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

Flm at Lincoln Center, the New York Asian Film
Foundation, and the Korean Cultural Center New York present a special New York Asian Film Festival event: The US Premiere of ‘Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels’ 
a Fantasy World Where Korean Gugak Meets Cinema

Saturday June 29th, 2019, 7:00 pm
Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center 
(1941 Broadway, New York, NY 10023)
Tickets: $20 - $50 (On sale Friday May 24th)

New York, May 15, 2019 - Korean Cultural Center New York (KCCNY), a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea, Film at Lincoln Center, and the New York Asian Film Foundation are proud to present Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels, a once in-a-lifetime film and concert experience marrying cinema with traditional Korean music (gugak) at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 29th, 2019. 

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

Director Tae-yong Kim, whose past films include Memento Mori (1999) and the critically acclaimed Late Autumn (2011), Music Director Jun-Seok Bang of Korean box-office hits The Throne (2015) and Along with the Gods (2017, 2018), and the National Gugak Center have joined forces to acquaint Korean music and dance to an international audience by bridging several art forms and building a unique, heartwarming story of loss and redemption, steeped in local Korean folklore but with a universal appeal. 

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. The children search the netherworld to retrieve the shoes, unaware that they might not be able to return home. They encounter a mischievous band of living kokdu, the wooden figurines that guide the souls of the dead to the afterlife.

Melding fantasy and reality, Kokdu weaves between cinematic storytelling and an impressively staged theatrical piece, creating a moving and magical experience. It explores Korean myths and traditions while dealing deftly with dark themes of death, guilt and mourning, with an empathetic, 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.

Kokdu premiered to much acclaim at the 2018 Busan International Film Festival and was praised for its unique way of blending cinema, theater and music. In an enchanting performance that the National Gugak Center in Seoul boasted as its “best-selling show” of 2017 and 2018 with record ticket sales, the team recreates the magic here in New York City. Recently, Kokdu was presented at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival as a part of the Generation KPlus lineup.

This performance is presented by Film at Lincoln Center, New York Asian Film Foundation, and the Korean Cultural Center New York; performed by the National Gugak Center

About Film at Lincoln Center

The Film Society of Lincoln Center is devoted to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema. The only branch of the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center to shine a light on the everlasting yet evolving importance of the moving image, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to celebrate American and international film. Via year-round programming and discussions; its annual New York Film Festival; and its publications, including Film Comment, the U.S.’s premier magazine about films and film culture, the Film Society endeavors to make the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broader audience, as well as to ensure that it will remain an essential art form for years to come.

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 Korean Cultural Center New York

Inaugurated in 1979, the Korean Cultural Center New York is a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) of the Republic of Korea. Under the authority of the Consulate General, KCCNY works to promote cultural arts exchange and stimulate interest in Korean culture through various opportunities including exhibitions, concerts, film festivals, and educational programs.

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.

For press inquiries, contact Mickey Hyun, 212-759-9550 (ext. 212)

Miro Yoon