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Chinese films screened at Seoul movie festival
Chinese movies accounted for a tiny percentage of South Korea's box office last year, but China's film industry is hoping to change that.
The 2013 Chinese Film Festival in Seoul held from June 16 to 20 opened with the first South Korean screening of martial-arts film The Grandmaster.
Wong Kar-wai, the movie's director, stepped out onto the red carpet for the event along with stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi.
The director is a favorite among South Korean moviegoers, and the Chinese stars added some glamour to this year's opening ceremony
The film festival is playing a major role in bolstering cultural exchanges between South Korea and China. The biennial festival first opened in 2006, and this year's theme is "Meeting the Best Faces in Chinese Film".
A festival organizer said, "We are featuring some of the most popular films in China right now. We can see new trends developing in Chinese film. This year will be the biggest festival yet, and we've got some really big names coming."
The five-day event also introduced 11 recent Chinese works, including mainstream hit Back to 1942, which is set during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression.
Other films featured include internationally acclaimed drama A Simple Life, which won Deanie Ip the Best Actress Award at the 68th Venice Film Festival. Films with an urban narrative, like Lost in Thailand, Love is Not Blind and Caught in the Web, mark a turning point in the Chinese film industry, which had been dominated by kung fu films in the past.
A festival organizer said, "I think one of the most important reasons for the rapid development of the Chinese film industry is the support from the Chinese people and the government, who have invested a lot of money in the industry, which make us very jealous! I believe Chinese films will go on to impress and influence the world."
The Wall Street Journal - Global Times
Korean auditions draw big foreign turnout
In global auditions in Canada and the United States last summer, Korean talent scouts were awed by the number of non-Korean participants.
"Non-Koreans made up 60 percent of the participants," Yang Min-suk, CEO of YG Entertainment, was quoted as saying by Chosun Ilbo.
"We intended to select a range of new talents with an open mind but it was a surprise that so many foreigners showed up. They participated in auditions after taking into account the possibility that they could become international stars through Korean management companies," Yang said.
The phenomenon is attributed to a surge in the number of young foreigners who wish to become trainees with major Korean management companies like SM, YG, and JYP amid growing interest in K-pop stars such as Psy, Big Bang, and Girls' Generation.
Local management companies are also considering creating multi-ethnic boy or girl bands and pursuing related projects.
Talent agencies already are creating boy or girl bands aimed at the global market. There is a boy band created to specifically target ethnic Chinese fans in Asia: EXO-M created by SM.
EXO, a boy band with 12 members, consists of EXO-K and EXO-M. Kris, Luhan, Tao, and Lay of EXO-M are all Chinese. EXO-K (K means Korean) is based in Korea while EXO-M (M means Mandarin) is in China.
The two groups in EXO wear the same outfits, dance the same moves, and sing the same songs but in their respective languages.
"Recently, China's entertainment market has developed more and there is a growing preference for those from their own country. It is not as easy as before for us to export successful singers in Korea to China," an SM official said in an interview. "EXO-M is part of our new strategy."
Victoria of f(x) and Fei and Jia of Miss A are Chinese while Nickhun of JYP is Thai. They are already famous and have become international K-pop stars.
Victoria and Kris joined SM through its global auditions in recent years. "Most of the trainees are Asian but their ethnicities will become more diverse," a talent agency official said.
Experts say that amid the K-pop sensation around the world, there is a growing interest in Korea's star management system and there would be more foreigners knocking on the doors of Korean management companies.
Multinational K-pop group releases video
Rookie idol group M4M released the full music video for the Chinese version of "When You Leave Me", a mellow track included in the Starry Sky Media release back in March.
The music video stars label mate 4minute's Jihyun, who shared intimate scenes with M4M's leader Jimmy.
M4M, short for Mystery Formula and also the title of their first mini-album, is a collaborative project between Korea's Cube Entertainment and China's Starry Sky Media.
The album contains six tracks including their debut single "Sadness" in both Mandarin and Korean.
The members are said to have been put together after passing rigorous audition rounds in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
M4M is the latest boy band to take on both K-pop and C-pop. The rookie group is formed by four Chinese members - Jimmy, Alen, Vinson and Bin - and just made their debut in South Korea in March.
Daily Kpop News - k2nblog.com
(China Daily 06/27/2013 page12)