Abu Dhabi: For the third year running, the Korean Film Festival will be coming to Abu Dhabi this week, with nine different films to be screened including one Emirati film as this year’s event looks to also celebrate the spirit of the UAE’s Year of Tolerance.

Organised by the Korean embassy, the film festival will take place at Yas Mall’s Vox Cinema from June 26-29, with all of its film displaying English subtitles. This year’s film festival will also be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement, with some of its films depicting stories during those historical events in Korea when its people rose up for independence and self governance.

“The Korean embassy organised the first Korean Film Festival in Abu Dhabi in 2017 as a useful platform to help promote cultural exchange between Korea and the UAE. Building on positive audience responses in the last two festivals, we are now hosting the third edition,” said Kwon Yongwoo, ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UAE.

“To celebrate the Year of Tolerance, we have selected some films that feature the lives of different people in different social settings. The opening film — Innocent Witness — is a drama that gets across a message of tolerance, highlighting the importance of trying to understand each other through frank communication,” he added.

Ambassador Kwon spoke positively on the growing Korean film industry, commenting on how it was looking to set itself apart from Hollywood giving its audiences a different type of blockbuster experience.

“There is a different feel to Korean films that you can catch when you watch them. The most distinctive characteristics would be the Korean style of storytelling that draws the sympathy and interests from the audience in any genre, coupled with witty details in every scene.

“Today, Korean style blockbusters are popular worldwide and non-commercial films are artistically recognised. To reach today’s success, the Korean film industry has undergone many years of growing pains, and the high quality seen in Korean films has been achieved as a result of the passion and ability of Korean filmmakers,” he added.

Ambassador Kwon also spoke on the cultural aspects of bringing a Korean Film Festival to the Middle East, calling entertainment an important tool of cultural exchange.

“Entertainment is a vital part of cultural exchange as it helps people to easily understand a culture they do not know much of in interesting ways.

“Korean films usually take subjects and settings from present day Korea or its past, making them a particularly effective media platform to showcase the Korean culture, history, tradition and the lives of Korean people,” he added.

“I believe that films contribute a lot to enhancing cultural understanding of the audience,” he said.

Korean Film Festival

Where: Yas Mall, Vox Cinemas, Abu Dhabi

When: June 26-29

Tickets: First come first serve, all tickets priced Dh21

Film schedule: http://k-filmfest.com/