The 1st London East Asia Film Festival programme is finally here, and you cannot imagine how excited we are about it; it has a truly strong line-up, including a retrospective of Park Chan-wook’s outstanding work. The former Director of the London Korean Film Festival, now the Director of LEAFF, Mrs. Jeon Hye-jung has been working closely with Festival Advisers Roger Garcia (Hong Kong International Film Festival), Kim Ji-seok (Deputy Director of Busan International Film Festival) and Programme Consultant Chanel Kong (LA Asian Pacific Film festival) on organizing yet another unique and diverse film festival, which will include productions from Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Mrs. Jeon Hye-jung said that “The London East Asia Film Festival aims to introduce Asian films that direct the audience to really understand the culture. It will focus on the filmmakers’ perspective through conversations instead of showing Asian cinema merely as a variation from European and American films. Also, the festival can achieve greater communication with the audience than festivals dedicated to a single country. I hope the people of London discover the distinction and individuality between different countries within East Asia.”

LEAFF poster.jpg

In 2015, London East Asia Film Festival had its 0th edition and – only with 3 days of showcasing an electric programme – it gained popularity and fans around the British capital. This year’s programme is shining bright with new and fascinating Korean productions such as The Age of Shadows – which will open the 1st LEAFF – and The Handmaiden (part of Park Chan-wook’s retrospective). The festival will also show Gosanja (The Map Against the World), a period drama about Kim Jeong-ho who decides to make an accurate map of the Korean East Land, and Tunnel, starring the superb Ha Jung-woo. Apart from aforementioned productions, the audience will have a chance to see “a thespian comedy” Curtain Call by the first-time director Ryu Hoon (the film was selected as ‘a hot pick’ at this year’s Jeonju Film Festival), a black comedy Great Patrioteers by Kim Soo-hyun and a comedy/drama Goodbye Single by Taegon Kim.

This year’s Toronto International Film festival was raving over The World of Us, directed by Yoon Ga-eun, described as a “moving and true-to-life film about the realities of bullying, classroom pecking orders, and the importance of loyalty.” The film will be shown at  LEAFF in the Competition Section, and will host the filmmaker herself. On top of all that, the festival programme also includes Karaoke Crazies by Kim Sang-chan, and Spirit’s Homecoming by Cho Jung-rea – a period movie which is set during the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1943 and depicts stories of young ‘Comfort Women’- a definite must-see production. If you like documentaries, there will be an interesting one presented at  London Institute of Contemporary Art Cinema: Breathing Underwater, directed by Koh Hee-young. Also, if you are a fan of Park Chan-wook, many films of his will be screened – and introduced by the man himself – at various cinemas across London: Sympathy for Mr Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Stoker, Day Trip, Joint Security Area, Thirst, Judgement, I‘m a Cyborg plus Bitter Sweet Seoul. As you can see, there is something for everyone, and that’s not all! Apart from Korean films, the viewers will be able to see Japanese productions, such as Creepy by the renowned filmmaker Kiyoshi Kurosawa; Beautiful 2016, directed by Hideo Nakata, Alec Su, Stanley Kwan and Jia Zhangke, Harmonium by Kôji Fukada – the drama was screened as a part of the Un Certain Regard Selection at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and was awarded with Jury Prize. Last but not least, the audience can enjoy the screening of Hee by the veteran actor-director Kaori Momoi, Midnight Diner by Joji Matsuoka, Bangkok Nights by Katsuya Tomita and in Special Spotlight: LEAFF in partnership with NETFLIX will screen three episodes of Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories.

The LEAFF 2016 programme also includes A Yellow Bird, a Singaporean/French co- production which was screened during the International Critics Week at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival; By The Time It Gets Dark, a Thai film directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong and Nessum Dorma a Hong Kong psychological thriller by Herman Yau. In addition to these, the audience will also get a chance to see the work of the Taiwanese filmmaker Lee Chung: The Laundryman and Malaysian drama Pekak by Mohd Khairul Azri.

