Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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“The Great Seer” • “The Lord of the Drama” • “My Love, Madame Butterfly” • “Five Fingers”

The 32nd Annual Hawaii International Film Festival ended last week with the South Korean film "The Thieves." The film broke a record at HIFF as the most popular closing night film ever.

Synopses of this week's Korean drama shows • "My Love by My Side" • "Warrior Baek Dong Su" • "Live in Style" • "Tree with Deep Roots"

Actor Jun Ho Jung is hosting the 2011 APEC Summit Celebrity Performance at 6 p.

Director Kim Ji Woon will make his English-language film directorial debut with "The Last Stand," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. • This Week: 'My Love by My Side' -- 'Lie to Me' -- 'City Hunter' -- 'New Tales of Gisaeng'

A delegation from Maui, including Mayor Alan Arakawa and Maui County Council Chairman Danny Mateo, just returned from a weeklong trip to South Korea to encourage tourism and cultural exchange.

Pyeongchang, South Korea, took the international spotlight on July 6 when the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be held there.

"Dancing with the Stars" and "Korea's Got Talent" are getting a lot of attention nowadays. The Korean versions of the hit American programs have the same structure and style as their counterparts.

The Korean Chamber of Commerce will hold the 10th Korean Festival Friday and Saturday at Kapiolani Park. The event kicks off Friday with a 7:30 p.m. Sunset on the Beach showing of a Korean film at Queen's Surf Beach.

"The Wedding Palace," a feature film produced and directed by Christine Yoo, is making waves on the film festival circuit.

For those who watch Korean dramas using an Oceanic Cable digital box, the Start Over function can be useful if you get home after your favorite show has started.

One of Korea's largest networks, KBS, is in Hawaii filming the "Challenger" series that will start showing in Korea on June 24. Of the 16 episodes slated for the weekly show, 15 will be filmed at locations in Hawaii.

Cinema Seoul Power: Korean Film Festival starts Saturday at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

South Korean director Kim Ki-duk completed his trifecta of awards with his best-picture win at the 64th Cannes Film Festival for his film "Arirang" in the Un Certain Regard category.

Hit TV series "Athena: Goddess of War," which was partly filmed in Hawaii, is now available on demand at KLIFE Oceanic Cable Channel 81. "Athena," a sequel to "IRIS," was shot in October soon after the Hawaii International Film Festival. Cha Seung Won, star of "Athena," was a guest at HIFF last year.

The 64th Cannes Film Festival started Wednesday with three South Korean films entered in the Un Certain Regard category. The three films are "The Murderer (aka ‘The Yellow Sea')," "Arirang" and "The Day He Arrives."

Today as Americans celebrate Mother's Day, it is Parent's Day in Korea. There is no Mother's Day and Father's Day. What do Koreans do on Parent's Day?

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the "K-Drama" column. To celebrate and to say thank you to the weekly fans who read this column, I would like to do a drawing for six lucky winners picked randomly to come to a dinner hosted by myself on a date to be determined.

Korean celebrities are using Facebook to keep in touch with each other and their fans. Most have two accounts, one for their public and another for personal use. How can you tell the difference?

Korea Broadcasting System will be filming a reality show in the islands soon. Hawaii was chosen as the location for "Challenger" because of its historical significance with the first Korean immigrants arriving in 1903, and for its variety of filming locations, such as volcanoes, beaches, mountains, forests and skyscrapers.

Kudos to the Korean Language Flagship Center at the University of Hawaii for partnering with my alma mater Roosevelt High School to provide a Korean-language class. The Korean class is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15 to 5 p.m. for 18 weeks.

"The Last Godfather," a new Korean film released Friday, is a comedy produced and directed by Korean comic icon Shim Hyung Rae, who also produced "D-War" aka "Dragon War." The movie stars Harvey Keitel, Jason Mewes and Michael Rispoli.

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, KBFD made several $5,000 donations to local organizations: Hawaii International Film Festival, Public School of Hawaii Foundation, Korean Festival, Korean Cultural Center Building fund and Red Cross for the Japan relief fund.

KBFD celebrates its 25th anniversary Thursday, and to commemorate our birthday, we will be launching a new English-language TV series, "Uhdega TV: Korea Mania.

