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'Comfort women' film is set to open in U.S. on Friday

All Headlines 11:13 March 08, 2016

SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) -- A film about the painful life of South Korean women who were forced into sexual servitude for Japanese soldiers during World War II is set to be released in the U.S. this Friday, its distributor said.

According to WAW Pictures, "Spirits' Homecoming" will open in CGV, a movie chain run by CJ Group's entertainment arm CJ E&M, in Los Angeles and Cine Oasis in Dallas.

"We are receiving a flurry of requests for release in New York, San Francisco and Toronto," said Son Min-kyung, managing director of M-Line Distribution, the film's overseas distributor. "I believe we can expand overseas screening of the film as interest in the film is growing."

At the same time, the movie will open on KORTV, a streaming channel dedicated to Korean movies and dramas, which has partnerships with Apple TV and Amazon TV. On the two media devices, the movie will be played in a certain time slot, different from the usual Video on Demand (VOD) service that offers a screening at any preferred time by a viewer. Price per show on Apple TV is similar to that of a movie ticket in Korea.

The distributor said it planned to gradually expand such digital screening on top of offline distribution as more and more Koreans outside the country have made requests to open the film since it premiered in South Korea on Feb. 24.

Based on the testimonies of the so-called "comfort women," who were coerced into working at Japanese military brothels, the movie took its cinematic motives from "Burning Women," a drawing by Kang Il-chul, one of the victims, made during her therapy sessions.

Historians estimate that up to 200,000 women, mostly from Korea, were forced to work in the front-line brothels during the war. Korea was under Japanese colonial rule from 1910-45.

The movie, 14 years in the making due to a lack of financial resources, was finally able to see completion after crowd-funding 12 billion won (US$970,000) from South Korean supporters. The film has so far attracted more than 2.6 million moviegoers, keeping the top spot in the local box office since its opening.

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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