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WRITER: THI NGUYEN
CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Oct 21, 1999

Korean Culture, Film Festivals at UI to educate, entertain Oct. 28-31

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Everything Korean, from food and music to dance to film, will be featured during the inaugural Korean Culture and Film Festivals Oct. 28-31 on the UI campus.

The two festivals are being held in conjunction with one another to educate the local community about all facets of Korean culture, according to organizers. This is the first Korean festival in Iowa’s history, organizers believe. The Korean Cultural Festival is organized by the UI Korean Student Association (KSA) and The Korean Film Festival is organized by Kolors, the UI Korean communication studies group.

Korean professional performers from Des Moines, Chicago and New York will come to Iowa City to participate in the Korean Cultural Festival from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29 and 30, in Hubbard Park on the UI campus. A Korean art exhibition will begin Thursday, Oct. 28 in the Iowa Memorial Union, and a Korean Music Festival will be Saturday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. in Harper Hall in the Voxman Music Building.

"Our association is very committed to introducing our Korean culture in America," says KSA’s vice president Min-Seok Kang. "We realize that there’s a lack of accurate information about Korea here. Many American people think of Korea the way it was in the ‘50s or ‘60s."

Along with traditional Korean music, dance, food and games, the festival will feature Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Lee Hong Ku. The ambassador, who is an expert on North Korean affairs, is expected to speak about the new U.S.-Korean relationship. He will speak Friday, Oct. 29 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on "Korea in the Crises of Transition" at Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main Library. His lecture will be co-sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, UI International Programs and the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council.

The festival’s opening ceremony will be Friday, Oct. 29 at noon in Hubbard Park with opening comments by Yoon Man-Sig, KSA president, and with the Korean National anthem sung by Park John.

In conjunction with the Culture Festival, the Korean Film Festival will run Oct. 28-31.

Outside of big cities like Los Angeles or New York City, Korean films are almost never screened in America, and not many Americans know what distinguishes Korean films, says Myung-Keun Lee, vice president of Kolors.

"In America, Japanese, Indian and Chinese films are so famous, but not Korean," says Myung-Keun. "We’ve been thinking about how to spread out our culture, and since we study media, we think such a film festival will be the best way to inform American people about Korean culture."

Myung-Keun says that because it’s the first time Korean films are being introduced to the local community, Kolors members chose not to pick a theme for the films, preferring to show a wide variety. There will be three films with traditional and historical settings and three with contemporary settings of Korean society, which have been among the most popular films, according to box office records. All of the films will have English subtitles.

One of Korea’s most famous actresses, Soo-Youn Kang, who acted in one of the six films, "Surrogate Womb," and Ji-Young Jung, director of "White Badge," will participate in the festival and join an academic seminar about Korean films.

Kolors is a group of 14 Korean students, most of whom major in communication studies at the UI. The group was established in January 1999. "Now we have only Koreans in the group, but I hope some American students will join us," says Myung-Keun.

The festivals are sponsored by the following: KSA, Kolors, The UI Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS), the Institute of Cinema and Culture, UI Office of Vice President for Research, New Life Fitness Center, the UI Union Programming Board, the University of Iowa Student Government (UISG) as well as the local Korean community including the Korea America Friendship Society.

For more information on the Korean Film Festival, call Kwang-Hoon Woo, Kolors president, at (319) 353-4962 or the Kolors office at (319) 335-1307 or send email to kwawoo@blue.weeg.uiowa.edu. For more information on the Korean Cultural Festival, call Min-Seok Kang at (319) 351-3763 or send e-mail to nickkang@rocketmail.com.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Myung-Keun Lee at 341-5751, Kwang-Hoon Woo at 353-4962 or
Jane Russell at 358-7636.

Following are the schedules of events for the Korean Film and Culture Festivals, including brief explanations of each film to be shown. All events are free and open to the public.

