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[Movie 2007] Black House 검은집


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July 24, 2007

Korean Box Office 2007.07.20 ~ 2007.07.22

Title - Weekend Admissions - Total Nationwide Admissions

1. Die Hard 4 - 698,500- 1,465,100

2. Harry Potter 5- 427,800- 3,001,600

3. Transformers. 386,800 -6,508,600

4. Alone- 137,400- 295,800

5. The Cut 71,000-- 529,700

6. Mighty Morphin (2007) 31,100- 66,000

7. Black House 6,800- 1,314,600

8. The Descent 3,500- 227,900

9. Lady Chatterley 2,100- 9,300

10. Shrek the Third 1,300- 2,819,600

Posted by Mike McStay at http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/korean-box...07072020070722/

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REVIEW The Black House (Geom-eun Gip)

Written by luna6

Movie : The Black House / Geom-eun Gip / 검은집

Year : 2007

Country : South Korea

Director : Shin Tae-ra

Starring : Jeong-min Hwang (Jun-Oh), Yu Sun (E-Hwa), Shin-il Kang (Choong Bae)

Run Time : 104 Minutes

Rating : 8.5

Plot Synopsis : During his first day as an insurance agent, Jun-Oh, receives a phone call from a lady enquiring if a life insurance policy could be collected if someone commits suicide. A few days later Jun-Oh is asked to personally come to the home of an insurance policy holder.

When Jun-Oh arrives at their home he is greeted by a grim man. They talk for a little while, before the father asks the insurance agent to go into their son’s room and have a talk with him. When the insurance agent opens the son’s door he finds the boy hanging from a noose, dead from an apparent suicide.

The father then shows up Jun-Oh’s office and asks for the money pertaining to his son’s life insurance policy. Jun-Oh is suspicious of the man and tells him he has to wait until the coroner’s report comes in. The man becomes furious and then leaves. The father returns the next day and the next day and the next day. Finally Jun-Oh’s boss decides to pay the man his son’s life insurance policy. Jun-Oh’s life doesn’t return to normal and in fact descends further downward because of a stalker that may well be the insurance policy holder that they just paid off.

Movie Review : Horror movies don’t usually scare me. Outside of Ju-On I haven’t even seen a horror movie I liked. Furthermore, Korean “horror” movies I usually avoid like the plague, because they generally suck more than the average horror flick (way to formulaic and a whole bunch of nonsense). Well to my surprise “The Black House” is one Korean horror movie that did not suck and in fact had me squirming in my seat throughout the horrifying climax.

Don’t let the title “The Black House” fool you into thinking this is your typical Asian horror film. You won’t see any pale face kids standing in a dark corridor, with grating sound effects blasted for shock value. Black House actually has more in common with psychological/serial killer movies like Silence of the Lambs, Saw, and Takashi Miike’s Audition. The film is based on a popular Japanese novel by Yusuke Kishi. At times during the riveting finale I felt like I was sitting on a ride in a amusement park rather than a chair in a cinema. This was mainly due to the audience gasping or shrieking in loud unison during those chaotic final moments. Although I didn’t scream as much as the rest of the audience, I did squirm around in my chair more than anyone else, much like a frightened passenger on a speeding New York taxi cab. It was fun!

One of my favorite actors in Korea would definitely be Jeong-Min Hwang (A Good Lawyer’s Wife, My Lovely Week, You Are My Sunshine, Bloody Tie) and he would be the primary reason why I even checked out Black House. I don’t recall ever seeing a bad performance by him and you won’t find such a performance in Black House either. Jeong-Min Hwang’s Jun-Oh character was different than his past characters, in that Jun-Oh is meek. He is haunted by the suicide of his own younger brother, which he feels responsible for. Yet as the story developed Jeong-Min Hwang was able to inject a subtle show of strength in Jun-Oh character’s that made him more admirable. Shin-il Kang, who played the deranged father, was even more impressive. He was able to portray a psychotic tendency that was so intense that it was downright scary to even watch him at times. His wife, played by Yu Sun, gave another strong performance, that at times reminded me of the stepmom in “A Tale Of Two Sisters.”

There’s not many weak points in Black House. I guess some can point to certain moments feeling like it was inspired by other horror films (Silence of the Lambs/Saw/Audition), but I didn’t mind the influences as much because the movie’s uniqueness and exceptional build up to those absolutely terrifying finale made me forget about any similiarities. Like I said earlier, I was way to busy squirming in my chair to think about anything more than what would happen next.

Quite frankly, the boogie man and ghosts don’t scare me, but psychotic people do. There are some absolutely terrifying moments in Black House along with characters that are the pure definitions of psychopaths. Perhaps Black House will set the grounds for more psychological thrillers from Korea that are not centered around pale face kids appearing in the hallways of an abandoned home. If so I would gladly welcome such move. When you watch “Black House,” try to watch it with a group of friends. The movie is scary, thrilling and 100% fun.

For pics and comments, source & gratitude to http://lunapark6.com/black-house-geom-eun-gip.html

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Wednesday, 08 August 2007

"Black House"

Written by Derek Elley

Geomeun Jib (South Korea)

A CJ Entertainment release and presentation of a CJ Entertainment production, in association with Kadokawa Partnership, MBC. (International sales: CJ, Seoul.) Produced by Yu Il-han. Executive producer, Kim Ju-seong. Co-producer, Taiichi Inoue.

Directed by Shin Tae-ra. Screenplay, Lee Yeong-jong, based on the novel "The Black House" (Kuroi ie) by Yusuke Kishi; adaptation, Kim Seong-ho, Ahn Jae-hun.

With: Hwang Jeong-min, Yu Seon, Gang Shin-il, Kim Seo-hyeong.

Style and splatter go hand-in-hand in "Black House," a full-bore K-horror picture that's proved the first hit of South Korea's traditional summer scarers, with a meaty $8 million-plus in four weeks. Widescreen chiller about a series of grisly murders investigated by an insurance adjuster more than delivers the goods, making this a tasty pickup for Western distribs with genre labels attached.

