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London East Asia Film Festival 2017: full programme details

LEAFF17 logo

Yesterday the London East Asia Film Festival released details of the films it would be showing at its 2017 iteration. Plenty of Korean interest, as you might expect, with a focus on the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (last year, if you remember, they had a Jeonju spotlight).

The opening gala screening, Hwang Dong-hyuk’s The Fortress, is an historical drama set in Namhansanseong at the time of the 1636 Manchu invasion of Joseon Korea. It is scheduled to be released in Korea in early October. Director Hwang and its lead actor Lee Byung-hun will be in London for its international premiere to answer questions.

Other recent big Korean releases to be featured are Lee Joon-ik’s Anarchist From Colony, another colonial era drama from the director who brought us Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet; the thriller V.I.P from Park Hoon-jung (I Saw the Devil, The Unjust); the director’s cut of Battleship Island; and, possibly the one I’m most looking forward to, Huh Jung’s The Mimic: I enjoyed his debut thriller Hide and Seek at the 2013 London Korean Film Festival.

At time of writing, the screenings in the Stories of Women strand are available for booking. Keep checking the LEAFF website for more details.

The actors / directors currently confirmed for coming to London are as follows:

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk, THE FORTRESS
Director Kim Jong-kwan, THE TABLE
Director Jeon Kyu-hwan, THE END
Director Woo Kwang-hoon, DANCING WITH JIKJI
Director Ko Bong-soo, LOSER’S ADVENTURE
Actor Lee Byung-hun, THE FORTRESS
Actor Park Hae-il, THE FORTRESS
Actress Jung Eun-chae, THE TABLE
Actress Lim Soo-jung, THE TABLE
Actor Cha Inpyo, 50

In the list of films at the bottom of the below press release, the Korean movies are highlighted in red. Right at the bottom of the page the post has been updated for the screening times of the Korean films. Enjoy.

London East Asia Film Festival announces 2017 programme

(London 19 – 29 October 20187)

LEAFF poster

LONDON, 12 September 2017 — Opening this year on 19th October at ODEON Leicester Square with Hwang Dong-hyuk’s historical drama The Fortress, as an international premiere, the London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) will run for 11 days from 19th to 29th October. It will close with Takeshi Kitano’s latest yakuza film that completes the Outrage trilogy, Outrage Coda.

Building on the success of last year’s first edition, LEAFF 2017 will showcase enchanting stories, insightful discussions, and diverse filmic voices from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. Screenings, including 7 international premieres, 7 European premieres, 13 UK premieres, will take place at prominent venues around central London: including ODEON Leicester Square, Picturehouse Central, Regent Street Cinema, Empire Cinema Haymarket, ODEON Panton Street, and East London’s Rich Mix.

There will be seven strands that run throughout the festival: Official Selection, Hong Kong: Now and Then (1997-2017), Stories of Women, Festival Focus, Retrospective, Competition, and Special Highlights Screenings. These sections have been carefully curated and programmed by Festival Director Hyejung Jeon, with Festival Advisors Roger Garcia (Hong Kong International Film Festival) and Mark Adams (Artistic Director, Edinburgh International Film Festival); Programmers Jasper Sharp (Critic), Chanel Kong (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival) and Eunyoung Mo (Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival); and Programme Consultant Damon Wise (Critic).

The overarching theme of LEAFF 2017 is “time” and the perception of “time”. Opening with a period drama that is set in 1636, through the selection of films, different generations are shown through stories from East Asia. Through the Special Highlights Screenings, the audience are able to revisit animations that have never been shown on the big screen from Japan, celebrating the 100 years of Japanese anime. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, we look back at how Hong Kong cinema has shaped contemporary cinema over the twenty years. In all sections, social issues related to time is demonstrated whether that is addressing historical events and hardships or simply a relationship between a mother and a daughter.

Official Selection

In addition to our stellar Opening and Closing Galas, the LEAFF Official Selection will showcase the latest works from some of East Asia’s most distinguished filmmakers. These include Lee Joon-ik’s powerful Anarchist from Colony, Park Hoon-jung’s politically charged thriller VIP and time-loop sci-fi Reset by Chang. Highlighting the stylistic and cultural heterogeneity of the festival, this section will also feature Li Ruijun’s ruthlessly realistic, yet soft and empathetic Walking Past the Future and the Philippines’ Joel Lamangan’s indie hit Bhoy Intsik. Director Liu Jian’s Have A Nice Day employs animation to heighten a sense of societal transformation in contemporary China.