On a recent trip to Korea with our production team filming for our new series, "Korea Mania," I came across a restaurant in the city of Busan called Ono. What are the chances that "ono," which means delicious in Hawaiian, could possibly have another meaning in Korean or another language?

Actor Jung Joon Ho was in Hawaii for the past two weeks after a successful fan meeting in Japan. Four thousand fans received tickets to his fan club meeting, and several thousand were turned away.

It's Oscar Sunday, and you might be wondering whether any Korean movies have ever gotten an Oscar nomination. More than 19 films have been submitted for consideration since 1962, but none has ever received a nomination.

The latest craze in Korea is virtual golf, or "screen golf." Some reasons for its appeal are that green fees are about $15 to $30 per round, about a tenth of the cost for "real" golf; convenience, as most neighborhoods have an indoor screen golf "course"; and you can play any time of the day and in any weather.

"JUMP," a Korean martial arts spectacle, is coming to the Hawaii Theatre for fifteen shows April 5 to 17. Tim Bostock Productions presents "JUMP," which blends a story of a Korean family skilled in martial arts with stunts and comedy.

The TV series "Athena: Goddess of War" will start Wednesday. The sequel to the hit TV series "IRIS" has new actors cast as a new counterterrorism organization.

The Korean romantic comedy "Finding Mr. Destiny" is opening Friday at the Pearlridge multiplex. The film stars heartthrob Gong Yoo ("Coffee Prince," "She's on Duty" and "Spy Girl") and Im Soo Jung ("Woochi," "I'm A Cyborg," "But That's OK," "Lump of Sugar" and "Tale of Two Sisters").

In commemoration of SBS Network's 20th anniversary, a special collection of 10 older dramas, each condensed into a one-hour summary, will be shown on KBFD over five weeks, starting tomorrow. The shows will air at 9:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.

Korean networks recently held their drama awards and here are some of the results: For KBS: The Grand Prize went to Jang Hyuk for his role in "Chuno" ("Slave Runners"). For SBS: The Grand Prize went to Go Hyun Jung for "Daemul," her second such honor.

Hawaiian Airlines will mark another milestone Wednesday with its inaugural nonstop flight from Honolulu to Incheon International Airport in South Korea. The airline is offering four flights a week.

March 24 will mark KBFD's 25th anniversary. Back when we first started broadcasting, no one believed we would make it past a few years, let alone actually launch a station.

Hyundai Motor America will be the title sponsor for the PGA Tournament of Champions at Kapalua next week, the first PGA event of the year. Formerly known as the SBS Championship in 2010 and Mercedes Championship before that, Hyundai has a three-year sponsorship deal for the event.

I was in Korea earlier this month to attend the VIP press screening of the new TV series "Athena: Goddess of War" in Seoul on Dec. 9 at the COEX Megabox multiplex. All the lead actors appeared for the private screening, including Jung Woo Sung, Soo Ae and Cha Seung Won.

Korea's top star, Jang Dong Gun ("Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War" and "Good Morning President"), is in "The Warrior's Way," playing in theaters now.

The 31st annual Blue Dragon Film Awards, held over Thanksgiving weekend, recognize the artistic and production values of popular Korean films of the year.

Whether or not you attended the Foodie Tour to Korea last month, you have the option of attending a closing dinner reception on Friday at the Waikiki Resort Hotel Orchid room at 7 p.m. The post-tour gathering is to distribute all the photographs taken on the trip, to reunite friends and to inform people interested in future tours.

The new series "Dae Mul" is already a big hit, and it's no surprise with Ko Hyun-jung ("Queen Seon-dok") and Kwon Sang-woo ("71-Into the Fire") as the stars of the show.

After my two-week trip to Korea for a successful foodie tour, making deals with networks and meeting film industry people, I can assure you that many popular TV dramas and films are coming soon. This week we have "Doctor Champ" and "Dae Mul" starting.

The first Foodie Tour group of 22 just returned after traveling throughout the Korean peninsula, visiting the cities of Jeonju, Mokpo, Sun Chun, Namhae, Pusan, Gyeongju, Pohang and Seoul, with a few smaller towns in between.

The just-finished Hawaii International Film Festival was the reason the Korean TV series "Athena" was partially filmed in the isles. The closing-night film — "71: Into the Fire" — stars Cha Seung-won, who also is in the cast for "Athena," so it was an opportunity to film here while at HIFF.

