EXCLUSIVE: The London Korean Film Festival will celebrate its 15th anniversary from October 29– November 12 in both digital and physical forms. This is the first year the event will offer online screenings available to audiences across the UK, along with a selection of special cinema screenings in London.
The festival showcases major Korean titles as well as indies and comes at a time when Korean cinema has been riding a global high with the success of Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar winner Parasite (as well as recent local breakouts Deliver Us From Evil and Peninsula). This year, LKFF will screen two of Bong’s shorts, mockumentary Influenza (2004) and early work Incoherence (1994); also showing will be a a rare on-screen Bong performance in Kang Dae-hee’s Some Light? (2009). These will be made available online and throughout the UK for the first time.
The opening gala on October 29 will present the European premiere of comedy-inflected tear-jerker Pawn (2020). Sung Dong-il (Metamorphosis) and Kim Hee-won (The Merciless) star as a pair of tough loan sharks who take a nine-year-old girl from her illegal immigrant mother as collateral over an unpaid debt. When the mother is deported, the duo are left to look after the ‘pawn.’ The film is directed by Kang Dae-gyu (Harmony) and edited by Yang Jin-mo who received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Parasite.
The closing title is the UK premiere of Kim Jin-yu’s Bori (2020), which also focuses on family, this time exploring the themes of disability and difference through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl.
In addition the festival will feature a Special Focus: Friends and Family, inspired by the pandemic lockdowns and quarantines and their impact on relationships. This strand aims to celebrate friendships and families, while also casting a critical eye over the ties that bind via five titles from the past decade. It will also feature the UK Premiere of director Yoon Dan-bi’s coming-of-age drama Moving On (2020). The film took awards at Busan last year, among others. There will also be a UK premiere of Lee Jae-kyoo ensemble drama Intimate Strangers (2018).
Further highlights for LKFF 2020 include the European premiere of Jung Jin-young’s mystery Me & Me (2020) which recently picked up a Special Mention at Fantasia, and Hong Sang-soo’s the The Woman Who Ran (2019) for which the director won the Silver Bear in Berlin earlier this year.
The full LKFF 2020 program will be announced soon, including screenings, introductions, Q&As and more.