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Comedies, Zombies and Award-Winning Flicks: The Korean Film Festival in Australia Announces Full Program

July 26, 2019 Whats On No Comments Email Email

Celebrating 10 years of screening the very best in Korean cinema Down Under, The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA), returns in 2019 a line-up of exquisite new Korean films, from across all genres.

Taking place in Sydney (22-31 Aug), Canberra (22-25 Aug), Brisbane (5-8 Sept) and Melbourne (5-12 Sept), the Festival’s program features a whopping 22 films, 13 of which are Australian Premieres.

Presented by the Korean Cultural Centre Australia, KOFFIA showcases the very best of Korean culture through film. From big-budget blockbusters to intimate art-house flicks, the Festival presents a packed program of world-class cinema, plucked straight out of Korea’s booming film industry – Hallyuwood.

KOFFIA Artistic DirectorDavid Park, says, “From the biggest blockbusters, to  Bong Joon-ho’s festival award sweeping hit Parasite, two very different but equally great zombie flicks, historical dramas, touching documentaries and thrilling action hits – this is without a doubt one of our biggest programs from the last 10 years.”

“We’re incredibly pleased to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Korean Film Festival in Australia which coincides with the 100 year anniversary of Korean Film. We’ve tried to do justice to this great occasion with a stellar line-up of film” said Park.

KOFFIA is a cinematic experience for people of all tastes, ages and cultural backgrounds. As such, every film presented at the Festival screens with English subtitles.

The program includes:


Winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival and Sydney’s own Sydney Film Festival Prize, Parasite is a satire on income inequality by renowned director Bong Joon-ho. Widely regarded as 2019’s best film Parasite is a dark comedy-drama that will have audiences glued to their seats.

A fully-fledged blockbuster in South Korean, Take Point is the second mainstream film for star Ha Jung-woo (The Handmaiden) and centred on a CIA-backed plot to abduct North Korea’s supreme leader. Billed as a cross between Wag the Dog and The Expendables, this action thriller is the perfect mix of clever plot and cracking action choreography.

The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil is an action thriller in which a South Korean gang lord teams up with a cocky young cop to find a killer. Slick, fun and action packed, the film has been such a hit that a U.S. remake, produced by Sylvester Stallone, is already in the works.

Fast paced and wacky, Extreme Job is a Korean comedy in the tradition of Police Academy. The film follows inept narcotics police who buy the failing restaurant they are using to stake out a drug lord, only to make it a roaring success. Extreme Job is South Korea’s highest grossing box office film of all time, one not to miss!


Based on the true story of a general in the 1990s who must win the trust of North Korea’s leaders and assess its nuclear weapons programme, The Spy Gone North, is a cold war story of espionage. Another true story, The Great Battle, is a historical film about the siege of Ansi Fortress and the epic eighty-eight day battle that Yang Man-chun and his Goguryeo troops fought against 500,000 invading Tang dynasty men. Finally, A Resistancelooks at actual events that took place when Korea was under the rule of Japan and a young girl’s resistance to her oppressors as she joins in the Korean independence movement.


From the studio behind the cult hit Train to BusanRampant is a period zombie thriller featuring incredible action sequences and stunning visuals. Set in ancient Korea Rampant sees the zombie genre meet political corruption in the Joseon dynasty – a must-see flick for any horror fans!

Another Zombie film, this time with a comedic twist is The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale. The film takes place in a hillbilly filled rural countryside where the villagers there have little to zero knowledge on what is happening far beyond the mountains. What is happening is a zombie outbreak and when the wandering undead finally make it to town, hilarity ensues. If you’re after jump scares and nightmare-inducing gore, this isn’t the film for you.


Innocent Witness is a deft and sensitive look at understanding mental disorder when a lawyer defending a housemaid accused of murdering her elderly employer wrestles with whether to put an autistic teenager on the witness stand.

Birthday is the first South Korean film to explore the tragic sinking of the MV Sewol Ferry that rocked South Korea to the core on 16 April 2014 and took the lives of 500 school children. The film follows a mother as she struggles to get past her crushing grief after having lost her son in the tragic accident.

The genre-fusing Swing Kids is a Korean War tap-dance musical retelling of the musical Roh Ki-soo. Starring charismatic K-pop star Do Kyung-soo, the story follows an American G.I. who finds kinship with a group of Asian misfits in a POW camp.

Family relationships are explored in two films in the Festival line-up. The directorial debut of veteran actor Kim Yoon-seok, Another Child depicts the struggle of two teenage girls caught in the cross-fire of their parent’s dysfunctional affair. Centred on an awkward family reunion, Hotel by the Riveris a poignant, mellow and melancholic film by prolific writer-director Hong Sang-soo.

Inseparable Bros looks at the 20 year strong bond between two disabled men who grew up in a care home together. One of the men has incredible physical strength but the mental age of a 5 year old, the other is intelligent by paralysed from the neck down. Their sibling like relationship is threatened after a person claiming to be one of the men’s mother demands the other release him to her.

Mal-Mo-E: The Secret Mission is set in Seoul during the 1940s, during Japanese occupation of Korea. After being fired from his job, a father tries to steal a man’s bag to pay for his son’s overdue school fees but fails. Later, he goes to a job interview only to find that the representative there is the man he tried to steal from.

Money is a high-octane tale of insider trading and market manipulation. If you liked the 80’s classic Wall Street, then you’ll live this flick!


Ongals, the Korean word for a baby’s babble, are a four man, non-verbal comedy group famous in Korean. This touching documentary isn’t all laughs, with the story following the group as they try to break into the US market via a gig in Vegas. The journey to the big stage isn’t easy with a founding member battling cancer and a rookie recruit struggling to adapt to the team.

Granny Poetry Club is a heart-warming documentary that centres on a group of grannies from a rural Korean town. Having grown up during the Japanese colonisation when the usage and education of the Korean language was banned in all schools, these women get a new lease on life when a Korean school opens in their village, sparking a fire in their hearts to become literate ladies.


In the oddball comedy, Loser’s Adventure, a high school wrestling team has one final match to prove their worth after the school principal threatens to cancel the sport.

The Dude in Me is a feel good body swapping flick where a career criminal and son of a mob boss switches bodies with a bullied 17 year old boy. Think Freaky Friday but with Korean crime lords.


Underdog is the only animation in the Festival’s line up this year and follows a dog whose life is turned upside when he’s abandoned by his owners. He joins a pack of street dogs on a journey north in search of a rumoured dog paradise.

2019 KOFFIA screening dates and locations:

  • Sydney: August 22 – 31 | Dendy Opera Quays
  • Canberra: August 22 – 25 | Palace Electric Cinema
  • Brisbane: September 5 – 8 | Elizabeth Picture Theatre
  • Melbourne: September 5 – 12 | Capitol Theatre

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