Script derives from a 1997 hit novel by Japan's Yusuke Kishi that was filmed in 1999 by Yoshimitsu Morita as "The Black House." Present version, by sophomore helmer Shin Tae-ra ("Brainwave"), ditches Morita's unsuccessful formula of thrills and black comedy and goes for straight drama, ratcheting up the tension with glacial lensing, intense perfs, a powerful soundtrack and modern-gothic production design by Jo Hwa-seong that's right on the money.

Usually seen in tough-guy roles ("A Bittersweet Life"), an almost unrecognizable Hwang Jeong-min plays geeky, bespectacled bank employee-turned-insurance investigator Jeon Jun-oh. As an opening scene shows, Jeon's boss is not above using hired muscle to scare clients into signing away their rights.

Jeon is requested by name to visit a potential client in a grim-looking house in the sticks. The owner, rough-looking Park Chung-bae (Gang Shin-il) seems jittery and suspicious -- which is nothing next to what Jeon feels when he sees Park's 7-year-old son hanging from the ceiling in an adjacent room. Even weirder is Park's grieving wife, Shin Yi-hwa (Yu Seon), who's lame and has signs of a suicide attempt on her wrist.

Jeon becomes convinced that Park, who seems to fit all the requirements of a social psychopath, is running an insurance scam, and after killing his own son is now after Shin as well. The cops aren't convinced of any foul play, but Jeon, who's also saddled with guilt over the death of his brother when they were kids, becomes drawn deeper and deeper into the case. As he slowly goes off the rails, he uncovers a simple truth that finally imperils both him and his wife, Mi-na (Kim Seo-hyeong).

The Big Twist comes about an hour into the movie, which then piles on the thrills in one set piece after another -- starting with a wonderfully nasty sequence in which a flossing thug meets his just desserts courtesy of a railroad train. Pic's apparent finale, set in a stygian human abattoir, recalls "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" in its use of claustrophobia, and manages to suspend disbelief at all the shenanigans through the relentless piling-on of horror.

Casting is on the button, with Hwang underplaying the main role and giving the stage to the other thesps, among whom Gang and Yu are first-rate as the husband and wife. Underneath all its frills, "Black House" is a simple story, expertly staged -- a full-on scarefest, with perfs to match.

Camera (color, widescreen), Choi Ju-yeong; editor, Nam Na-yeong; music, Choi Seung-hyeon; production designer, Jo Hwa-seong; costume designer, Shin Seung-heui; visual effects, Enerzi Studio; sound (Dolby Digital), Kim Beom-su. Reviewed at CGV 7, Bucheon, South Korea, July 14, 2007. Running time: 103 MIN.

Source: Variety Asia Online

http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/1833/53/

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August 29, 2007

PARK Chan-wook’s Film in Sitges Competition

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The 40th Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival selected PARK Chan-wook’s I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Ok and SHIN Terra’s Black House for their main program Official Fantastic, as competitors.

The Official Fantastic section is the pulse of the festival with a wide range of fantastic films. The Catalan film festival is one of the three top international fantastic film festivals. The festival will run this year from October 4 until the 14th in Sitges, near Barcelona.

I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Ok was the much anticipated latest film of director PARK. Korean pop star Rain/JUNG Ji-hoon and leading actress LIM Soo-jung star as two mental patients in PARK’s visual distinctive mental institution. PARK’s films like Joint Security Area(JSA) and Oldboy have often been received positively at international film festivals.

Black House is a thriller/horror film and held the number one position at the Korean box office this summer. HWANG Jung-min has been much praised by Korean reviewers for his acting in this film.

Yi Ch’ang-ho (KOFIC)

http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/KOFIC/Channel?...Gesimul_SNO=767

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Black House (검은 집) Available for Pre-Order

Posted by Jon Pais at 10:01am

http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/korean-dvd...-for-pre-order/

Adapted from a best-selling novel by Japanese author Yûsuke Kishi, Shin Tae-ra’s sophomore outing Black House might depart significantly from its source material, but it has earned praise for avoiding so many of the clichés that plague Korean horror films while delivering some genuine scares. Lead actor Hwang Jeong-min (You Are My Sunshine, 2005) plays a mild-mannered insurance adjuster who falls prey to a psychopath (Shin-il Kang) while investigating a suspicious claim involving the apparent suicide of his 7-year-old son. Yoo Sun (The Wig, 2005) turns in a fine performance as the child’s handicapped mother. The single-disc Limited Edition DVD distributed by CJ Entertainment is encoded region 3 and offers English subtitles (on feature only).

Pre-Order DVD (Available September 22nd)

http://us.yesasia.com/assocred.asp?E1H175J...pid-1005025348/

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October 8, 2007

Korean industry pushes horror revival

Asian Film Market sees genre's creative renewal

By DARCY PAQUET

Korean tradition has it that a good fright is the best way to fend off the summer heat.

So it's the rare Korean producer who doesn't try to time the release of a horror film for between June and August.

As a result, the Asian Film Market often is the place where all these horror films are made available to buyers for the first time.

koreanhorrorvm2.jpg

Although internationally Asian horror may be considered old news,

in Korea this year there is a sense that the genre experienced a bit of a creative renewal.

From traditional horror pics in new settings such as "Muoi" (shot in Vietnam) or "Cadaver" (set in a medical school), to novel adaptation "Black House," to the atmospheric 1940s-set "Epitaph" to genre films that borrow horror elements such as medical thriller "Wide Awake" and period mystery "Shadows in the Palace," viewers experienced a wide diversity of styles and subject matter this year.

Korean sales companies will be hoping that a little of this creative juice can be turned into export dollars.

"Particularly for Latin American and European markets, horror is still one of the more vibrant genres for us," said Tom Oh of CJ Entertainment. "We have seen some declining interest in the genre in Asia, but on the whole horror works well on DVD and is one of our strongest sellers."

Locally, horror titles did not escape the overall decline in admissions that has the Korean film industry wringing its hands this year.

Best-grossing film among this year's releases was CJ Entertainment's Korean-Japanese co-production "Black House," which opened at No. 1 in late June and ultimately earned close to $10 million.

Based on a Japanese novel, the film featured high production values and a well-known star in Hwang Jeong-min.

