The Korea Herald


Best of Korean independent cinema on show at IndieGo

IndieGO Film Festival presents some 40 homespun indie movies

By Claire Lee

Published : Nov. 17, 2013 - 19:05

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For those who haven’t yet had a chance to see some of the most significant independent Korean films in theaters, the ongoing IndieGO Film Festival will come as a special treat.

Hosted by Indie Story, a film house and distributor that specializes in independent cinema, the movie bash offers screenings of some 40 films, including ones that have not yet been released in theaters. The company celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.

Included in the lineup is director Kim Dong-hyun’s “The Dinner,” a drama about an ordinary Korean family facing a series of financial and other misfortunes. The film, whose release date has not been announced, was the closing screening at this year’s Busan International Film Festival.

Zhang Lu, a third-generation Korean-Chinese filmmaker who is best known in Korea for his 2009 drama “Dooman River,” is showcasing his first documentary film during this festival prior to its Korean release. Titled “Over There,” the film features the lives of some 10 foreign migrant workers living in Korea.

The year 2011 welcomed a number of highly successful independent films, both commercially and critically, including Yoon Sung-hyun’s dark high school drama “Bleak Night” and Park Jung-bum’s North Korean refugee tale “The Journals of Musan.” 

A scene from “Re-encounter.” (INDIESTORY) A scene from “Re-encounter.” (INDIESTORY)
The festival screens two highly praised films from the year: Min Yong-geun’s coming-of-age tale “Re-encounter” and Yeun Sang-ho’s gruesome animated film “The King of Pigs.” Among them, “The King of Pigs,” Yeun’s feature debut, won three awards at the 2011 BIFF and was also featured in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the Cannes International Film in the following year.

Director Min Yong-geun will join columnist Kim Hyeon-min after the screening of “Re-encounter” on Nov. 23 to discuss the movie that deals with teen pregnancy and growing up.

Also included in the lineup is “If You Were Me 6,” an omnibus film that deals with issues of human rights in contemporary Korean society. Three celebrated independent filmmakers, Park Jung-bum, Min Yong-geun and Shin A-ga collaborated for the project.

“If You Were Me 6” consists of three different shorts; one of them deals with a friendship between a young teenager from a poor family and his wealthy classmate who has a physical disability, while the other two deal with ageism and “conscientious objectors” in Korea, those who choose to go to jail by refusing to serve the mandatory military service on grounds of ethics or religion.

A scene from “Penny Pinchers.” (INDIESTORY) A scene from “Penny Pinchers.” (INDIESTORY)
For rom-com fans, director Kim Jung-hwan’s 2011 comedy “Penny Pinchers” features big-name stars Song Joong-ki and Han Ye-seul as financially struggling young protagonists, which is unusual for an independent film.

The festival also screens a number of non-Korean arthouse films. One of them is Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu’s “Beyond the Hills,” which features the lives of two young women at an Orthodox convent in Romania. The film was inspired by two nonfiction books by Romanian writer Tatiana Niculescu Bran, who wrote about the case of a young girl at an orphanage who died after an exorcism ritual.

Also included in the lineup is “Red Like the Sky,” an Italian film about a young boy who becomes nearly blind after an accident.

The festival, held at the Korean Film Archive and INDIE SPACE, closes on Nov. 24. For more information, call (02) 3153-2001 or (02) 722-6051.

By Claire Lee (