For the first time since the pandemic began, fans of Korean cinema will be able to attend in-person screenings at Ottawa’s Korean Film Festival—just in time for its fifth anniversary!
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Hosted by the Korean Cultural Center, the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, OKFF premieres on Tuesday, September 27 and runs until Monday, October 10. While the festival has spent the last couple of years offering virtual-only screenings, the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions has allowed OKFF to introduce a new hybrid screening model to help ease people back into theatres.
“This year, we tried to organize at least three in-person theatre screenings, so that people in the Ottawa region could come enjoy our best Korean films,” says Event Manager Jia Kim.
The OKFF, like so many others, underwent many changes as a result of the pandemic.
“I think on the downside, [the pandemic] somewhat reduced the various opportunities for people to directly feel and share the same joy together in the same place,” says Kim. Nevertheless, the festival found a way to thrive and make the best of a terrible situation.
“It has given us the chance to expand the scope of the target audience, because the virtual screenings enabled us to stream Korean films not just in the Ottawa area, but across Canada,” says Kim.
For 2o22, OKFF has selected a lineup of various film genres for people to choose from, all of which share this year’s theme of “music and dance.”
“Each year, we showcase various best Korean films that share a common theme,” says Kim. “We chose music and dance because by showcasing these kinds of films we wanted to bring hope and joy to people amidst [these various] crises.”
On September 27, OKFF kicks off with an opening reception at the Korean Cultural Centre on 150 Elgin Street, followed by on-site screenings of ‘The Blank”, “The Recorder Exam”, and “The Levers”. Additional in-person film screenings will be held at the ByTowne cinema, including “Sunset in My Hometown” (September 28 at 7pm), “Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels” (September 29 at 7pm), and “Love, Lies” (October 2 at 12 pm). Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage in discussions with Korean filmmakers during the virtual “Directors Talk” events on October 4, 6, and 7 from 7:30-9 pm.
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As they transition into their new normal, OKFF staff are always looking for new ways to challenge themselves to develop a more sustainable film festival capable of reaching “a wider audience in a more intimate way.”
“Our first-ever hybrid festival has been developed as part of this effort,” says Kim. “We will continuously expand its role as a tool to introduce diverse Korean cultures to Canadians, by playing to the strengths of both the virtual and in-person [platforms].”
OKFF’s fifth anniversary festival runs from September 27 to October 10. Admission is free, but prior registration is required, so be sure to book your ticket(s) ASAP! For more information on OKFF, as well as its movie lineup and schedule, be sure to check out their website.