Two debut films, Studio 2.0's "Epitaph" and CJ Entertainment's "Wide Awake," had the bad luck to be sharing screens with megahits "D-War" and "May 18" in early August, and topped out in the $4 million range.

Both films earned strong buzz from viewers and critics, however. The former, set in a Seoul hospital during World War II, was the beneficiary of an online petition by cult fans to keep the film in theaters. "I feel 'Epitaph' was the best Korean horror film of this year," said film critic Jeon Chan-il. "It was shot with a confidence that is really unusual for debut directors."

Meanwhile, another debut film, mystery "Shadows in the Palace," is drawing good buzz ahead of its Oct. 18 release.

Pic, a murder yarn set in the women's quarters of a Joseon Dynasty palace, premiered in competition at the San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival, and is one of the films most heavily promoted by CJ Entertainment at this year's Asian Film Market.

Source: Variety.com

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=fe...973638&cs=1

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Thursday, 11 October 2007

Splendid deal for CJ Entertainment

Written by Darcy Paquet

In the first major deal by a Korean seller at the Asian Film Market, CJ Entertainment has sold a package of four films to Splendid for Germany.

Titles include horror pic "Black House," a CJ Entertainment- Kadokawa co-production based on a Japanese novel; CJ's New York set "West 32nd" by Korean- American director Michael Kang; former PPP project "Wide Awake," a medical thriller that earned strong reviews on its August release; and library title "Puzzle."

Source: Variety Asia

http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/4663/53/

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Credits to Lunapark 6

December 29, 2007

LP6’s Top 10 Movies of 2007

Posted by luna6

01. “Secret Sunshine” - The movie is bleak, dark, and depressing. Yet there’s still hope at the end, however fleeting it may feel. I did think “Secret Sunshine” shared a kindred spirit of sorts with Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger.” Well deserved best actress award was also given to Jeon Do-Yeon at this year’s Cannes. Her performance was just electrifying.

02. “Ploy” - Pen-Ek Ratanaruang’s “Ploy” takes the dreamy feel of his prior film “Invisible Waves” but wraps it around a far more tangible storyline. On its most basic level the movie deals impressively with the insecurities in a relationship, but from there, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang weaves his own idiosyncratic cinematic magic.

03. “Exodus” - Wacky story that draws you in from the beginning with its surreal “A Clockword Orange” like opening scene, then goes further down an unpredictable satire path. Stanley Kubrick would have loved this film.

04. “Epitaph” - An unexpected surprise for myself. The movie is set during the Japanese occupation of South Korea (how often do you see that?), with three loosely related stories wrapped together in a horror movie veneer. Visuals are second to none.

05. “Black House” - Might not have the most original story, but for sheer thrills “Black House” throws it down wave after wave. I’ve never had as much fun in a cinema than watching “Black House” at a packed theatre in downtown Daegu, South Korea. The audience shrieked and screamed in unison like they were riding a roller coaster.

06. “Happiness” - Jin Jo Hur’s fourth movie dealing with bittersweet relationships, but “Happiness” rightfully stands on its own. Everything from the visuals to the pairing of Jeong-min Hwang and Su-jeong Lim made me feel a bit in awe.

07. “A Gentle Breeze In The Village” - What this movie lacks in plot development is made up in spades by scene after scene of the most charming vignettes on small town life and the coming of age of two precious teenagers.

08a. “Boys of Tomorrow” - Korean indie flick centered around two brothers that grew up on the wrong side of town. Gripping drama, with some harrowing scenes. This could have easily ranked anywhere from #3 - #8.

08b. “A Good Day To Have An Affair” - The topic of illicit affairs is covered in many South Korean films but not many can equal the fun found in “A Good To Have an Affair.” Goofy comedy, that features strong performances all around, highlighted by Hye-Su Kim’s nutty housewife character. There’s a poignant message left in the film as well.

09. “Lost In Beijing” - Strong film centered around an affair, adoption, and money. The movie also brings to light the problems of a burgeoning capitalist system in Beijing.

10. “Sakuran” - This one is all about style and visuals. The movie itself is about as deep as the fish tanks often shown in the film, but so what? Lots of fun to be had in Sakuran, none more so than seeing traditional ideals twisted inside and out.

For complete write-up, please refer source at http://lunapark6.com/lp6s-top-movies-of-2007.html

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March 12, 2008

Complete Danger After Dark Lineup For Philadelphia 2008 Announced!

Posted by Todd Brown

Though this year will be the second in a row that I’m not able to attend the Philadelphia International Film Festival it’s certainly not for a lack of love. With an extensive program thoroughly dominated by international and independent film, great theaters and friendly staff my stints in Philly rank at the very top of my festival experiences. Seriously, it’s a great time and I recommend it highly. And today you have a whole bunch more reasons to go, with the festival announcing their complete lineup for the Danger After Dark program along with a fistful of other titles. What’s coming? Bad Biology, Epitaph, Jack Brooks Monster Slayer, Mirageman, Soo, Timecrimes, Stuck, Triangle and more. As for genre stuff scattered throughout the main programs you get Vexille, The Forbidden Kingdom, Summer Scars, Blood Brothers among others. It’s a great lineup and you’ll find more below the break ...

2008 DANGER AFTER DARK presented by TLA Entertainment Group

Official Selections at the 17th Philadelphia Film Festival - April 3- 15, 2008

Buy tickets, full schedule online beginning March 17, 20047 at http://www.phillyfests.com

Basic facts about 2008 Danger After Dark program

· Tailored to be a fantastic festival like Fantasia, Sitges, Dead Channels – the Danger After Dark program, taking place in the Philadelphia Film Festival is dedicated to films exploring extreme

ways of telling stories; horror, fantasy, science fiction, animation, dark comedies and adventures.

· Expanded to 19 films, include an archival screening of Like a Shooting Star.

· 11 countries represented including Chile, Italy, South Korea, Thailand, Canada, Sweden and Denmark.

