

Lee Seon Kyun, Kim Min Hee, Jo Sung Ha (12 votes [6.94%])

14. The Tower

Sul Kyung Gu, Son Ye Jin, Kim Sang Kyung) (12 votes [6.36%])

15. Berlin

Ha Jung Woo, Han Suk Kyu, Jeon Ji Hyun, Ryu Seung Bum (10 votes [4.52%])

16. Nameless Gangster

Choi Min Sik, Ha Jung Woo (10 votes [4.52%])

17. Unbowed

Ahn Sung Ki, Park Won Sang, Na Young Hee, Kim Ji Ho, Moon Sung Geun, Lee Kyeong Yeong) (10 votes [5.20%])

18. Sansevieria

Dir. Yoo Ji Tae, Bae Soo Bin, So Yoo Jin (7 votes [4.05%])

19. The Taste of Money

Kim Kang Woo, Kim Hyo Jin, Baek Yoon Shik, Yoon Yeo Jung (6 votes [3.47%])

20. Pacemaker

Kim Myung Min, Go Ah Ra, Ahn Sung Ki (5 votes [2.51%])

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March 19, 2012

The Thieves sells abroad, prepares for the big swindle

by javabeans dramabeans.com

thieves_1.jpg

I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for the stylish caper movie The Thieves to come out, so I’m just about bouncing in my seat to see the new posters and stills from the upcoming movie about a diamond heist set in a Macau casino.

The grand-scale theft is the work of ten professionals, led by mastermind Lee Jung-jae (The Housemaid) and including Jeon Ji-hyun (Blood: The Last Vampire), Kim Hye-soo (Villain and Widow), Kim Soo-hyun (The Moon That Embraces the Sun), and Oh Dal-soo (Thirst). You’ve got your brains, your safe-cracker, your acrobatic swindlers, your scene-stealers; all the moving parts of a smooth heist machine. Or so goes the hope; no caper ever goes according to plan, after all. In the plot, the Korean thieves team up with a group of Chinese thieves, who include actors Simon Yam and Angelica Lee.

The movie’s making no bones about this being a Korean version of Ocean’s Eleven, so originality of the premise is hardly its primary concern. What it does aim for is an entertaining, fast-paced fun ride showcasing a wide range of talents, and with this cast I can see it happening. I hope. Fingers crossed.

The film is drawing some strong preliminary buzz, and last month at the European Film Market in Berlin, The Thieves sold foreign rights to several markets on the strength of that anticipation, without teasers or stills. The four foreign markets: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan. At the Hong Kong Filmart opening today, they’ll be hoping to sell more rights, to major distributors in China, Japan, North America, and Europe.

It’s the fourth feature film from director Choi Dong-hoon, who was behind some big hits like Tazza and Jeon Woo Chi — so the man definitely knows how to convey style and action in a sexy way. Gah, this movie needs to premiere already. Sadly, we will have to wait for summer to bring its release.

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thieves_2.jpg

Via My Daily

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March 28, 2012

Lee Byung Hun, Lee Seung Gi, Kim Hye Soo in celebrity charity auction

Source: Nate

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Celebrities Lee Byung Hun, Lee Seung Gi, Kim Hye Soo and others are participating with the Social Welfare's 'little karma, big love online charity auction' in encouraging awareness for child adoption.

A number of celebrities have been donating personal items to be auctioned off at the Social Welfare website which will be opened on March 29.

Korean stars participate in charity auction

By
Kim Young-won
(wone0102@heraldm.com)

Social Welfare Society will open an online charity auction from March 29 through April 10.

Korean stars including actor Lee Byung-hun, actor and singer Lee Seung-gi, 2PM’s Nichkhun and Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany have donated their personal items for the charity event.

Lee Byung-hun donated his caps for the auction while Lee Sueng-gi donated his sneakers that he wore on a television show.

Tiffany’s purse, Nichkhun’s woolen hat will be on auction, too.

Other items include Korean actress Kim Hye-soo’s shoes and a cap
, and a pair of sunglasses from Kim Jung-eun sunglasses.

Participants can place their bids through e-mail.

The proceeds from the auction will go toward supporting children awaiting adoption that require medication treatment.

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March 28, 2012

Korean stars participate in charity auction

By Kim Young-won (wone0102@heraldm.com) koreaherald.com

Social Welfare Society will open an online charity auction from March 29 through April 10.

Korean stars including actor Lee Byung-hun, actor and singer Lee Seung-gi, 2PM’s Nichkhun and Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany have donated their personal items for the charity event.

Lee Byung-hun donated his caps for the auction while Lee Sueng-gi donated his sneakers that he wore on a television show.

