A Sojourn from Earth to Cinema Heaven:
A Team Sejong Chronicle of the San Diego Korean Film Festival Opening Night
by Fateh K.
On August 23rd Team Sejong was invited to attend the Opening Night of the 2nd Annual San Diego Korean Film Festival (SDKOFF) at UltraStar Cinema in Mission Valley The purpose of the event was to provide a bridge between American and Korean cultures through media and to endorse diversity in the San Diego Community and featured famous films such as Man on the Edge, Secretly Greatly, The Face Reader, Attorney, Fatal Encounter, Commitment, Thread of Lies, and the Suspect. The following is a chronicle of events which marked an enchanting opening night.
At 7:00 pm, a capacity crowd slowly entered the theatre, each attendee was greeted by a row of volunteers politely bowing and cheerfully welcoming me and other attendees before carefully directing each person to their respective seats.
As the crowds became comfortable, the lights sent dim and circle of light appeared. The room goes silent for a moment, until a sweet voice recites “Arirang”. A female singer gracefully appeared in the foreground in traditional clothing, the background illuminated with a panorama of beautiful images of Nature and Korea, as the crowd became captivated by a rendition of the Korean National Anthem. Midway through her performance, she would be joined by another singer who would sing “Amazing Grace” in parallel. Throughout the performance the crowd was enthralled by the juxtaposition of beautiful images of Korea, and the powerful performance of the singers.
As the performances ended, San Diego was introduced for the first time to legendary Korean Actors Park Joong Hoon and Ahn Sung Ki as they were awarded trophies for Best Actors by the Film Festival Committee. Each actor showed both their humility and their charisma in a series of humorous anecdotes, self-reflection in working in the Korean Film Industry, and showing appreciation to the audience for their support. The capacity crowd would then reciprocate their appreciation with a loud applause for the actors.
As 8:00 pm drew near, rather than provide the clichéd filler of film previews, the festival staff opted to cap off the opening night ended with a proverbial “bang” as the crowd was treated to a fierce and thunderous Korean Drumming Session.
After a screening of the thrilling of “Fatal Encounter”, members of Team Sejong were invited to the exclusive Post-Festival Reception and bask in the splendor of dining with the likes of Ahn Sung Ki and Park Joong-hoon. A brilliant end to a truly enchanting opening night…