2008 PHANTASMAGORIA AWARD

Frank Henenlotter

Director of Basket Case, Brain Dead and Frankenhooker will be present to receive award and present the World Premiere screening of his latest film, Bad Biology on Friday, April 4, 2008 in Philadelphia

Bad Biology

Directed by Frank Henenlotter (World Premiere)

Ribald, frisky and souped-up genitals invade Danger After Dark, as the director of Frankenhooker and Basket Case invites you to fasten your seatbelts for one of the raunchiest, most original horror comedies of the year. Cast members will be in attendance!

Black House

Directed by Sin Tae-Ra

Korean horror continues to cross new boundaries with this nail-biting thriller about an insurance agent peeling back the mysteries of a creepy house only to find terrors beyond his imagination.

Confession of Pain

Directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak

From the makers of Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs (remade stateside as Scorsese’s Oscar-winner The Departed, sophisticated and violent cop drama Confession of Pain proves a worthy, dark successor—with a twist, of course.

Dead Fury

Directed by FSudol (World Premiere)

If decapitations, flying eyeballs and disembowelment (emphasis on “bowels”) are your cup of goo, then don’t miss this adults-only animated horror parody from the imagination of animator and illustrator, F. Sudol.

Epitaph

Directed by Jung Brothers (Philadelphia Premiere)

A chill is in their air as unrequited, obsessive love is swept up in a sea of blood in this South Korean box office sensation that takes Asian horror in a new direction.

Eye in the Sky

Directed by Nai-Hoi Yau (Philadelphia Premiere)

This action film from producer Johnnie To (Triad Election) follows a young woman’s dangerous mission to catch wily jewel thieves amidst the concrete jungle of Hong Kong.

Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

Directed by Jon Knautz (East Coast)

Monsters invade Danger After Dark and who is left to save the day? Jack Brooks, plumber extraordinaire, in this loving, hilarious and thrilling ode to monster movies and monster slayers.

The Last House in the Woods

Directed by Gabriele Albanesi (East Coast)

In this Italian screamfest, a young couple seeks solace from a group of sadistic bullies at a mysterious house, only to discover that their place of refuge harbors even darker secrets.

Like a Shooting Star

Directed by Toshio Masuda (Retro screening)

Filled with pop-art colors, a musical number(!), and some of the best on-screen romantic pairing since Hepburn and Tracy, this jazzy action classic from Japan’s Nikkatsu studio tells the story of a Tokyo hitman who falls into a dangerous love affair while hiding out in Kobe.

Mirageman

Directed by Ernesto Díaz Espinoza (East Coast)

An unlikely superhero emerges from the streets of Santiago to fight crime in this thrill ride that’s often funny and always action-packed.

Pistoleros

Directed by Shaky González (East Coast)

A gun-toting romp through the mean streets of…Copenhagen? Chilean-born, Danish-reared first-time director Shaky Gonzalez scoops up the baton from Robert Rodriguez in this madcap tale of a heist gone awry and a hunt for missing millions.

Soo

Directed by Sai Yoichi (Choi Yang-Il) (Philadelphia Premiere)

This unflinching drama of violence and revenge makes for classic DAD fare. Korean-Japanese director Yoichi Sai’s brutal film follows a policeman on a deranged crusade to avenge his twin brother’s death at the hands of a ruthless gang of thugs. You want dark? You got it.

The Sperm

Directed by Taweewat Wantha (North America)

Comical mayhem ensues when the citizens of Bangkok are invaded by mutated sperm, masturbating clone babies, busty alien babes and a 50-foot rock star in this crazy mash-up of sci-fi, fantasy and cheeky, teen sex comedies.

Storm

Directed by Måns Mårlind, Björn Stein (North America)

Gut-punching action, gory murders and Matrix-style special effects await you in the ultimate edge-of-your-seat thrill ride!

Stuck

Directed by Stuart Gordon (Philadelphia Premiere)

Based on a true story that inspired a delirious urban legend, filmmaker Stuart Gordon brings you an edge-of-your-seat thriller with his signature brand of unexpected humor, social commentary and red, delicious bloodshed.

Timecrimes

Directed by Nacho Vigalondo (East Coast)

Spanish newcomer Nacho Vigalondo explodes onto the scene with this time travel thriller that boasts more twists and turns than The Usual Suspects.

Trailer Park of Terror

Directed by Steven Goldmann (East Coast)

Saddle up for countrified horror served with dirty double entendres, teens in jeopardy and road kill jerky as the popular comic series from Reading, PA-based Imperium Comics hits the big screen!

Triangle

Directed by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam, Johnnie To (East Coast)

Explosive comedy and action-packed adventure erupt as premier Hong Kong directors Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To collaborate to tell a story about three friends’ quest for buried treasure.

Who is KK Downey?

Directed by Darren Curtis and Pat Kiely (Philadelphia Premiere)

Skinny jean enthusiasts beware as the hipster body count piles up in this filthy, expletive-driven and extremely dark satire about the seduction of fame and a counter-culture filled with rampant sex, drugs and electro-pop terror.

Winner of the 2008 Cinequest New Visions Maverick Award.

Credits -

Complete line-up at http://twitchfilm.net/site/view/complete-d...2008-announced/

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April 4, 2008

Black House and May 18 to be released in Japan

Japanese Kadokawa announced the release dates of SHIN Terra’s horror film Black House (Geomeun Jib) and KIM Ji-hoon’s May 18 (Hwaryohan Hyooga), the films will open on Japanese screens on April 5 and May 10, respectively.

Black House, a domestic box office hit, stars HWANG Jung-min (You Are My Sunshine/Neoneun Nae Woonmyeong) in an impressive psychological charged role as an insurance agent who gets drawn in a suicide case in a mysterious house. Director SHIN’s (Brainwave) film is based on a Japanese novel of the popular horror writer Kishi Yusuke.

After his Mokpo Gangster’s Paradise, director KM Ji-hoon’s next film May 18 was highly anticipated and the film about the Gwangju civilian uprising against the military dictatorship was a box office success of 2007. The film’s strong line-up includes AHN Sung-ki (Silmido) and LEE Jun-ki (King and the Clown). LEE enjoys great popularity in Japan and starred in the Korean-Japanese co-production Virgin Snow (Cheotnoon) alongside Miyazaki Aoi (Nana).

