The Korean Film FestivalEvents — By Vandana Prasad on July 23, 2009 at 11:59 AM
The ongoing Korean film festival at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has been organised to reduce the cultural gap between the two nations through the medium of cinema. The festival showcases some of the best contemporary films by well acclaimed directors of South Korea.
The festival was inaugurated by Rathi Jafar, director of the Indo- Korean Cultural and Information Centre, Chennai also known as the InKo centre on 20th July and it is scheduled to go on till the 24th of July. This is not the first time that the Indo- Korean Centre and the NFAI have organised a festival together. Their collaboration is about 2 years old and in March 09 they also organised the annual Women’s Film Festival in Chennai. This festival focussed on issues related to women and was very well received.
The Inko Centre is not supported by any Government bodies and does not have any direct funding as such. Yet, it has been playing a vital role in facilitating cultural exchange programs between the two nations. The centre is constantly in touch with the Korean Film Academy and the Korean Film Council and plans to conduct a seminar in India soon which will aim at promoting South Korean tourism in India through films.
Speaking about the South Korean films Jafer said, “South Korea has got a rich film history, which dates back to 1930s. South Korea lost many of its precious cinematic creations during World War II. Some of them however were restored and preserved by the Korean Film Council and the Korean Film Academy.”
“There are no art or commercial films as such in South Korea, there are no such splits. There are movies which were made on shoe string budget which have broken all the records,” she added,
To highlight the factors that make Korean cinema so unique, Jaffer went on to say, “Korean films do not imitate Hollywood models; they are based more on indigenous material. These films have got a very unpredictable format and they have got a huge fan following as well.”
Jaffer then spoke about how the relationship between India and South Korea was beginning to develop. According to her, after the success of Mahesh Bhatt’s Gangster which was shot in Korea, a lot more Indian producers were now taking keen interest in shooting projects in South Korea. Jafer also revealed that currently there are no policies in place that can facilitate Indo- Korean film projects, but suggestions have been made to the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Film Commission to make arrangement for the same.
The policies will look at allowing those filmmakers to shoot in Korea who agree to provide employment to the local population by including them in their film crew. Vijay Jadhav, director of NFAI, also called this association between the two nations as a stepping stone in building a long term relationship.
The festival began with the screening of the Chang-dong Lee’s “Secret Sunshine” (2007) which has won a number of international awards including best actress at the Cannes Festival, 2007 and best actor, best director as well as best picture at the 2nd Asian Film Awards. Some of the other films being screened at the festival include, the 2005 smash hit, “The King and the Clown”, “Welcome to Dongmakgol” (2005), which is a straight take on the Korean War, “Chihwaseon”, which was awarded for the best director at the Cannes Festival 2002 and “My Sassy Girl” which talks about two strangers who embark on a journey together.
To acquaint the audience with the films, film scholar Hemanti Banerjee has been conducting an introductory session before every screening. The screenings begin at 6:30 pm everyday.