CGV dedicates two theaters to celebrated film figures

March 22, 2016
Actor Ahn Sung-ki, left, and director Im Kwon-taek. (Yonhap photos)

Actor Ahn Sung-ki, left, and director Im Kwon-taek. (Yonhap photos)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korea now has two theaters named after the nation’s great filmmaker and great actor, Im Kwon-taek and Ahn Sung-ki.

The CGV cinema chain run by the food and entertainment conglomerate CJ on Tuesday dedicated two of its theaters for screening arthouse films at Seoul’s Apgujeong and Busan’s Seomyeon venues to Im and Ahn, respectively, in a ceremony attended by the two men.

The move is part of the chain’s long-term project, called “The Respect,” to dedicate theaters to the nation’s most-respected film industry figures. The company said naming theaters after them is a token of respect and appreciation for their life-long service to the country’s film scene.

South Korea’s film industry has grown much over the past decades with the annual number of moviegoers reaching 200 million for three years in a row from 2013. Korean films have claimed about half the tickets sold in local theaters since 2011.

The country is also home to the Busan International Film Festival, which has grown into Asia’s largest movie industry gathering.

The dedication ceremony was held at the CGV Apgujeong venue, attended by scores of younger filmmakers, such as Kim Ki-duk, Ryu Seung-wan and Lee Myeong-se, and actors, including Park Joong-hoon, Jeong Jae-yeong and Shin Hyeon-joon.

In a long corridor leading to the theater dedicated to Ahn, props and scripts used by the actor during filming, as well as a Korean movie magazine published in the 1950s that carried an article about the actor as a child star, were on display.

The one in the country’s second largest city of Busan was named after Im. It has a lounge with framed photos of the director working on filming scenes and still photos from his movies, according to CGV.

CGV said part of the revenues from the two theaters will go to financing indie films in the future.

“I really appreciate CGV. I hope, in addition to this honor given to Ahn and me, good things will continue to happen to all those engaged in the film industry so they can find value in their work,” the 80-year-old filmmaker said during the ceremony.

“It’s a great honor for me to put my name on the theater together with Im,” Ahn said. The 64-year-old star also expressed hope that the project will serve to help and encourage indie filmmakers.

CGV also said it will hold various events to shed light on what the two people have done for Korean film.

Special screenings of some of their best films are scheduled to be held at the two venues from March 23 to April 6, according to the company.

“Looking back on the history of the Korean film industry and achievements of industry figures is very important for the development of the industry,” said Lee Sang-yoon, an official in charge of business affairs with CGV Arthouse. “We’ll make further efforts for the growth of Korean films through this project.”

Im has directed 102 films, including “Seopyeonje” (1993) and “Chihwaseon” (2002), and received the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005.

Since his debut in 1957, Ahn has appeared in about 100 films, including “Our Joyful Young Days” (1987) and “Chil-su And Man-su” (1988).