Yi Ch'ang-ho (KOFIC)

http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/KOFIC/Channel/

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April 24, 2008 -- please beware potential spoilers --

Udine Report: THE BLACK HOUSE Review

Posted by Todd Brown

poster3i.jpg

The Korean adaptation of a famous Japanese novel, word is that The Black House plays a little bit fast and loose with its source material. It’s a situation that might upset fans of the original work but as someone coming to the film fresh, The Black House is one hell of a fun ride, an impressive work from a young director that starts off as an above-average psycho-thriller before taking a hard turn into slasher territory. Yes, it’s finally something different in the world of Asian horror with no hair ghosts to be found, in their place just one compellingly heartless killer with a great big knife.

Popular character actor Hwang Jung-Min – if you’re at all a fan of current Korean film you’ll have seen him on screen more than a few times – gets a rare leading role as Jun-o, a man haunted by a tragic past just starting a new job as an insurance claims adjuster. He seems an odd fit for the job, overly compassionate he becomes emotionally involved in the situations his clients present – a trait that makes him an easy target for those looking to simply work the system. Is that what’s happening when a new client requests him by name to come out to his home and address some policy issues, a trip during which Jun-o discovers the lifeless body of the family’s young son hanging from a noose in his bedroom?

It’s an apparent suicide but Jun-o becomes convinced that he’s being used, that the boy’s step-father is a killer motivated by greed for the insurance money. When he can’t get the police to listen, Jun-o steps in himself. He launches his own investigation and warns the wife that she is in danger herself, that if the child was killed for insurance money she may well be next in line since she is insured for even more. Bad move. There is a killer and the killer is now angry. Jun-o’s voice mail fills daily with silent messages. His mail goes missing. The head of his girlfriend’s dog is delivered to his door wrapped in newspaper. Maybe it would have been better to just keep his mouth shut but it’s too late for that and soon the bodies begin to pile up.

In the early going The Black House feels like simply an above average entry into the Korean psycho-thriller category. Jun-o’s history is played with a strongly melodramatic twist, the early mystery played as a standard investigation film, interest maintained largely through the strong performance of Hwang. It’s nothing you haven’t seen done before but it’s done well enough to keep you engaged. Director Shin Terra, making his studio picture debut here, is too much of a genre fan to leave things there, however, and once he makes the turn into darker territory he does so with gusto and the film develops into a satisfyingly full blooded slasher, a genre seldom touched on in Korea.

Blessed with stellar set design and art direction, Black House ends up being a legitimately unsettling bit of work. The kills are inventive, the gore shocking, the characters compelling. Put it all together and what you have may not be high art but it’s certainly proof that in Shin Terra Korea has one very skilled genre director on their hands, the film’s only mis-step being a series of false endings that bogs things down slightly in the waning moments. I’ll be very surprised if the source novel for the film isn’t optioned for a US version very soon – if it hasn’t been already – and be on the lookout for whatever Shin comes up with next.

Credits: twitchfilm.net

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Guest Greener

The film made to excited a good level. I tried to follow that why did the killer difficult died?

I like watch thriller movie.this movie is valid ruthless for me.

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April 24, 2008

Black House

BOTTOM LINE: Downbeat thriller shifts from noir territory to stalk-'n'-slash horror with compelling smoothness.

By Neil Young

Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival

AMSTERDAM -- The darker side of the insurance business is explored in "Black House," another example of how current Korean cinema is re-energizing seemingly worn-out genres. Shin Terra's domestically money-spinning condensation of a 400-page 1997 Japanese novel (previously filmed in 1999 by Morita Yoshimitsu) has rather narrow international appeal, and will likely make its biggest impact via DVD and adventurous-minded festivals.

"The people are all frauds -- we need to stay sharp" is the philosophy espoused by bosses at the insurance company whose latest recruit is 30-ish Jun-Oh (Hwang Jun-min). This earnest, bumbling Clark Kent lookalike is a sensitive idealist whose optimism lands him in major trouble when his services are requested by morose, reclusive Chung-bae (Kang Shin-il). Visiting the forbidding, remote residence, which gives the film its title, Jun-oh discovers Chung-bae's young stepson hanging in his bedroom. He suspects homicide rather than the suicide.

Chung-bae's increasingly intimidating and erratic behavior convinces Jun-oh that's he's become the "prey" of a textbook psychopath. The client is presented as such an obvious heavy, however, that only the doziest audiences will fail to sniff a major "twist" in the offing. This duly arrives just after halfway, and "Black House" then segues from clammy, slowburning atmospherics and "Double Indemnity"-style intrigues to more Grand-Guignol chills, climaxing in an extended sequence in a stygian charnel-house of a basement where the gory cruelties rival those of Miike Takashi's notorious "Audition."

Second-time director Shin has assembled a slick, classy package, considerably boosted by Choi Ju-young's widescreen compositions and Choi Seung-hyun's ominous piano-and-strings score (subtly incorporating several nods to Bernard Herrmann's classic work on Hitchcock's "Psycho"). "Black House" has considerable remake potential, although a needlessly protracted finale (two endings and a coda) cries out for brutal trimming.

BLACK HOUSE

A CJ Entertainment/Kadokawa Partnership production

Sales: CJ Entertainment

Credits:

Director: Shin Terra

Writer: Lee Young-jong, Kim Sung-ho

Based on the novel by: Yusuke Kishi

Producer: Yoo Il-han

Director of photography: Choi Joo-young

Production designer: Jo Haw-seong

Music: Choi Seung-hyun

Co-producer: Taiichi Inoue

Costume designer: Shin Seung-heui

Editor: Nam Na-young

Cast:

Jun-oh: Hwang Jung-min

Park Chunh-bae: Kang Shin-il

Shin Yi-hwa: Yoo Se-on

Mi-na: Kim Seo-hyeong

Running time -- 103 minutes

No MPAA rating

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/conten...b1dbc5b2488bf53

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June 12, 2008

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter 'Black House'

A meek but kind insurance salesman Jeon Jun-O (Hwang Jeong-Min, "Happiness") is handpicked by a creepy metalworker, Park Choong-Bae (Kang Shin-Il, "Silmido"), for renewal of the policies on the his family. Visiting Park's spectacularly decrepit adobe, Jun-O ends up discovering the body of Park's young son, apparently a suicide.

