queuing for movies

They all said the Pusan International Film Festival is the premiere festival in Asia. I’m no Asia film scholar, but it certainly is a big deal here. I’ve never seen teenagers wake up so early to get movie tickets before.

On the third day of the festival, we also woke up early to get tickets to some shows we wanted to watch. My friend Brian Hu is fully accredited and can get tickets one day ahead of time. I, as an Asia Pacific Arts photographer, am not.

Last night I attempted to reserve tickets for shows today. The interesting thing about this festival is that it really is designed for Koreans here to see Korean films and international films with Korean subtitles that they would ordinarily never have access to. If you are a Korean resident you can buy tickets online, at ATM machines and in banks. It’s wonderful to see all the excitement – the festival is visible in one way or another all over the city.

sell_out_thumbail147x200.gifA foreigner, however, needs to queue up. They sell tickets in person only on the day the movie is showing, and the tickets sell out fast. I got in line just after 9 a.m. and by the time I reached the counter at 10:45, more than half the films showing today were sold out. I did manage to get a ticket to the Malaysian film Sell Out! by Yeo Joon Han, which I am really looking forward to. Considering I was tasked with teaching students in Singapore to be creative (no joke), it will be interesting to see Yeo’s lampooning of how corporate interests wreak havoc on creative industries.

I also picked up a ticket to 63 Years On, a documentary by Kim Dong-won about Korean comfort women (sex slaves in World War II) and how their lives are now. I’ve crossed paths with this topic so many times before that the film caught my eye and I thought I’d take a look.

In the coming days, I’m hoping to catch a few more documentaries, and some films from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Tan Chee Wee, head of the Signapore Film Commission, gave brief opening statements at the beginning of an event adjacent to the festival, Asia Policy Plus, a two-day conference about film policies in the region. He speaks again tomorrow, so I’ll learn more about how films in Singapore are funded. Today, Tan talked about a bit about a funding scheme for new directors to make their first feature-length films. It seems that the Commission will take a large role in “nurturing” these films — and I hope to clarify exactly what that means. Brian is focusing on Taiwan and Hong Kong films and we’ll both be writing some short reviews for Asia Pacific Arts.


  1. Hi Angilee,
    My name is Joon Han and I’m the guy to blame for “Sell Out!” I’m glad my film wasn’t that popular so you managed to get tickets for it, ha ha. Were you at the screening earlier today (4 Oct)? Did you enjoy it? If not, I hope the ticket was not too expensive.
    I did my O and A’Levels in Singapore and, errrmmm, learned much about creativity and individualism there :-) So, I hope you did find the film vaguely relevant to your old job.
    Thanks for seeing Sell Out!
    Take care,
    joon han

  2. Great to meet you — I love the Internet! Yes, I did see it, but don’t worry — it sold out. And I enjoyed it — well worth W5,000. I’m reviewing your film for Asia Pacific Arts. Will post the link when it’s published.
    Congratulations, lah!

  3. Finally saw the movie tonight at the Golden Horse Film Festival. The audience laughed from beginning to end and I found the karaoke segment weirdly powerful. The musicals of the future ought to look like Sell Out! and Colma: the Musical.

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