Thursday, Oct. 28: Events in Shambaugh Auditorium, UI Main Library
5:30 p.m. -- Opening presentation by top Korean film critic Jina Yu, film professor at Dong-Kuk University in Korea
6:30 p.m. -- Screening of the film "Surrogate Womb" (1996, 95 minutes) followed by a question and answer period with the lead actress Soon Youn Kang. "Surrogate Womb" is a drama about the tragic life and love of a surrogate mother in the Korean history of the Yi-Dynasty. This movie won Best Director and Best Assistant Actress (Kim Hyeong-Ja) at the 32nd Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Friday, Oct. 29: Events in Room 101 Becker Communication Studies Building
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. -- Meeting with Ji-Young Jung, director of the film, "White Badge"
4:30-6:25 p.m. -- Screening of the film "Beat" (1997, 113 minutes) followed by a question and answer period. "Beat" is a gangster drama featuring the lives of three teenagers caught in a violent world of outcasts and fighters. This film won the Prize of Technology award.
6:50-9 p.m. — Screening of the film "White Badge" (1992, 124 minutes), followed by a question and answer period. "White Badge" is a drama about war, and portrays the lives of two soldiers and the traumatic impact the Vietnam War had on them. People will have an opportunity to learn about the Korean point of view on the Vietnam War.

Saturday, Oct. 30: Events in Room 101 Becker Communication Studies Building
11 a.m.-1 p.m. -- An academic seminar on film will be held with Professor Jina Yu and other distinguished guests
2 -3:45 p.m. -- Screening of the film, "310, 302" (1995, 101 minutes) followed by a question and answer period. This is a light feminist drama featuring two single, middle-aged women.
4:10-6:10 p.m. -- Screening of the film "Sopyunje" (1993, 112 minutes) followed by a question and answer period. This is a family drama set around the Korean War which portrays the important tradition of Pansori, a musical expression of lament that is used to relieve a collective sorrow, much like the Blues in America.

Sunday, Oct. 31: Events in Room 101 Becker Communication Studies Building
3-5 p.m. -- Screening of the film "Spring in My Hometown," (1998, 113 minutes) followed by a question and answer period. This is a drama about two children growing up in the aftermath of the Korean War, a world full of compromises and hardships. This movie also illustrates the relationship between a town and American soldiers.
5:20-6 p.m. -- Closing ceremony

Schedule for the Korean Cultural Festival:

Thursday, Oct. 28:
1-10 p.m. -- Korean Art Exhibition, South Room of the Iowa Memorial Union

Friday, Oct. 29:
10 a.m.-11 p.m. -- IMU North Room -- Korean Art Exhibition featuring North Korean art, including a free, public reception at 8 p.m.
11 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Korean Food Bazaar: A variety of Korean food will be available for purchase at a nominal fee.
Noon -- Hubbard Park -- Opening Ceremony
12:30-1:30 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Cha-Jeon-Nori, a unique traditional Korean war game will be played that includes 50 Koreans and 50 other participants
1:45-2:30 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Tae-Kwon-Do demonstration by a group from New Life Fitness World. This demonstration will be lead by Master Jung and other local experts.
2:45-3:20 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Traditional Korean music and dance with participants from the Music Institute of New York Dancing School.
3:30-5 p.m. -- Shambaugh Auditorium -- Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States Lee Hong Ku will speak on "Korea in the Crises of Transition"

Saturday, Oct. 30:
11 a.m.-4 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Korean Food Bazaar
11:20-noon -- Gil-Nori, a traditional Korean road performance will take place from downtown to Hubbard Park with a group of professional performers called Ma-Dang-Jip from Chicago
Noon-12:30 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Sa-Mul-Nori, a performance which consists of four traditional Korean percussion instruments
12:40-1 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Traditional Korean dance and song
1:10-1:50 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Han-Bok Show, a fashion show with 15 models featuring Korea’s national costume, which reflects the culture and climate of the Korean peninsula
2-2:40 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Tae-Kwon-Do demonstrations
2:50-3:30 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Cha-Jeon-Nori, traditional war game will be played that includes 50 Koreans and 50 other participants
3:30 to 4 p.m. -- Hubbard Park -- Kang-Kang-Su-Wol-Lae, an "all-in-one" -style Korean folk dance in which the audience is invited to participate
8 p.m. -- Harper Hall, Voxman Music Building — Korean Music Festival featuring Korean lyrical and children’s songs