Tiffany’s purse, Nichkhun’s woolen hat will be on auction, too.

Other items include Korean actress Kim Hye-soo’s shoes and a cap, and a pair of sunglasses from Kim Jung-eun sunglasses.

Participants can place their bids through e-mail.

The proceeds from the auction will go toward supporting children awaiting adoption that require medication treatment.

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March 22, 2012

Start of spring brings in a flood of colorful flats

By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]

‘Women who are sick and tired of the long winter days have started buying flats for a change of footwear.’- Byeon Ga-young

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The new flats for spring and summer are here.

Pictured from top left are flats from: Babara,

Toms Shoes, Le Bunny Bleu and two styles

from Barbie Shoes. Provided by the companies

A new season often starts off with a new wardrobe. A light chiffon blouse replaces a chunky sweater and a crisp trench coat finds its place in the wardrobe instead of a long heavy coat.

Shoes are no exception. Starting late last month, boots in black and dark brown began to be replaced by candy-colored flats, attracting the attention of female shoppers.

“Spring is a peak season for us,” said Byeon Ga-young, an official at Babara Flat, one of the nation’s manufacturers of flats. “Women who are sick and tired of the long winter days have started buying flats for a change of footwear and because they can wear them without socks.”

Although most flats have simple decorations and heels that are between one and two centimeters high, there are some new trends in flats, Byeon said. This season’s flats are brighter and lighter in color.

“The main color for spring is white, so you’ll start seeing a lot of flats that can accent white outfits and they’ll come in mint and other pastel colors,” Byeon said.

Babara offers a basic line of flats in plain colors with simple bows. Another one of it’s lines offers more flamboyant variations on the flat with decorations such as beads, crystals, coins and bigger bows. The company also launched a line of flats for kids so that mother and daughter can wear them together.

The company also has another line of flats for short people who are hesitant about wearing the style. “Most flats come with a one-centimeter [0.39 inches] heel but this line comes with a two-centimeter hidden heel, giving the wearer a total of three centimeters of height,” Byeon said.

Just one or two styles come with this feature, so for people who are desperate for an extra inch of height, Babara will add a centimeter to the heel of any style for free.

Though flats have been around for decades, they began catching on among young Korean women in early 2000 following the appearance of photos of Hollywood actresses such as Kirsten Dunst and Lindsay Lohan who wore flats with skinny jeans.

Local shoe manufacturers have been quick to jump on the trend.

One of them is Saera, which has been in the shoe industry since 1978. Four years ago the company launched a brand named Barbie Shoes, which specializes in flats. The company pays royalties to Mattel Inc. in order to use the name of the highfashion doll, which is a flagship product of Mattel.

The Barbie line started with flats, but its lineup has recently been expanded to include booties and high heels as well.

Korean flat maker Le Bunny Bleu is a latecomer to the flat shoe industry, having launched in 2009. But it has since become one of the most sought-after flat shoe brands among young female customers, with shoe prices ranging between 50,000 won ($44) and 80,000 won.

Along with traditional flats in pastel and neon hues, Le Bunny Bleu also offers other comfortable but trendy styles with low heels for the spring and summer seasons.

Its Tyvek shoes are made with the same material used in FedEx envelopes. Tyvek is known for its durability and breathability, and doesn’t get wet in the rain, according to Le Bunny Bleu.

The shoe maker has many sidewalk shops, one of which is marketed as a “shoe cafe” of the same name as the shoe brand. Located in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul, the store allows shoppers to sip coffee and browse newly-arrived flats.

Le Bunny Bleu products are also available in the United States, Canada and Japan on online shopping malls.

American shoe manufacturer Toms Shoes, famous for its eco-friendly alpargata shoes, also launched a new line of flats earlier this month.

Its ballet flats come in 14 different materials including burlap, suede and linen. A secret wedge inserted into the foot bed allows the wearer to walk comfortably for many hours without feeling tired.

Yet no matter how popular flats are this season, experts insist they still come with one restriction: They should not be worn by short women.

“Flats were made for tall women, but the thing is, short women want to wear them, too, and many have asked me for tips on how to avoid a fashion disaster if they do decide to wear them,” said stylist Kim Woori, who often works with celebrities like Kim Hye-soo (“Modern Boy,” 2008) and Lee Yo-won (“The Recipe,” 2010).

“First, you should know that it’s hard to look good in flats if you are small. But if you insist on wearing them, there are a few rules.

“If you have pudgy legs, then match the shoes with leggings. If you have beautiful legs despite being short, then match the shoes with skinny pants or pair them with leggings and skirts,” Kim said. Stylist Kim Sung-il agrees.

“Never, ever wear flats if you’re short,” he said.

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