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[HanCinema's News] Newer Directors Popular in South Korean Film This Year

2019/09/25 | Permalink

Lee Sang-geun was an unknown quantity when he made "Exit - Movie". Indeed, the director's relative inexperience was considered a strike against the movie's prospects before its release. But having easily risen to become the top-performing movie of the summer season, so too has Lee Sang-geun improved his profile.

"The Divine Fury" was another example of a movie from a director that was not so well-known. Kim Joo-hwan made the independent film "Koala" and the surprise 2017 hit "Midnight Runners" and was given broad reign to craft "The Divine Fury" as he saw fit. The effort was not as successful as "Exit - Movie", but still showcased a willingness on the part of investors to trust in younger talent and not try to micromanage their work.

Women directors have also been a bigger presence as of late. For the most part they have been confined to independent films such as "The House of Us" or "House of Hummingbird" or "Ghost Walk", but director Kim Han-gyul is debuting with "Crazy Romance" on October 2nd. That mainstream romance will have the advantage of Kim Rae-won and Gong Hyo-jin as stars to sell the project.

Persons familiar with film production have acknowledged a shift in how movies are funded. The current predominant belief is that filmgoers are interested in new, fresh ideas. Consequently, funding and distribution has improved for rookie directors in the hopes that they will make a product that resonates with the viewing public.

Luckily, there's a wide bench to choose from. The Korean Academy of Film Arts and the Mise En Scene Short Film Festival have both become critical venues for scouting out new talent and ideas. Awards at various local film festivals have also become a good way for young filmmakers to draw attention to themselves and earn funding.

However, the situation remains difficult for those who don't or can't win. So it is that more production companies have been opening up programs for scouting out new talent and gauging interest. Even documentaries, a traditionally low-performing genre at the box office, are receiving improved funding opportunities thanks to this new corporate attitude.

Written by William Schwartz

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