2012 has been a fantastic year for the UK as we were spoiled with Korean culture in all forms. Not only did we have Kpop and films, we were also able to experience amazing art, sports and many other exciting facets of Korean culture. We’re sure everyone has their own 2012 highlights but to round up this year and look forward to the next, here are some of our favourite moments from the past year!
Early on in the year it was announced that the Korean Cultural Centre in London would be holding the 100 days festival, “All Eyes on Korea”; 100 days packed full of arts, music, culture and fun! There were numerous exhibitions happening all around London from a very impressive collection of Kokdus, balloon sculptures on Southbank to the largest exhibition by Korean artists invading Saatchi Gallery. There were also many different types of musical events and concerts held as part of this festival. We had traditional Pansori, amazingly entertaining and innovative ensembles in the form of Gongmyong and some very mystical traditional Korean music, our favourite being Be-Being. With such a wide range of musical styles and genres, audiences were treated to everything they could possibly want to hear and more! Another fantastic part of the “All Eyes on Korea” festival was the annual Korean section of the Thames Festival, the biggest yet! With a massive range of fun activities to get involved in and great selection of acts on stage, hundreds turned up for a bit of Korean fun. Our particular favourite bit was the amazing Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demo team, who we got just a little enamoured with.
Whilst all that was happening, the KCC UK was also running one of their biggest project yet, the amazing “Year of the 12 Directors” which ran throughout the whole year. This has been a spectacular success, introducing Korean cinema and directors to London, all of whom have been very different and highly fascinating. This programme was a huge accomplishment and has allowed UK fans of Korean film to bring their own questions to the film directors and meet some of the heavyweights in Korean cinema. Being given the chance to participate in round table interviews with the directors has also given us some great personal insight into some admirable directors, as well as allowing us to meet some great people in the process. We personally would like to thank the KCC for giving us the chance to meet a certain idol of ours Lee Joon Ik! We can’t wait to see what fun film projects the KCC UK has in store for 2013!
The KCC UK further spoiled us UK folks to more of the finest of Korean cinema in this year’s London Korean Film Festival. Two weeks of film fun was had by all, and the films shown this year were huge hits with the audiences. The opening and closing galas were spectacular and star studded! The Opening Gala featured a visit and Q&A with Thieves director Choi Dong Hun and actor Kim Yun Suk. The Closing Gala not only saw Masquerade director Choo Chang Min, actors Lee Byung Hun and Ryu Seung Ryong, but also footballer Park Ji Sung and super Hollywood A Listers Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich! The whole Film Festival was just amazing, and the staff worked so hard during this intense event. A big ‘thank you’ is on order to everyone who made this event so successful.
2012 was also a special year for London and the UK as we played host to the Olympics. The Olympics gave us a great chance to see some great sporting talents from all over the world especially South Korea. It was truly a great year for South Korea in terms of medals, it seemed like the teams were hauling in Golds, Silvers and Bronzes daily! The Olympics was a rollercoaster of emotions and dramas for the South Korean team in particular the Shin A Lam controversy; a highly emotional moment that saw the whole world applaud the strong South Korean fencer. It also earned fencing and in particular the South Korean fencing team a MASSIVE amount of new fans as they entertained us each night with their fencing moves, some powerful, some hilarious, all effective!
And how can we talk about 2012 without mentioning Kpop? It was quite a year for UK Kpop fans! June offered us a mixture of Kpop and traditional culture in the form of the MBC festival, a MASSIVE highlight for us. We were treated to an amazing catwalk of hanboks by fabulous designer Park Sul Nyeo but the ultimate highlight had to be performances by 4Minute, Norazo, and our personal favourites, EXO-K! We still remember how our eardrums almost erupted from the screams when EXO-K came on stage. The MBC festival was a fantastic experience and we feel it’s only fair that EXO-M get a chance to come to London and feel the love from UK fans as otherwise that’s just favouritism (hinthint). The next big Kpop event was CN Blue’s concert. Treating UK Kpop fans to something a little different from regular Kpop with their live band, they totally rocked out and made us all want to go home and practice our air guitar. We fully appreciated their glorious stage presence and we’re sure the UK now has a lot more Boices! After CN Blue, we had Kpop Gods, BigBang. BigBang rocked two nights at Wembley arena and were nothing short of perfection. There were MCM segways, hilarious banter, sweaty torsos, rocking music and so much fabulous we didn’t know how to deal with life.
2012 has been an EPIC year for Korean Class MASSIVE. We’ve made many good friends and being given some amazing opportunities. We hope everyone else has had a good year and been able to indulge in all things Korean happening in the UK. We would really like to thank EVERYONE for all their help, love and support. We will continue to work hard! Here’s to 2013; may it be another unforgettable year!!!