Cultural Exchange

Korean Film Festival

For three years running the Embassy of the Republic of Korea has run an annual film festival in Nairobi. This is a four day event focused on screening Korean Movies to the Kenyan public to help promote Korean culture.

This year the event took place at Alliance Francaise Nairobi from the 6th of June 2017 to 9th. On 6th at around 5.00 p.m. , a throng of movie goers and film enthusiasts gathered in droves to witness the launch. They were treated to snacks and drinks. Of these decadent treats a number were of Korean origin. Alongside dining, hugs, handshakes and bows took over as people from all walks of life introduced each other.

Some minutes into this we headed into the theatre. The first Secretary of the Embassy got on stage and gave an acknowledgement for the continued growth of Korea and Kenya relations. She then invited the Ambassador Hon. Kwon Young Dae to give his speech and launch the festival officially. He would later come on stage, emphasize the importance of cultural exchange and how pleased they were as an Embassy to share their culture with the Kenyan people.

Fast forward, the festival started with a Zombie blockbuster, the famous ‘Train to Busan’ and followed with ‘Love 911′ before closing the day. The second day (June 7th) we were ushered into comedy and family melodrama in the movie ‘Miracle in Cell no 7’. The day ended with ‘The World of Us’. The third day (June 8th) we started with the survival drama ‘The Tunnel’ and then switched to ‘Terror Live.’ The final day begun with a romantic comedy named ‘My Sister, the Pig lady’ that left many ribs aching because of  laughter. The curtains were closed after the screening of ‘A violent Prosecutor.’

Gathering views from those that had the chance to attend, the four day experience was great. The movies did justice to depict the daily Korean life and culture from its basics to the sophisticate. From bows that came in form of greetings, the language that was interpreted by use of sub-titles, the old Joseon structures and the mystical cultural garbs, all this was portrayed. In the end the Embassy managed to draw a number of Kenyans to Korean culture.

“The Embassy hopes to promote closeness between Korean and Kenyan people,” echoed the Political & Research officer at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea Mr. Andronicus Sikula. The event, a form of cultural diplomacy commenced in 2015. To expand the outreach the Embassy extended the screening to two more cities. Last year, the festival was also run in Mombasa and Kisumu. The decision to expand the outreach was triggered by Korea ex- premier’s visit to Kenya, whose presence made the Kenyan people a tad more curious about Korea.

To boost the level of cultural diplomacy, the Embassy runs other events as well. They include the Korean food festival, the Taekwondo festival and the Korean foundation day, which are spread across the year. With the teaching of Korean culture and language in local institutions such as the University of Nairobi, Mahanaim College and Kenyatta University, Korea hopes to widen the learning scope of Korean culture and language to the Kenyan people.

The Korean corner at the University of Nairobi, a cultural auditorium launched last year by the Korean Embassy, is another area open to people who would want to know more about Korean culture.

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