Meeting Choong-Bae's wife Yi-Hwa (Yu Sun, "The Wig"), a pale beauty who has seemingly exhausted her capacity for grief, Jun-O begins to suspect that the boy's death was in fact a murder, and that she is next in line.

What Jun-O does not understand is that his small act of kindness (and breach of professional ethics) over a phone consultation has already ensnared him in a web of deceit, mutilation and murder, spun by a psychopath who makes Norman Bates in "Psycho" look like SpongeBob SquarePants.

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©2008 Genius Entertainment/CJ Entertainment

A Japan-Korea coproduction, "Black House" is based on Japanese writer Kishi Yusuke's award-winning early novel, having been filmed once in 1999 by Morita Yoshimitsu ("Family Game"), also scheduled to debut this summer on Region 1 DVD. Unfortunately, it emulates the strategy of Hollywood remakes of the J-horror, by boosting up volume and scare tactics but largely abandons the kind of phlegmatic, deliberately paced terror expected in the high-end Japanese genre literature or film, not to mention the original's superb characterizations.

Lee Jong-Young's screenplay invents a rather hackneyed childhood trauma for Jun-O, while reducing one of the novel's most fascinating and complex characters, the company "enforcer" Miyoshi, into a crude thug with a fondness for dental floss.

Helmer Shin Terra is clearly an inventive filmmaker but has some way to go before mastering storytelling skills. Those who have not read the novel might be befuddled by the sequences that are in turn confusingly presented, inadequately explained or simply illogical. (Did Choong-Bae bite off his thumb or not? And all children who have dreams of flying off into the air in a swing are supposed to grow up to be psychos? Maybe that explains Ann Coulter.)

Despite these weaknesses, however, "Black House" works. Like, say, "Blood Rain," the movie's power is greatly enhanced by its colorful production design (supervised by Jo Hwa-Sung) and competent cinematography/lighting (Choe Joo-Young and Lee Sung-Jae). The psychopath's lair, with its makeshift abattoir-operating room ambience, smeared with blood and filth, is impressively frightening.

Hwang Jeong-Min, one of the most reliable character actors working in Korea today, makes for a thoroughly believable and sympathetic hero. Yu Sun, fragile-looking but strangely alluring, provides an interesting contrast to the Morita version's slightly whacky but memorable performance by Otake Shinobu, and admirably holds her own against Hwang.

It is a tribute to their chemistry and Hwang's superior acting ability that you completely believe that Jun-O could be so frightened of Yi-Hwa, when, if you stop to think for a moment after the movie, their confrontation should look in real life like a grizzly bear cowering in terror before a hissing mountain cat.

In one important aspect, the film happily does not follow a Hollywood cliche. It culminates in a series of rather preposterous but extremely suspenseful Grand Guignol confrontations, but the monster remains the monster to the bitter end. Neither sexual abuse during childhood, nor Freudian psychoanalysis nor the "unrequited desire to be loved" is dredged up to explain away why it became the way it did.

By honoring Kishi's open-ended conclusion and putting the utterly conscienceless (but not unattractive) monster at the center of the movie, "Black House" ultimately recovers much of the goodwill initially lost by the rather slapdash way the novel was adapted.

DVD Presentation:

Genius Entertainment. NTSC. Dual Layer. Region 1. Video: Anamorphic Widescreen, 2.35:1. Audio: Korean Dolby Digital 5.0. Subtitles: English. Supplement: Making-of featurette, production design featurette, deleted scenes. Retail Price: $24.95. Release Date: April 22, 2008.

"Black House," a potentially appropriate title for the Tartan Extreme Asia label, is again directly released by Genius Entertainment. The transfer is good, if not outstanding. It retains a bit of the high-contrast, heavily filtered, edge-enhancement-spotted look familiar from Korean DVDs. Color scheme faithfully approximates the theatrical experience, not slipping too much into sickly yellow or brownish muck, and sporting nicely balanced cold blue and gray in key scenes.

Korean Dolby Digital 5.0 track is adequate to good, with some serious bang-up sound effects during the last 20 minutes.

English subs are high quality, providing translations of key texts as well as dialogues.

qhyunkim3828242ud9.jpg

©2008 Genius Entertainment

Cover design, however, is pretty hideous, and fails to sell the film's strength: it looks like one for an indifferently put-together haunted-house flick, which "Black House" most definitely is not. They should have used CJ Entertainment's composite poster that shows Hwang Jeong-Min crouching in terror against an unseen assailant.

If US distributors are refusing to put Korean actor's faces in the posters because they are "unknowns" in the US, their logic is a total bunk. Do any of these people make the same argument for American posters for French films? (Quick, name the French actress seen through a keyhole in the poster for "With a Friend Like Harry"!)

The supplements are fairly generous, carried over from Region 3 DVD, with OK English subtitles. The making-of documentary is rather subdued, with director Shin, Hwang and Yu taking turns and discussing such topics as the difference between the novel and the screenplay. It clocks at around 20 minutes.

A shorter piece (seven minutes) on production design is more interesting, interspersed with full-blown architectural designs of the black house itself and other onscreen sets. Designer Jo reveals, among interesting tidbits, that the design concept for the psychopath's lair was a public bathhouse from '70s, fallen into disuse for 30 years.

Deleted scenes are mostly character-expanding scenes for Jun-O working as an insurance agent. It does include a cameo appearance by the author Kishi as a Japanese customer.

"Black House" is a robust, muscular horror film, rather effective as a gut-wrenching, red-meat example of its type. While not entirely satisfactory as an adaptation of Kishi Yusuke's novel, it is nonetheless recommended to the horror and thriller fans.

Source: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/ar...24&rel_no=1

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Guest Bijan630

This was a pretty good movie. It's great for a late Saturday night horror flick. It was suspenseful, twisted, and dark. It's been a while since I first watched it, but the title alone would never let me forget it.

