One of the fabulous things about Toronto is all the film festivals we have and we do have a lot of them. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m paying more attention this year (probably) but there seems to be more and more great Korean films screening at them. I’ve been lucky enough to attend many of the screenings and press conferences this year and am having a blast sharing it all with you all.
But while this post is about one of those press conferences, it’s a press conference that was a little more special for me. You see, I absolutely love going to Korean events sponsored by the Korean Consulate in Toronto. I always learn or see something interesting, and there are always wonderfully friendly people at them (in fact, I’ve made some great new friends that way). The events are always worthwhile (I highly recommend going to one if you have the chance) and the recent Korean Filmmakers Press Conference and Reception that was jointly sponsored by the Korean Consulate in Toronto and the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival was no exception. I was honoured to have been invited by the Korean Consulate in Toronto and I was privileged to have the opportunity to talk with Consul General Chung Kwang-kyun again.
This year at Reel Asian they screened three Korean films and all three directors were in attendance which was fantastic. The films this year were Stateless Things (줄탁동시) directed by Kim Kyung-mook (김경묵), A Fish (물고기) directed by Park Hong Min (박홍민), and Architecture 101 (건축학개론) directed by Lee Yong Joo (이용주). For more info on the films, please check out my earlier article on them.
On a side note: I wondered while we were watching the trailers with the directors at the front of the room how they felt watching them with press, knowing that some of the press/media in the room would be writing or talking about their films. Was it different than watching the trailer/film in a room with regular film goers? Yeah, strange thoughts go through my head at times.
Back to the press conference… It was very well-organized and shortly we were listening to the directors answer questions – through an interpreter mostly. It was fascinating hearing them talk about their films. One of my favourite parts about watching films of any kind, but especially Korean films, at film festivals is the chance to hear what the director has to say. And the question & answer period at the Korean filmmakers press conference was enlightening.
After the question & answer period was over – and we saw all three trailers – we were welcomed by a speech from Consul General Chung Kwang-kyun and by Reel Asian’s Interim Executive Director, Alka Sharma (Aram Collier, Director of Programming for Reel Asian spoke earlier in the event). Then it was time for the reception – Korean events always have delicious food and this was no exception.
Of course, because it was a press conference, there was plenty of chances for the media to interview or chat with the three filmmakers. Lots of networking was also being done as people chatted with those they knew or were introduced to new ones. If you happened to wander out of the event room, there was a display by the Korean Tourism Organization that you could check out as well.
All in all, it was a great – and personable – introduction to both the three Korean films that played at this year’s Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and to the filmmakers themselves. But it did make me a little sad that I wasn’t able to see all three as I’d made prior arrangements to be in New York/New Jersey to see Big Bang over the weekend (I did see Stateless Things which I highly recommend and which won the Faskin Martineau Best Feature Film Award – my review is coming soon). Nicole, a new writer on Life’s an Adventure 2, saw Architecture 101 (and chatted with the director) and you can read her review here.