London Korean Film Festival Launch

Annyong and hello everybody!” These were the welcoming words from TV and Radio presenter Jonathan Ross (or rather, a giant projection of him), which addressed over eight hundred people on the evening of Thursday 3rd November. In fact, this was part of an introductory series of videos launching London’s sixth London Korean Film Festival at ODEON‘s West End cinema. “I wish I could be there to enjoy it with you; I’m sure it will be spectacular like it was last year,Ross said. “Unfortunately for me I have to be in Los Angeles where I’ll be watching American movies, which are nowhere near as good as Korean films – you know that.” 

It seemed the crowd did know, judging by the impressive turnout. The film to be shown that evening, and the first of the event, was ‘War of the Arrows‘ (also known as ‘Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon‘/’Bow, The Ultimate Weapon‘), South Korea’s highest-grossing film this year. Tickets were sold out and attendees had queued patiently outside the building for an hour before they were allowed entry.

As well as an interest in Korean cinema, perhaps another incentive to attend lay in the form of five good-looking young men who joined the audience. They were of course none other than popular boy-band SHINee, whose anticipated presence no doubt attracted reams of followers. Members Onew, Minho, Jonghyun, Taemin and Key, who had kicked off the festival earlier that afternoon with a special performance, walked into the packed cinema to the screams of hundreds of amazed fans and took their seats. Of the band, Jonathan Ross remarked: “I don’t know if you know this but I was meant to be a member of SHINee, but they asked me to leave because I was so much better-looking. So – your loss, their gain.” This filled Screen 2 with laughter.

Photo by Rhiannon Rees

Other celebrities joined Ross in welcoming people to the show on screen, including the stars of Thursday night’s premiere. Its director Han-min Kim (pictured to the left with Tony Rayns) also took the stage after the film for an exclusive Q&A session. Among the things he revealed, most shocking was the filming period which lasted a mere four months, from February to June of this year – a real surprise considering the quality of ‘War of the Arrows.’ (Keep an eye out for our review of this film!)

The London Korean Film Festival lasts from the 3rd-24th November and showcases the best of Korean cinema. Tonight’s screenings include ‘Sunny’ (6pm) and ‘Handphone‘ (7pm). Find out more at the festival’s official website!

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