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November 12, 2010

Founder of largest English K-pop site 'Soompi'

Korean-American web developer creates first global online community devoted to K-pop, Asian entertainment

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia cathy@koreatimes.co.kr

101112_p12_founder1.jpg

Main page of the ultimate K-pop site “Soompi”

If you’re looking for news about a SuperJunior concert, reviews for a 2NE1 album, recaps of Korean drama "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" or simply anything about Korean entertainment, chances are you’ll find it on Soompi.com.

Soompi.com is the oldest and currently the largest English-language online community devoted to Korean and Asian entertainment, with a million unique visitors every month.

Soompi has come a long way from its early days as a personal online shrine devoted to K-pop started by Korean-American Susan Kang in 1998.

"I had recently graduated from college with nothing much to do. As a recent fan of both K-pop and the Internet (AOL was all the rage), I noticed that there weren't any English-language sites devoted to Korean pop music or TV dramas, so I purchased a book called `Make Your Own Website with Microsoft Word '97’, and the rest, as they say, is history," Kang said, now a 35-year-old mother living in Irvine, Calif., in an email interview with The Korea Times.

Kang’s original site, Soompitown, was fairly simple. She would just upload photos of her favorite K-pop acts like H.O.T., S.E.S., Shinhwa and FinKL and English translations of Korean magazine articles, as well as post CD audio samples and her own album reviews. Basically, Kang ran the website out of "love" for K-pop.

(If you’re wondering about the meaning of Soompi, it simply refers to a nickname that a roommate’s family gave Kang in college.)

101112_p12_founder2.jpg

In the early 2000s, hallyu or the Korean wave began spreading around Asia and international fans discovered Soompi, the first website that actually provided English-language information about their favorite Korean stars.

Soon Soompi became more and more popular, requiring more servers and more technical expertise. A team of volunteers helped moderate the forums and post content on the website, but Kang, who also worked full-time as a web developer, was running the website on her own as a hobby and it was starting to feel burdensome.

For one, it was getting expensive to pay for the server fees out of her own pocket, although it was partially funded by member donations and small ad buys.

Then came the fateful day, Oct. 5, 2005, when the entire Soompi website crashed. Its entire database of 80,000 members and millions of forum posts was gone. "I seriously thought of just making that the end of Soompi, as I'd been running the site as a hobby for seven years at that point, and was paying for the servers completely out of my own pocket," she said.

"The turning point was when we re-opened an empty forum with 0 members and 0 posts, and within 5 days, we already had 40,000 members. That's when I knew that Soompi was bigger and more important than just one person's hobby."

Soon, it became apparent that a more serious, business-oriented approach to Soompi was needed.

In 2006, Joyce Lan Kim, a lawyer then working for technology firms in Silicon Valley, joined Soompi to handle the business side, albeit on a part-time basis.

"I joined the company, working on advertising and thinking of ways the company can break even. Susan never started this with business in mind. It was always just about fun. It was about bringing K-pop to the people. But how we make this sustainable is our job," Kim told The Korea Times at a coffee shop in downtown Seoul, last week.

Last year, Kang and Kim both decided to leave their full-time jobs and focus on Soompi.

The 33 year old Kim, who studied at Cornell and Harvard universities and received a law degree from Columbia University, had no second thoughts giving up a law career. She sees Soompi as a good business opportunity with K-pop’s potential to expand around the world.

Soompi is may not yet be profitable, but there is no doubt it is an Internet success with 500,000 registered members, and attracts over one million unique visitors every month ("That's like a small city," Kim quipped.) Revenues are currently generated from ads, premium membership and affiliate programs, but not enough for the company to break even.

There may be other K-pop websites that attract more hits, but Soompi has the most activity among community members, such as posting content and comments on the site. "Our success comes from covering such a wide variety of topics - not only the latest K-pop news, but Korean dramas and variety shows, original fan fiction, our own member-run shops, beauty & fashion, among so much more," Kang said.

Aside from sections on entertainment news, fan clubs and beauty & fashion, Soompi also has its own weekly music chart and annual contests, such as Soompi Idol, Soompi Dance Idol, Soompi Ulzzang, fan fiction writing and graphics contests.

All contests were originally started by Soompi members themselves. This year, Soompi Ulzzang Contest, a modeling competition for Soompi members, has become an official event and sponsored by Korean entertainment company Sidus HQ.

Member feedback is invaluable to keeping Soompi relevant. Whenever new features are launched, Soompi looks at the comments from members and makes the appropriate tweaks. Members can also vote for which Soompi fan clubs should be created next, as well as recommend new forums and sub-forums.

Soompi is working to make the site more user-friendly. "It's not a hobby anymore. We have to do it for real. Functionality is very important for us. We are definitely working on making it easier to use, and on getting great content," Kim said.

In terms of technical innovations, the Soompi Street Teams Twitter application is being launched. This will make it easier for fans to get their favorite K-pop idols on Twitter’s top trending topics.

"We wanted to make it easier for everybody to join together and tweet in support of their celebs. Twitter is not just for K-pop, because it's for everyone... Each time a K-pop celebrity ends up as a Twitter topic, people go, `who is this guy?’ Like when (SuperJunior member) Kim Hee-chul was trending on Twitter, everyone was talking about him... We can expose more people to the world of K-pop," Kim said.

An Asian website

Soompi is no longer just devoted to Korean pop music, but Asian pop and entertainment in general. It is also very much a global community, with most members from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia.

The majority or 81 percent of Soompi members are Asian, while 8 percent are white, 5 percent are multi-ethnic and the rest are African-American, Hispanic and other ethnicities. The most surprising fact was 60 to 80 percent of the non-Asian groups said they "know some Korean."

"It’s mostly non-Koreans, as opposed to 7 or 8 years ago when majority were Korean-Americans. Now Korean Americans are a minority on the site. We have ever growing number of people who are not even Asian. We have Caucasians, African-Americans, Middle East, Latin American, South East Asians," Kim said.

Soompi stands out because of its tight-knit community and its members. "Soompi is very community-focused, not just information or gossip-focused. It feels like home to many, and there are many members who have literally grown up on the site ― from Junior High to High School to College to getting married and having children," Kang said.