Hong Kong: Now and Then (1997-2017)

This year sees the 20th anniversary of the inception of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. To mark this historic occasion, LEAFF will celebrate twenty years of breathtaking Hong Kong cinema with a specially curated programme. Highlights include Johnnie To’s madcap Triad caper Triad Election; Herman Yau’s latest explosive thriller Shock Wave; Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s venerated double-crossing police narrative Infernal Affairs, and Wong Kar Wai’s kaleidoscopic love letter to martial arts The Grandmaster shown in 3D for the first time in the UK. LEAFF looks back at how Hong Kong cinema has shaped not only contemporary Hong Kong cinema but the world cinema through advanced direction and filmmaking over the last twenty years.

Stories of Women

LEAFF 2017 sees the return of our lauded Stories of Women section. The strand offers cinematic prisms into the female experience, with narratives concerning the lives of women from across East Asia. Stories of Women is supported by PAWA, the Pan-Asian Womens’ Association that is a charity to help young girls in Asia receive education. This year’s films include Cho Hyun-hoon’s ambitious debut Jane that addresses gender issues and how lonely one can feel as a girl even at an early age, Kim Jong-kwan’s single location indie drama The Table, Huang Hui-chen’s introspective documentary Small Talk, based on a conversation between the Director and her mother, and Jenny Lu’s critique of sexual exploitation in The Receptionist, filmed in London. With the two directors from Taiwan, Huang Hui-chen and Jenny Lu, a night to celebrate Taiwanese filmmaking will be organized in partnership with the Ministry of Culture Taiwan and Taipei Representative Office in the UK.


This strand celebrates the life and work of a luminary of East Asian Cinema. Following the success of the section last year with the Korean filmmaker, Park Chan-wook, this year, LEAFF will hold a retrospective to look back at Japanese cinema to celebrate much loved past works of Japan’s most revered contemporary filmmakers including Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Naomi Kawase.

The retrospective highlights the winner of the Jury Prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard competition: Japan’s own master of horror, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata, a dark family drama, as well as Naomi Kawase’s beautiful and thoughtful The Mourning Forest. This section revisits works of contemporary Japanese filmmakers who have internationally released their features this year and will have UK release in the coming months. LEAFF is delighted to show the latest work by Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Before We Vanish.

“Fantastic Film” Festival Focus

Each year, LEAFF collaborates with Asian film festivals to bridge the cultural gap between East and West. For this year’s Festival Focus, we are delighted to partner with Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), which is known to screen the best thrillers and fantasy genre films from Korea and East Asia. Programmer Eunyoung Mo will attend to introduce the section. Features include a complex and dark animation I’ll Just Live In Bando directed by Lee Yong-sun, the provocative The End by the award-winning Director Jeon Kyu-hwan, and a collection of fantastic shorts by Korean actors who turned directors.


The Competition Section endeavours to promote imaginative and original features from the next generation of East Asian filmmakers. Focusing on directors with three features or less, the competition will be judged by our panel of industry experts, including Helen De Witt (programmer, BFI) and Giovanna Fulvi (programmer, Toronto International Film Festival). The section includes poignant and surreal Vietnamese drama The Way Station (dir. Anh Hong), hilarious comedy Loser’s Adventure (dir. Ko Bong-soo), Japanese actor Takumi Saito’s debut as a director in Blank 13, terrifying Korean horror The Mimic (dir. Huh Jung) and hard-hitting social drama Shuttle Life (dir. Tan Sent Kiat), some of which have already received good results back home. All of these films will be shown as UK or European premieres. The best filmmaker will be awarded the Phillips-Lee Award and a cash prize of £2000.

The Centenary of Japanese Animation

LEAFF 2017 will also present special screenings to surprise and delight all fans of East Asian Cinema. Titled “The Centenary of Japanese Animation”, this specially curated section by curator and specialist in Japanese cinema, Jasper Sharp, will celebrate a century of Japanese animation. This special section commemorates the centenary with premieres of two overlooked classics that have remained bizarrely little known and rarely screened in the United Kingdom, and a panel discussion exploring its rich and varied history: Maasaki Yuasa’s hallucinatory feature Mind Game, and Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto’s provocative Cleopatra: Queen of Sex.

Hyejung Jeon, Director of The London East Asia Film Festival commented: “Building on our incredibly successful first edition, I am delighted to bring LEAFF back to London in 2017. As a global hub, London represents the perfect Western gateway to show films from all over East Asia, appreciating the rich diversity of a region bubbling with creativity and renewal. We look forward to seeing you at the largest LEAFF yet!”


