London Critics’ Association said, “Various and high-quality Korean films are amazing.”
The 7th London Asian Film Festival (executive chairman Jeon Hye-jung) confirmed the charm and power of Asian films, including Korean films, to British audiences and critics. Since the festival began, it has attracted the hottest response from local audiences and has firmly established itself as an Asian film festival representing Europe in name and reality by providing opportunities for British audiences to experience various K cultures beyond K content.
The London Asian Film Festival wrapped up its 12-day event on October 30 (local time) with the screening of “Warrior of Future,” a film starring Hong Kong star actor Go Cheon-rak. Go Cheon-rak responded with friendly fan service to the keen interest of Hong Kong citizens who recently moved to the UK. In recognition of his work as an actor and producer, Go Cheon-rak won the Achievement Award at the closing ceremony.
The London Asian Film Festival established the “Asian Film Awards” in cooperation with the London Critics Association for the first time this year. It is an award ceremony introduced in Europe to expand the scope of criticism of Asian films by appointing critics from the London Critics Association, who are active in British critics, as judges. The first award went to the works of China, Taiwan, and Korea, respectively.
First of all, “ANIMA,” directed by Zo Zhao Ling, who paid attention to the relationship between nature and humans, won the best picture among 12 films from Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan. The jury award was won by Taiwan’s director Jin Joon-rim’s “MAMA BOY.”
In the documentary competition category, Korea’s Won Ho-yeon and Jung Tae-kyung’s “Virga” won the best documentary award. It is a work that tells the story of unregistered migrant children in various Asian countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Critic Cleary, who is the chairman of the London Critics Association and the judge of this year’s festival, paid particular attention to Korean films, saying, “I was surprised by the completeness and diversity of Korean films,” and “I wonder why British audiences have not seen such a variety of Korean films.”
Korean films and actors have made a series of achievements at the London Asian Film Festival. Actor Lee Jung-jae, the main character and director of the opening film “Hunt,” won the Rip Awesome Award in recognition of raising the status of Asian films, while Lee Jung-eun of “Homage” won the Rip Best Actor Award and Lim Si-wan of “Emergency Declaration” won the Rising Star Award. All of them are the main characters who have contributed decisively to enhancing the competitiveness of Korean films that spread beyond Asia and around the world.
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This year’s London Asian Film Festival brought the scale back to the previous year’s level, which had been reduced to COVID-19 over the past two years, and invited about 50 films that lead the Asian film trend to stimulate British audiences’ curiosity.
In addition, as the popularity of K-content increased in Europe, it continued to be a K-culture program that encouraged audience participation by linking Korean food and tourist attractions such as Seoul with culture. The film festival also secured its own competitiveness by introducing a sensuous Korean food menu using foods such as chicken and soju, including “Seoul Night,” which introduced Seoul’s colorful charm to London. In response, London Mayor Sadiq Khan even sent a letter to the London Asian Film Festival saying, “The proud treasure of London City,” expressing high interest and opening up various possibilities for future collaboration.
Jeon Hye-jung, executive chairman of the London Asian Film Festival, said, “The UK is currently fiercely competitive with large cultural projects, but the power of K-content and Asian films is gradually increasing,” adding, “Korean films have expanded to meet many audiences and communicate together through this festival.”
The London Asian Film Festival, which successfully wrapped up this year’s film festival, plans to promote private cultural exchanges in various ways to mark the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Britain next year. Jeon Hye-jung, chairman of the executive committee, said, “In the UK, Korean culture has passed the period of spread and absorption and has entered the period of consumption,” adding, “We plan to try various plans next year so that Korean culture, including movies, can settle in Europe.”