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Escape from Mogadishu, Heading for the Oscars

Dec 20, 2021
  • Writerby Kim Subin
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Recording the largest number of moviegoers among Korean films in 2021



Director Ryoo Seungwan's Escape from Mogadishu is the main character that will create the ‘Korea Syndrome’ for the third consecutive year at the Oscars. KOFIC (Korean Film Council) selected Escape from Mogadishu as the representative film in 2021 Korea and the country’s entry for the best international feature film category of the 94th Academy Awards. The judges of Korean film entries said, "It is an impressive work with high-quality action and suspense based on the true story of the Somali civil war in the 1990s. On top of that, the story created by conflicts and solidarities between the two Koreas is delicately depicted in exquisite harmony, and the film has already been well-received not only in Korea but also abroad.  Based on the facts, we selected Escape from Mogadishu as the country’s entry for the Academy Awards.”


With more interest from all over the world in Korean films and content than ever before, expectations are high on whether another representative Korean film will be the main character of the Oscars again. Especially, the best international feature film category at the Academy Awards accepts only one film per country representing each country. KOFIC finally selected Escape from Mogadishu out of 6 representative films this year through screening by a panel of movie experts.


Director Ryoo Seungwan's Escape from Mogadishu boldly threw its hat into the Korean theater district, which had endured its worst season due to the Pandemic, attracting 3.58 million audiences to the theater, recording the largest number of moviegoers among Korean films in 2021. With the urgent action and heart-warming stories, the film was reborn based on the true story of the people escaping from Mogadishu during the 1991 civil war in Somalia.  The actors representing Korean cinema by generation starred in, such as Kim Yunseok, Zo Insung, Huh Joonho, and Koo Kyohwan.


The panel of judges for Korean film entries noted that Escape from Mogadishu is already well-received overseas. Also, Escape from Mogadishu was recognized as a film with both completeness and box office success, recording a Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score of 100% and Audience Score of 96%. In addition, despite the Pandemic, it was a theater release, not an OTT release, achieving sales to 75 countries in advance. It is also sweeping the awards for the best picture, the best director, and the best actor at the leading awards ceremonies in Korea in 2021.

In 2020, Bong Joonho's PARASITE swept four medals, including the best international film and the best film, as the first Korean film and the first Asian film, creating the ‘Korean Wave’ at the Academy Awards. Also, in 2021, Actor Youn Yuhjung won the Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for the first time in Korean cinema history. Now, expectations are growing on what other achievements Escape from Mogadishu will show at the 94th Academy Awards in March 2022.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which organizes the Academy Awards, will announce its shortlists, the preliminary candidates for the Oscars, in December. The Oscar shortlists are the preliminary candidate lists nominating twice of candidates before the Academy announces its official candidates. If Escape from Mogadishu is included in the shortlists, it will cause a sensation of Korean movies for the third consecutive year. The judges also expressed their expectations, saying, "We expect Escape from Mogadishu to evoke the potential of Korean films in the world once again, and we cheer for good results at the Academy Awards." 


KOFIC will cooperate with distributor Lotte Entertainment to support local and online campaigns in the U.S. so that the Korean entry Escape from Mogadishu can do well in the 2022 ‘Oscar Race.’ In the case of PARASITE, which won 4 awards at the Oscar, KOFIC also performed various support activities and the film achieved good results. The 94th Academy Awards will be held on March 27, 2022, at Dolby Theater in Hollywood, USA. 

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