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Myung Films fuels Korean movie industry

This is the second in a four-part series featuring IBK’s support for cultural content. ― Ed.

Film director Frank Capra once said that movies were one of the three universal languages, along with mathematics and music. Great films bring all walks of life into a common pool of fun and ethos, to enrich the modern times.

Myung Films, too, has sought to produce great films with both fun and ethos, which can bring together cinemagoers at home and abroad. Bold themes, an efficient production system and creative marketing are Myung Films’ strength. 

Actress and pop star Suzy (right) and actor Lee Je-hoon appear in the film ”Architecture 101,” produced by Myung Films. (Lotte Entertainment)
Actress and pop star Suzy (right) and actor Lee Je-hoon appear in the film ”Architecture 101,” produced by Myung Films. (Lotte Entertainment)

Founded in 1995, the film producer has made 36 films of diverse genres, including social drama “Cart (2014),” retro-romance “Architecture 101” (2012), animation film “Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild” (2011) and inter-Korean drama “Joint Security Area” (2000).

Film critics credit Myung Films for its contribution to enhance the development and industrialization of the Korean film industry for the past two decades. The company has raked in phenomenal success out of what was once considered the “genres doomed for mediocre,” such as rom-melo and children’s animation.

Film “Architecture 101,” for instance, hit 4.1 million views in eight weeks, becoming the first Korean romance drama to break the 4 million mark. The movie swept six awards in five film awards and closed the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2012.

Children’s animation film “Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild” snagged six awards here and globally, including the silver in the Switzerland-based Castellinaria International Young People’s Film Festival and the best animation award from the Asian Pacific Film Festival. The animation film drew a record-high 2.2 million viewers, elevating homegrown animation to the global level.

Besides hitting jackpots in the conventionally “arid” genres, Myung Films also ventured to explore the new social movements and themes.

In 1997, the film production company launched the romance drama “The Contact,” starring actor Han Suk-kyu and actress Jeon Do-yeon, a novel attempt to project the Internet-friendly age of “N generation culture.”

Three years later, the company produced “JSA: Joint Security Area,” directed by award-winning Park Chan-wook, starring actors Song Gang-ho, Lee Byung-hun and actress Lee Young-ae, to cinematize the sorrow of the divided nation.

In addition to hitting the jackpot with its own diversity and non-blockbuster films, Myung Films has engaged in fostering the Korean diversity films.

While many of Korean diversity movies wish to deliver powerful message through not-so-friendly plots and genres, they often suffer from the increasing polarization of the commercial and the diversity movies. Due to the widespread risk-avoiding sentiment among investors, financial difficulties are the biggest hurdle for diversity film producers and small and medium-sized distributors.

Lee Eun, chief executive of Myung Films, is a consulting council member of the cultural content unit of the Industrial Bank of Korea.

The IBK, a bank tailored to small and medium enterprises, has been provided financial partnership for promising movies in the forefront and helping the Korean content sector become a value-added service industry.

By Chung Joo-won (