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Online Korean Indie Festival to Commemorate 30 Years of Russia-Korea Relations

Nov 13, 2020
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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8 Korean titles presented by SIFF, Korean Cultural Center and Korean Tourism Organization

As part of the celebrations commemorating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation, the Korean Cultural Center in Russia (presided by WEE Myung-jae) and the Russian branch of Korea Tourism Organization (headed by KIM Kwang-hee) teamed up with the Seoul Independent Film Festival to offer free online screenings of Korean independent films from September until November 22. Organized as part of K-FEST 2020, a larger program of online events showcasing Korean culture and the country’s tourist attractions, this Online Korean Independent Film Festival arranged a lineup of films comprising 2 feature films, 5 shorts and 1 medium-length film, most of which have drawn particular notice at last year’s edition of the Seoul Independent Film Festival (SIFF).

Among them is the much-talked-about indie sensation Moving On by YUN Dan-bi. It received last year the New Choice Award from the SIFF, which is bestowed upon the best first or second film by an emerging Korean filmmaker. The title had premiered just a few weeks earlier at the Busan International Film Festival, where it also earned several awards, and has since been on an impressive run on the festival circuit, picking up the Bright Future Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and the Uncaged Award for Best Feature Film at the New York Asian Film Festival earlier this year. It is joined by PARK Suk-young’s The Hill of Wind, which also competed at the SIFF last year. 

As for the short movies, the selection consists of last year’s SIFF Grand Prize winner Beginners’ Class (2019) by KIM Hyun-jung, Yuwol: The Boy Who Made the World Dance (2018) by BEFF, Hello (2019) by JIN Seong-moon, Container (2018) by KIM Se-in, as well as the two animation shorts Movements by JEONG Da-hee and Mascot (2019) by KIM Lee-ha

The online screenings are only accessible in Russia through the VOD platform Nonfiction.film (https://nonfiction.film/en/) operated by the Moscow-based Documentary Film Center (an independent cinema and non-profit film promotion organization specialized in non-fiction and indie films), with 2 different titles available for streaming every week. At this time, each film has already been shown once and are currently on a second run for those who might have missed them the first time around. As the festival reaches its conclusion, Moving On and Mascot (2019) are currently the films on rotation this week. 

Besides these screenings, the festival also offered on October 17 a live lecture by renowned Russian film critic Anton DOLIN on the international phenomenon that has become BONG Joon-ho’s PARASITE (2019) (now available for replay on YouTube).  

Although the Russian Empire had a diplomatic mission in the Joseon Kingdom in the late 19th century, relations between the two countries were severed for most of the 20th century due to Japan’s colonial rule and the Cold War. The Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation officially established diplomatic ties on September 30, 1990.

More information on the festival can be found on the website of the Korean Cultural Center in Russia (http://russia.korean-culture.org/ko) and the official website of the event (https://k-fest2020.ru/category/cinema/).
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