University of Toronto’s Centre for the Study of Korea takes centre stage with South Korean superstars at TIFF

The Centre for the Study of Korea - housed at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy’s Asian Institute - is taking centre stage at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week as the University of Toronto scholars  Michelle Cho ,  Hae Yeon Choo  and  Juwon Kim  take part in conversations about South Korean film and popular culture.

Michelle Cho

Cho, an assistant professor of East Asian popular cultures and cinema studies in the department of East Asian Studies in the Faculty of Arts & Science, will moderate a discussion on Sept. 16 with two Korean superstars : Lee Jung-jae and Jung Woo-sung.

Lee is best known for his work in Squid Game (2021), Assassination (2015) and Thieves (2012), and directs and stars in Hunt, which is being shown at this year’s festival. Jung, meanwhile, is featured in Hunt and his directorial debut, A Man of Reason, is also showing at TIFF. He is known for his work in blockbuster films such as Steel Rain (2017), Cold Eyes (2013), and The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008).

Cho, an expert in South Korean cinema and global media, will lead a conversation with Lee and Jung about their careers, their friendship, and the success of Korean filmmakers at home and internationally.

At University of Toronto, Cho teaches courses that discuss topics such as the global popularity of South Korean supergroups such as BTS and the k-pop phenomenon more broadly.

"I think that the rising interest in Korean language, culture and history - and just Korean studies in general - is coming from the increased visibility of Korean pop culture," Cho said in 2019 . "When I was growing up in the U.S., and even in college, a lot of people didn’t actually know that Korea was a separate country from Japan or China, which is hard to believe now."

Choo, director of the Centre for the Study of Korea and a professor of sociology at University of Toronto Mississauga, as well as and Kim, a PhD candidate in East Asian studies, will also be taking part in the TIFF event and providing translation.

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