Noticeably, the Soompi forums are relatively free from the anti-fans and trolls who frequent K-pop websites to post vitriolic comments that rile up fans.

"I think our biggest defining feature is our members. Our members are the ones who do the subtitles, episode recaps and organize fan meetings," Kim said. "We have good members."

Future of Kpop & Soompi

Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that Soompi has helped give a boost to K-pop and Korean entertainment’s popularity among English speakers.

But while K-pop is undeniably big in Asia, there is yet to be a real K-pop breakthrough in the U.S., despite attempts by Rain, Wonder Girls and Se7en. "Honestly, I'm not sure if the U.S. is ready to accept Asians as idols, as Asians are still widely portrayed as awkward geeks or kung fu masters on TV and film, but I do believe it's just a matter of 'when', not 'if'. I hope it's sooner than later," Kang said.

Looking back, Kang admitted being constantly amazed and inspired by the level of commitment and amount of time people will willingly volunteer to support their favorite idols. "Passion will drive people to do crazy and wonderful things," she said.

In the future, Soompi hopes to leverage its brand value as the oldest K-pop online resource, and to continue fanning the flames of K-pop and Asian pop fever around the world.

"In 10 years, I'll be 45 years old. I hope by then, the Soompi community will still be going strong, with the love for Korean and Asian pop being passed to a much wider audience. We'll still be providing the best place for people to express their fandom and meet others who share their passion," Kang said.

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January 2, 2011

Soompi.com shows Hallyu where to go
By Yang Sung-jin (insight@heraldm.com) koreaherald.com

Soompi.com is the world’s biggest English-language online community dedicated to Korean pop culture. It boasts some 1.4 million visitors daily. More importantly, 90 percent of its members are non-Koreans.

The website is widely regarded as a promising social network venture that has secured a solid user base on the strength of Korean cultural content. Softbank of Japan has already invested in Soompi.com and other investors are lining up amid the outlook that the website will emerge as a key gateway to Asian pop culture for English-speaking audiences.

Soompi.com CEO Joyce Kim, who lives in San Francisco, said in an interview that Hallyu is still in the early stages of growth internationally and the website would help foster its development online as “the central online activity hub for all fans of Hallyu and Asian pop.”

Joyce Kim

As for Hallyu, Kim noted that the near absence of a legitimate distribution of Korean pop content is a serious problem that is often neglected by Koreans.

The following are excerpts from the e-mail interview with Kim.

Korea Herald: How did Soompi.com start, and how did you get involved in the site?

Joyce Kim: Soompi was started by my co-founder Susan Kang in 1998 as her own personal website dedicated to her interest in Korean dramas and music. During the initial first few years, Susan would scan Korean entertainment magazine articles, translate them into English and post them on the site. Slowly, a community began to grow around the site and Susan soon had people volunteering to help with the site. As the first Hallyu wave began to grow, the site also began to grow. Soon, there were hundreds of thousands of visitors each month.

I met Susan because she is the older sister of my best friend from law school. We initially started to work together on Soompi in 2006 when the site growth was really taking off which meant server expenses were also taking off. I was helping Susan set up the advertising system on the site and eventually we decided to officially create a company and work on Soompi together. At first, we both kept our full-time jobs (Susan as a coder and me as a lawyer) and worked on Soompi during our nights and weekends. But by the end of 2008, the site was so active that it was obvious that the site needed more support. We made the decision to leave our jobs in 2009 and work on Soompi full-time.

KH: If you define Soompi.com, what is it?

Kim: Soompi is an online fan community for Hallyu. Soompi’s greatest strength lies in our members. Ninety-nine percent of the content on Soompi is user-generated content so our members are the ones who find the information to share and discuss. They spend a great deal of time online answering each other’s questions. No amount of money or marketing can create the organic community that sites like Soompi have.

KH: Who are Soompi members?

Kim: Soompi members are mostly young Americans of many different backgrounds (Asian, Caucasian, black and Latino) followed by people in their teens and 20s in South East Asia (Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, etc). They are typically very fashionable and up on the latest trends since they follow entertainment so closely. When they come to Soompi, they are often looking for the latest news about Hallyu and to meet other passionate fans. Hallyu fans love to work together to do events and share their love for their idols.

KH: What aspect of Hallyu appeals to Soompi members?

Kim: Soompi members love the celebrities ― their personalities, their visuals, their songs ― all of it. In fact, many of our members (90 percent of whom are not Korean) have started to learn Korean to better understand the music and dramas. Hallyu has definitely started to grow beyond its typical Asian boundaries. I think we will see Hallyu spread to the U.S., Latin America and Europe in 2011. However, for Hallyu to be truly successful abroad, Korean entertainment companies need to better understand international fans better ― this is important for creating new fans and reaching out to new markets.

KH: What can Korean websites and firms interested in Hallyu learn from Soompi?

Kim: I would say two differences between Soompi and Korean sites are 1) we really take into consideration the community’s desires when we build new products ― meaning oftentimes we look at community feedback first when thinking about new features and 2) we push out features before they are 100 percent perfect ― sometimes it means it has bugs, but it also means we can get our full community reaction quickly and fix or change things as needed.

For entertainment firms working in the Hallyu industry, it is important to make the music and drama content easily available for international fans. People in Korea do not realize how hard it is for international fans to buy the music and dramas legally ― there are not good options available. If entertainment firms made their content for easily available for international purchase, then more international fans would buy the content. But at the moment, we cannot even easily register on Korean websites.

KH: To create new and successful services based on social network service, what should and shouldn’t Korean venture startups do?

Kim: I see many Korean startups that are testing or half-heartedly targeting the global market. The decision whether to go global should be made early as it significantly impacts the kind of team that needs to be built and the product. If you are building an SNS service targeting the international market, then you should create your team abroad.

KH: What was the purpose of your latest visit to Seoul, and what did you feel when you were in Seoul?

Kim: I visit Seoul at least once a year to meet with Korean entertainment companies and Korean Internet startups. On the entertainment front, there is strong interest in online and social media strategy from the entertainment companies. This is one of the big growth opportunities for Hallyu. But I think Korean entertainment companies will need to hire people with international Internet experience to really open that opportunity.

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