London East Asia Film Festival will end with a big bang: Johnnie To’s Three will close the festival. The closing night will take place at Ham Yard Hotel, where the director will answers the audience’s questions and mingle with the film goers and critics. The festival will run from the 20th of October until the 30th of October (11 days). Please follow LEAFF on Facebook and their official website for more details about the events and tickets.

Written by Maggie Gogler

LEAFF poster © London East Asia Film Festival

The Full Programme is:

Thursday 20th October
19:30 – THE AGE OF SHADOWS (ODEON Leicester Sq, sc1) | Q&A | Official Selection

Friday 21st October
18:30 – THE HANDMAIDEN (Picturehouse Central, sc1) | Q&A | PCW Retrospective

Saturday 22nd October
10:00 – GREAT PATRIOTS (ICA Cinema, sc1) | Film Festival Focus

13:30 – BAFTA talk w/ PCW & NIGHT FISHING (BFI, sc1) | Q&A | PCW Retrospective

15:30 – GOSANJA (Curzon Soho, sc1) | Q&A | Official Selection

18:00 – SYMPATHY FOR MR VENGEANCE, OLD BOY, LADY VENGEANCE (Picturehouse Central, sc2) | INTRO | PCW Retrospective

Sunday 23rd October
10:00 – CURTAIN CALL (ICA Cinema, sc1) | Film Festival Focus

15:30 – TUNNEL (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Q&A | Official Selection

18:00 – GOODBYE SINGLE (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Q&A | Official Selection

20:30 – CREEPY (Curzon Soho, sc1) | Q&A | Official Selection

Monday 24th October 
14:00 – NFTS seminar w/ PCW | PCW Retrospective

18:30 – BEAUTIFUL 2016 (Curzon Soho, sc1) | Official Selection

20:30 – HARMONIUM (Curzon Soho, sc3) | UK PREM | Official Selection

Tuesday 25th October
18:30 – A YELLOW BIRD (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Q&A | Competition

20:30 – MIDNIGHT DINER (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Q&A | Special Spotlight

Wednesday 26th October 
18:30 – THE WORLD OF US (Regent Street Cinema) | Q&A | Competition | Stories of Women

18:30 – STOKER + DAY TRIP (Hackney Picturehouse, sc3) | PCW Retrospective

20:30 – BY THE TIME IT GETS DARK (Regent Street Cinema) | Stories of Women

Thursday 27th October
18:30 – HEE (Regent Street Cinema) | Q&A | Stories of Women

20:30 – SPIRIT’S HOMECOMING (Regent Street Cinema) | Q&A in association with PAWA | Stories of Women

Friday 28th October
15:30 – KARAOKE CRAZIES (Curzon Soho, sc1/3) | Q&A | Competition

18:30 – JOINT SECURITY AREA (Ritzy Picturehouse, sc2) | PCW Retrospective

Saturday 29th October 
10:00 – BREATHING UNDERWATER (ICA Cinema, sc1) | Film Festival Focus

15:00 – NESSUN DORMA (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Offical Selection

15:30 – SPIRIT’S HOMECOMING (Sheffield Showroom) | Q&A | Stories of Women

18:30 – THIRST + JUDGEMENT (Ritzy Picturehouse, sc2) | PCW Retrospective

Sunday 30th October
10:00 – THE LAUNDRYMAN (ICA Cinema, sc1) | Competition

13:00 – PEKAK (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Offical Selection

15:30 – BANGKOK NITES (Curzon Soho, sc3) | Official Selection

18:30 – I’M A CYBORG + BITTER SWEET SEOUL (Hackney Picturehouse, sc3) | PCW Retrospective

19:00 – THREE (Ham Yard Hotel) | Q&A | Official Selection

*Subject to change (venues, times)

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About View of the Arts

We are both enthusiasts of the arts, passionate about cinema, theatre, and literature. Roxy is a successful Arts Journalist, who writes for several magazines and websites. Maggie is a freelance film producer and an associate producer. We Will Rock the World One Day!

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Film