HIFF's 30th-anniversary surprise is tonight's international premiere of "Midnight FM," which was only released Oct. 14 in Korea. This thriller stars Soo Ae Park, who is best known for her role as Lady Junghwa in the hit TV series "Emperor of the Sea."

Actor Cha Seung Won and director John Lee arrive this week to attend the Hawaii International Film Festival's closing-night screening of "Into the Fire" Friday at Regal Dole Cannery Stadium 18 Theatres.

Korean entertainment has been in Hawaii for a while, but the next wave of Korean culture will be tourists. Korean Air already increased its number of direct flights between Korea and Hawaii by three flights per week in June.

Director John Lee, who is attending HIFF this year for his film "71: Into the Fire," has a Japanese film, "Sayonara Itsuka," being released in Hawaii on Oct. 15 at Pearlridge Consolidated.

The Hawaii International Film Festival is right around the corner and is celebrating its 30th anniversary. There at least six Korean films this year: "Man from Nowhere," "71: Into the Fire," "Woochi," "The Actresses," "Housemaid" and "Poetry."

One of Hawaii's largest Korean supermarkets, Palama Supermarket, is partnering with Mina Pharmacy to provide flu vaccinations every Saturday until Dec. 18 at the Dillingham store location only.

The Korean University Club is sponsoring a "K-Drama and Korean Films: Up Close and Personal" event at the University of Hawaii Korean Studies Center Auditorium at 6 p.m. Sept. 27.

Congratulations to Jung Woo Sung, who walked the red carpet last week at the Venice Film Festival for his latest film, "Reign of Assassins," which also stars Michelle Yeoh and is directed by John Woo.

Actor Won Bin ("Mother," "My Brother" and "Taegukki") stars in a new Korean blockbuster, "The Man from Nowhere," scheduled for U.S. release in October. He plays ex-special agent Cha Tae-sik, who tries to save a young girl, So-mi, from drug dealers who also trade in human organs.

Foodland's Give Aloha program has selected the Korean Cultural Center Fund as one of the nonprofit participants next month. If you have a Maika'i card, you can donate up to $249 at checkout and Give Aloha will match your donation.

A few remaining seats are available for the inaugural Foodie Tour to South Korea, Oct. 28 to Nov. 4. The tour starts in Seoul and will travel down the peninsula on the west coast and return to the capital after stops in a few southern cities.

The Korean restaurant and karaoke bar to hang out at nowadays is Cafe Duck Butt in Kakaako. Consider it a Korean tapas place to wind down with friends and $1 songs.

A new Korean movie, "The Servant," will be released at the Consolidated Ward 16 Honolulu and Maui Mall Megaplex in Kahului on Friday.

The big trend in the Korean music industry is the popularity of teen-idol bands. Wonder Girls played at Pipeline Cafe last weekend, but there are many more groups in South Korea singing their way into the hearts of the younger generations in Asia.

The Hawaii Korean Cultural Center will hold a fundraising concert Aug. 1 featuring the Far East Broadcasting Co.'s children's choir, comprising 450 members from 12 cities throughout Korea.

The much-anticipated K-pop Wonder Girls' (above) concerts at Pipeline Cafe have been rescheduled for Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the original June dates can be exchanged or refunded at point of purchase.

The Ninth Annual Korean Festival happens Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand. The free event will feature Korean music, dance, food, cultural displays, family activities and Korean-made products.

What do Korean drama celebrities Lee Byung Hun, Song Kang Ho, Jung Woo Sung, Lee Jun Ki, Oh Ji Ho, Ha Ji Won, Shin Hyun Joon, Tak Jae Hoon, Ju Jin Mo and Lee Ki Woo have in common? They were all guests of the Hawaii International Film Festival, most attending during my tenure as festival president and board chairman.

"Blades of Blood," a historical action movie, will be released at the Pearlridge West 16 Consolidated Theatre on Friday. The latest film by acclaimed director Lee Joon Ik, known for "The King and The Clown," stars Cha Seung Won, Hwang Jung Min, Han Ji Hye and Han Ji Hae.

There are rare moments in time that can truly unite Koreans all around the world for one single purpose. That moment is taking place this month in South Africa during the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

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