  • ODEON Leicester Square, 24-26 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LQ.
  • Picturehouse Central, Corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, London W1D 7DH
  • Empire Cinema Haymarket, 63-65 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RL
  • Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW
  • ODEON Panton Street, 11-18 Panton Street, London, SW1Y 4DP
  • The Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, Soho, London W1D 3DH
  • Rich Mix, 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

Booking information will be released soon through the Time Out and cinema venue websites


The London East Asia Film Festival (LEAFF) runs from 19th-29th October 2017. The festival presents a varied and absorbing film programme, which includes European and UK premieres. Screenings are supplemented by guest appearances by filmmakers, actors, critics and academics who will partake in Q&A sessions following most screenings. The 2016 edition saw 5,000 spectators delight in a diverse and compelling programme, a comprehensive retrospective on Korean auteur Park Chan-wook and works from distinguished filmmakers including Jia Zhangke, Kang Woo-suk and Kiyoshi Kurosawa.

LEAFF is generously sponsored by LG Electronics, Hyundai Motors UK, Kumho Tyre, Corinthia Hotel, British Airways, and is supported by the Taipei Representative Office in the UK and the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, London.

LEAFF aims to champion the growing collaboration and diversity in East Asian filmmaking. LEAFF’s philosophy marks a shift in the cinematic landscape of East Asia, and moves away from cultural and cinematic borders. Its vision is to showcase East Asian culture in the UK and provide a point of access for those interested in the region.

About Festival Director Hyejung Jeon

Prior to LEAFF, Hyejung Jeon previously programmed and directed the London Korean Film Festival for 9 years. She has organised extensive festivals in other arts sectors including music, performance and fashion. She is the founder of the K-Music Festival and K-pop Academy. To introduce Korean cinema in the UK, she organised a retrospective of works by director Hong Sang-soo with the ICO touring around 20 cities. She has also collaborated with the BFI for a retrospective of director Im Kwon-taek’s films.

Furthermore, she has invited representative figures of Korean cinema including director Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho, Kim Jee-woon, Choi Dong-hoon, and Ryoo Seung-wan to provide opportunities to meet with the London audience. Collaborating with film schools in the UK, she organised visits for key filmmakers from Korea to give talks to students. For 8 years, she organised free Korean film nights which included a ‘Year of 12 Directors’, a ‘Year of 4 Actors’ and a ‘Year of 4 Filmmakers’. At present, she is the Director of the London East Asia Film Festival which she founded. She was awarded for the contribution to Korean cinema by Bom Film Productions with the recommendation of Korean directors and actors. Working closely with UK distribution companies, she continues to provide a platform for introducing Asian cinema to local audience.

LEAFF 2017 Programme

More titles to be added, ticket information to be announced soon. Korean titles are highlighted in red.

Official LEAFF Selection

The Fortress | Hwang Dong-hyuk | South Korea | 2017 | 139mins | Opening Gala
Outrage Coda | Takeshi Kitano | Japan | 2017 | 104mins | Closing Gala

Anarchist From Colony | Lee Joon-ik | South Korea | 2017 | 129min
Walking Past the Future | Li Ruijun | China | 2017 | 128 mins
Battleship Island (Director’s Cut) | Ryoo Seung-wan | South Korea | 2017 | 150mins
Reset | Chang | Hong Kong | 2017 | 106min
One Day | Banjong Pisanthanakun | Thailand | 2016 | 136min
Have A Nice Day | Liu Jian | China | 2017 | 97min
V.I.P. | Park Hoon-jung | South Korea | 2017 | 128min
Bhoy Intsik | Joel Lamangan | Phillipines | 2017 | 107min
Love Off the Cuff | Pang Ho-cheung | Hong Kong, China | 2017 | 117min

Stories of Women

The Table | Kim Jong-kwan | South Korea | 2016 | 72min
Jane | Cho Hyunhoon | South Korea | 2016 | 104min
Small Talk | Huang Hui-chen | Taiwan | 2016 | 88min
The Receptionist | Jenny Lu | Taiwan/UK | 2016 | 100min

Hong Kong Now and Then

Infernal Affairs | Andrew Lau and Alan Mak | Hong Kong | 2002 | 101mins
Triad Election | Johnnie To | Hong Kong | 2006 | 95min
The Grandmaster (3D) | Wong Kar-Wai | Hong Kong | 2013 | 122min
Shock Wave | Herman Yau | Hong Kong | 2017 | 119min

