South Korean Film Showcase Spotlights Relations With North Korea

Im Kwon-taek H

Im Kwon-taek was honored for his contribution to promoting peace on the Korean peninsula through cinema

Big names in the South Korean film industry gathered for the 1st South North Korea Film Screening over the weekend in Seoul, a rare event spotlighting inter-Korean relations through cinema.

Veteran filmmaker Im Kwon-taek, South Korea's Unification Minister Ryu Gil-jae, Busan Film Festival founder Kim Dong-ho and Korean Film Council chairman Kim Eui-suk were among VIPs at Saturday's opening of the showcase.

Supported by Seoul's Employment & Welfare Committee for Audio-visual Industry, the event is being held ahead of next year's 70th anniversary of the North-South divide in 1945. Im, who recently premiered his 102nd film Revivre at Venice, accepted the inaugural event's annual award going to a cineaste's contribution to peace on the Korean peninsula through filmmaking.

Read more Busan Q&A: Filmmaker Im Kwon-taek Continues to Evolve

A handful of films about North-South relations will be shown through Friday at 20 cinemas across the country operated by CGV and Lotte Cinema.  The lineup includes Dear Pyongyang and Goodbye Pyongyang, a set of documentaries by Korean-Japanese writer/filmmaker Yang Yonghi featuring her family back in North Korea, as well as major South Korean pictures such as the Korean War actioner The Front Line, the Olympic sports drama As One, and defector romance Over the Border.

As a gesture of looking back at the past 70 years and hoping for reunification of the two Koreas, 70 top local cineastes were invited to take part in a massive hand printing ceremony at CGV Yeouido, Seoul, including: Showbox/Mediaplex CEO Yoo Jeong-hun, CJ E&M's film division head Jeong Tae-sung, Lotte Cinema head Cha Won-cheon, Next Entertainment World CEO Kim Woo-taek, actor Ahn Sung-ki and actress Ha Ji-won.