Choi Dong-hoon, director
The till-busting success of gambling caper “Tazza: The High Rollers” last fall gave CJ Entertainment its highest-grossing release ever at $47 million, and established second-timer Choi as a top-of-the-line director-screenwriter. Though his complicated plots can be hard to follow with subtitles, Choi’s talent is not in question.
Hur Jin-ho, director
“Christmas in August” (1998) is a local classic and “April Snow” (2005) grossed $26 million in Japan, but Hur works in a muted, naturalistic style that has drawn greater kudos in Asia than in the West. His fourth pic, “Happiness,” currently in post, could draw more interest from major fests, and looks to have potential in Asian markets.
Park Jin-pyo, director
With roots in TV documentary, Park has brought a reality-centered approach to Korean cinema in septuagenarian sex pic “Too Young to Die” and smash hit “You Are My Sunshine,” a cocktail of melodrama, cattle farming, prostitution and AIDS. Latest picture, “Voice of a Murderer,” based on a real-life kidnapping case, blurs the lines between the film adaptation and the real incident.
Lee Hae-young and Lee Hae-joon, directors
The screenwriting duo behind 2002 hit “Conduct Zero” made a critically acclaimed directorial debut in August with “Like a Virgin,” which screens in Berlin’s Generation section. Story about a gay cross-dressing boy from a tough neighborhood who takes up Korean traditional wrestling showcased the filmmakers’ gritty style and offbeat humor.
Leesong Hee-il, director
After establishing himself with short independent works, Korea’s best-known gay filmmaker enjoyed surprising commercial success with his feature debut “No Regret,” racking up 40,000 admissions on a limited release. The film, screening in the Panorama section, marks Fortissimo Films’ first Korean acquisition in close to a decade.
Im Soo-jung, actress
Im’s second film role in Kim Jee-woon’s horror pic “A Tale of Two Sisters” won her actress honors from Fantasporto and L.A.’s Screamfest Horror Film Festival in 2003. After appearing in lower-profile dramas for a couple of years, 26-year-old thesp returns to the spotlight with a showstopping performance in Berlin competition entry “I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK” and Hur Jin-ho’s “Happiness.”
Ha Jung-woo, actor
Up-and-coming thesp was showcased in Sundance’s main U.S. competition, with a key English-speaking role in Gina Kim’s “Never Forever.” No stranger to film festivals, Ha previously appeared in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard selection “The Unforgiven” and Kim Ki-duk’s “Time,” which opened Karlovy Vary in 2006. He next appears in Kim Ki-duk’s 14th full-length film, “Breath.”
Kim Ah-joong, actress
Having vaulted to stardom in the hit comedy “200 Pound Beauty,” actress-model Kim has become one of the industry’s darlings overnight. Pic not only showcased her good looks but also gave her an opportunity to show off a singing voice that has the fans buzzing.
Han Hyo-joo, actress
Han was a virtual unknown when she appeared in high-profile KBS drama “Spring Waltz” in early 2006. Although the drama’s ratings failed to match expectations, her second film role in low-budget Forum entry “Ad Lib Night” won her widespread critical kudos. Han’s participation in hot new KBS drama “Like Land and Sky” will prevent her from taking the trip to Berlin.
Cho Seung-woo, actor
Since his debut in Cannes competish entry “Chunhyang” in 2000, Cho has headlined two hits that topped 5 million admissions: “Marathon” (2005) and Choi Dong-hoon’s “Tazza: The High Rollers” (2006). In between, the thesp has won critical praise for his lead roles in stage musicals “Hedwig,” “Jekyll & Hyde” and “Rent.”