Festival Focus

I’ll Just Live In Bando | Lee Yongsun | South Korea | 2017 | 85min
The End Of April | Kim Kwang-bok | South Korea | 2016 | 120min
The End | Jeon Kyu-hwan | South Korea | 2017 | 105min
50 | Cha Inpyo | South Korea | 2016 | 19min
Light My Fire | Namkoong Min | South Korea | 2016 | 18min
2Nights 3Days | Cho Eunji | South Korea | 2016 | 29min
Adlip – Improvisation | Hee Joonseok | South Korea | 2017 | 16min

Retrospective: Japanese Cinema

Before We Vanish | Kiyoshi Kurosawa | Japan | 2017 | 129mins |
Tokyo Sonata | Kiyoshi Kurosawa | Japan | 2009 | 120min
The Mourning Forest | Naomi Kawase | Japan | 2007 | 97min
Our Little Sister | Hirokazu Koreeda | Japan | 2015 | 126min


The Mimic | Huh Jung | South Korea | 2017 | 100min
Who Killed Cock Robin | Cheng Wei-Hao | Taiwan | 2017 | 118min
The Way Station | Ahn Hong | Vietnam | 2016 | 91min
A Special Lady | Lee An-kyu | South Korea | 2017 | 90min
Soul Mate | Derek Tsang | China | 2016 | 110min
Shuttle Life | Tan Seng Kiat | Malaysia | 2017 | 90min
Dancing With Jikji | Woo Kwang-hoon and David Redman | South Korea | 2017 | 102min
Blank 13 | Takumi Saito | Japan | 2017 | 72min
Loser’s Adventure | Ko Bong-soo | South Korea | 2017 | 105min
I’ll Just Live In Bando | Lee Yongsun | South Korea | 2017 | 85min
The Receptionist | Jenny Lu | Taiwan/UK | 2016 | 100min

Special Highlights Screening

Mind Game | Masaaki Yuasa | Japan | 2004 | 103min
Cleopatra: Queen of Sex | Osamu Tezuka and Eiichi Yamamoto | Japan | 1970 | 112min
Millenium Actress | Satoshi Kon | Japan | 2001 | 87min

Timetable: the Korean screenings

OLS = Odeon Leicester Square | PC = Picturehouse Central | EH = Empire Haymarket | RSC = Regent Street Cinema | RM = Rich Mix | OTCR = Odeon Tottenham Court Road

Thu 19 Oct 7pm The Fortress + Q&A w dir Hwang Dong-hyuk, actors Lee Byung-hun + Park Hae-il Opening Gala OLS
Fri 20 Oct 7pm Anarchist From Colony + Q&A w actor Lee Je-hoon LEAFF Selection PC
10pm V.I.P. LEAFF Selection PC
Sun 22 Oct 6:30pm A Special Lady Competition EH
Mon 23 Oct 6:30pm The Table + Q&A w dir Kim Jong-kwan, actresses Lim Soo-jung + Jung Eun-chae Stories of Women RSC
8:30pm Jane + Q&A w dir Cho Hyun-hoon Stories of Women RSC
Tue 24 Oct 6:30pm Jane + Intro w dir Cho Hyun-hoon Stories of Women RM
7pm End Of April + Intro w programmer Mo Eun-young BIFAN Focus EH
Wed 25 Oct 6:30pm The Table + Q&A w dir Kim Jong-kwan, actress Lim Soo-jung Stories of Women RM
6:30pm BIFAN Shorts: 50 | Light My Fire | 2Nights 3Days | Adlip – Improvisation + Q&A w dir/actor Cha In-pyo BIFAN Focus EH
8:30pm The End + Q&A w dir Jeon Kyu-hwan BIFAN Focus RM
Thu 26 Oct 6pm Battleship Island (Director’s Cut) LEAFF Selection RM
6:30pm The Mimic Competition EH
8:30pm Bahngbak Film Music concert (Bang Jun-seok + Baik Hyun-jhin) RM
Sat 28 Oct 2:30pm Dancing With Jikji + Q&A w dir Woo Kwang-hoon + prod Kevin DC Chang Competition OTCR
5pm Loser’s Adventure + Q&A w dir Ko Bong-soo Competition OTCR
Sun 29 Oct 2:30pm I’ll Just Live In Bando BIFAN Focus OTCR


(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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