Recently, I had a chance to watch a Korean film, called Be with you through KOFFIA. KOFFIA is the abbreviation for Korean Film Festival in Australia. This year is the 9th year of KOFFIA, offering us 22 of the best films in Korea. It makes me wonder how do these 22 films get elected and what are the criteria for choosing films? So, I will talk about the concept of ‘programming’ on this blog.
The KOFFIA not only screens in Melbourne but also in Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra. From the picture below, we can see this festival stays a few days in every city, which refers to the festival circuit. As Harbord (2009) mentioned: “Festival create temporary exhibition venues that are meant to cater to a defined audience community”.
The KOFFIA aims to introduce and promote Korean culture in Australia, and screening movies are the best way of showcasing culture and value. Besides, the target audience can be seen as a factor affecting film selection. In these 22 films, there are blockbusters, independent films, comedy, and romance. Therefore, from the choice of films of various tastes, we can see that the festival is aimed at audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds (KOFFIA 2018). This film festival provides an opportunity to bring diverse Korean films to Australian audiences, thus we can comprehensively understand Korean culture.
Programming can be seen as the most important part in a film festival. Valck (2012) discussed that: “One of the festival’s main functions is to screen films, in particular high-quality ones that do not find exposure elsewhere”. The goal of KOFFIA is to showcase the beauty of Korean culture via movies, therefore festival programmers choose films that they regard as representative of Hallyu. The Korean Wave became prevalent since the 1990s in terms of K-drama and K-pop. Those are the important part of Korean culture.
As I mentioned earlier, I watched the film called Be with you, which is touching and impressive. This movie has the genre of romance and fantasy, and it tells the story of the father and his son who struggle with life because of the loss of the mother. The father is sad and worried about his son as he trusts that his mother will come back to them in the rainy season. The amazing part of this film is that the mother does return to the real life in rainy days but without memory of her husband and son. So the movie showed the love story between the father and mother and how happy they are being together. However, the mother disappeared when the rainy season is over.
Valck (2012) understood programming foremost as a cultural practice because programming implies a committed handling of cinema as cultural expression and an evaluation of films as artistic accomplishments. Love story and lose of memory are cliché in Korean film, but the filmmakers are capable of producing something new using a old story. To be honest, I cried several times during the movie, and this emotional experience gave me a deep impression on Korean culture. I’m so happy that I watched this film because of KOFFIA, which makes me enjoy Korean culture.
Harbord, J 2009, ‘Film festival-time-event’, The festival circuit
KOFFIA 2018, http://www.koffia.com.au/melbourne/
Valck, M.D 2012, “Finding audiences for films: festival programing in historical perspective”, Coming soon to a festival near you: programing film festival, pp.25-40