Film at Lincoln Center, New York Asian Film Festival, and the Korean Cultural Center New York present - Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels

The Fantasy World Where Gugak Meets Cinema
(US Premiere)

Saturday, June 29, 2019, 7:00 pm

Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall
1941 Broadway, New York, NY

Tickets: $20-$50
(Purchase 4 or more tickets and save 20%)

Produced by the National Gugak Center and Kirin Productions
Directed by Tae-yong Kim
Music by Jun-suk Bang

Film at Lincoln Center, the New York Asian Film Foundation, and the Korean Cultural Center New York are excited to present Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels, a once in-a-lifetime film and concert experience marrying cinema with live traditional Korean music (gugak).

The event features live accompaniment performed by a 20-member ensemble from the National Gugak Center (NGC), the representative headquarters of Korean traditional performing arts, who will be playing the score for the first time in the US.

Melding fantasy and reality, Kokdu weaves between cinematic storytelling and an impressively staged theatrical piece as it explores Korean myths and traditions while dealing deftly with dark themes of death and mourning, with a poignant and ultimately uplifting touch. As a spectacle, not only does Kokdu brim with music and dance, it makes the challenging topic of our mortality accessible to audiences of all ages.

Director Tae-yong Kim of the critically acclaimed Late Autumn (2011), Music Director Jun-Seok Bang of Korean box-office hits such as Along with the Gods (2017, 2018), and the National Gugak Center have joined forces to bridge art forms and build a unique, heartwarming story of loss and redemption, steeped in local Korean folklore but with a universal appeal.

Kokdu premiered to acclaim at the 2018 Busan International Film Festival and was NGC’s “best-selling show” of 2017 and 2018. Recently, Kokdu was presented at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival as a part of the Generation KPlus lineup.



Both a fairy tale and a phantasmagoria, the film follows two children, Su-min and her younger brother Dong-min, who accidentally fall in the realm of the dead after losing their grandmother’s shoes in a thoughtless, Faustian deal. As the children search the netherworld to retrieve the shoes, they encounter a mischievous band of living kokdu, the wooden figurines that guide the souls of the dead to the afterlife.


About Film at Lincoln Center

Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.

Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; the presentation of podcasts, talks, and special events; the creation and implementation of Artist Initiatives; and our Film in Education curriculum and screenings. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience, and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.

Film at Lincoln Center receives generous, year-round support from The New York Times, Shutterstock, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film at Lincoln Center. For more information, visit and follow @filmlinc on Twitter and Instagram.


About the New York Asian Film Festival

The New York Asian Film Foundation Inc. is America’s premier 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian film culture in all its forms, with year-round festivals and programs, and a view to building bridges between Asia and America.

The New York Asian Film Foundation’s flagship event is the annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which has been presented in collaboration with the Film Society of Lincoln Center since 2010. Now entering its 18th year, NYAFF is North America’s leading festival of Asian cinema.

The Foundation’s other events and initiatives include monthly series at Quad Cinema (showcase for the best of classic martial arts films) and a Winter Showcase at the SVA Theatre.


About the National Gugak Center

The National Gugak Center (NGC) is the headquarters of Korean traditional performing arts.  Music is an essential part of Korean history, which stretches back over five millennia. As a national institution, NGC was first established as Eumseongseo during the Silla dynasty (7th century). NGC maintains a variety of assets ranging from the long standing traditions of court and popular music and dance to contemporary musical compositions for today’s audiences. NGC’s performing traditions and reinterpretations open a vast new world by broadening the scope of music made in the “here and now” with music that “has yet to come.”

Furthermore, by conducting studies of Korean music, NGC not only bolsters the preservation and transmission of Korean performing arts, but also elevates these traditions to entirely new heights. In addition, it offers diverse educational programs that promote Korean performing arts at home and abroad. Founded on the principle of “creating the new based upon the old,” NGC continues to cultivate Korean music with the aim of making a contribution to the greater culture of humanity.

Miro Yoon