Korea Festival 2020: K-pop streamed concert and free film screenings among line-up

This year's event will take place online due to the pandemic

K-pop groups Ateez, Astro, Pentagon and Lovelyz will perform a pre-recorded concert for Korea Festival 2020. Courtesy Korean Cultural Centre 
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A virtual art exhibition, streamed concert, workshops, lectures and film screenings will all take place during the eighth annual Korea Festival.

The event, which is set to run throughout November, shines a spotlight on both the traditions and modern culture of the Asian country.

Hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Ministry of Culture and Youth UAE, this year’s festival will take place online due to the pandemic.

Here are some of the highlights to add to your diary.

K-pop masked singer contest: Tuesday, December 8

In a competition open to all UAE residents who love K-pop, singers can don a mask and film themselves performing their favourite songs in the hopes of winning prizes. Judging will be split between an online vote, which makes up 60 per cent of the total vote, 30 per cent from judges and 10 per cent based on the originality of competitors' mask. Interested participants are asked to submit two videos (one of their performance and one introducing themselves without the mask). Submissions are open until Saturday, November 7.

Globalisation of K-pop: Tuesday, November 3

Lee Gyu Tag, professor of cultural studies at George Mason University in Songdo, South Korea, will host a discussion looking at the transformation of K-pop from the late 1990s to now, and predict what the future of the music genre will look like based on the success of acts such as BTS and Blackpink.

A history of Korea-UAE relations: Thursday, November 5

Lee Hee-soo, professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at Hanyang University, will give a lecture on the history of Korea-Arab exchanges for the past 1,500 years. He will also look at what the future holds for the two countries moving forward.

Korea online travel souq: Saturday, November 7, Friday, November 13, and Saturday, November 14

The pandemic has made travel more difficult. However, the festival will host three live-streamed events to showcase the best South Korea has to offer. They include a K-beauty live tour on November 7 at 2pm, a K-pop live tour on November 13 at 4pm, and a cherry blossom live tour at November 14 at 4pm.

Screening of 'Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels': Tuesday to Saturday, November 10 to 14

The 2018 fantasy film follows a brother and sister who sell their grandmother's shoes in order to buy a puppy. Feeling guilty, they try to search for the shoes again only to get lost and sent to the underworld by mistake. There, they meet Kokdus, guardians that lead the dead. With their help, the children set off on a journey to find their grandmother's shoes. The film will be shown with English and Arabic subtitles.

Korea-UAE Youth orchestra ensemble performance: Thursday to Saturday, November 12 to 14

Young musicians from the UAE and South Korea will gather online to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between both countries, as well as the cultural dialogue between two nations in the past, present and future through classical music.

K-pop concert stream in the UAE: Friday, November 13 at 8pm

A number of K-pop acts including NCT U, Ateez, Momoland, Pentagon, Astro, Ab6ix, The Boyz, Cix, Dkb, Alexa and Cignature will perform a pre-recorded concert for the event. Called Kite (short for K-pop in the Emirates), the gig will feature performances from 26 K-pop acts, as well as their special messages for fans in the UAE. It will be held on November 13 at 8pm on the Korean Cultural Centre YouTube channel and will be available to view for five days, until November 18.

Screening of 'Dark Figure of Crime': Tuesday to Saturday, November 17 to 21

This 2018 crime thriller stars Kim Yoon-seok as a detective named Hyung-min. With the help of an informant, he meets Tae-oh (Ju Ji-hoon), who claims that he was hired to kill someone 10 years ago. A month later, Tae-oh calls from prison and confesses that he actually killed seven more people and will give him clues, but only if Hyung-min visits him.

Traditional music from Ak Dan Gwang Chil: Wednesday, November 18, 8pm

See a performance by the multi-award-winning Korean traditional music group Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7). The group features six Korean musicians and three female folk singers, who perform music from the Hwanghae-do region (now known as a western province in North Korea).

Ogamdo: Five scenes of Korean Act: Until Monday, November 30

The online exhibition Ogamdo: Five Scenes of Korean Art is presented in collaboration with Manarat Al Saadiyat, the Korean Cultural Centre and the Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange. The free exhibition showcases 40 artworks from 14 contemporary Korean artists who explore the current state of 21st century “Korean-ness". The show runs until November 30.

K-Comics: Harmony of Life: Wednesday, November 18 to Thursday, December 31

The Korea Manwha Contents Agency will bring the K-Comics: Harmony of Life virtual exhibition to the UAE to introduce Korea's comics and K-webtoons. The exhibition will also explain how web comics are turned into popular K-dramas. Famous examples include What's Wrong with Secretary Kim, Extraordinary You and Itaewon Class.

More information is at koreafestivaluae.com