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Film about late ex-president has record-high opening score for documentary

All Headlines 15:36 May 26, 2017

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) -- A documentary film on the life of late former liberal President Roh Moo-hyun has recorded the highest opening-day score for the genre in South Korea.

"Our President" took second place in box office by selling 78,737 tickets across the country on Thursday, according the computerized box office tally from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).

A promotional poster for the Korean documentary film "Our President." (Yonhap)

It registered the highest opening-day box office collection for all docu films, dethroning the 2014 hit film "My Love, Don't Cross That River." The film about a long-standing love between an old couple in a remote village sold 8,607 tickets on its first day and ended up drawing as many as 4.8 million cinemagoers total.

"Our President" revisits the dramatic process of Roh winning the primary of the Millennium Democratic Party starting from a 2-percent approval rating, and becoming the party's presidential candidate in 2002. Roh served as president from 2003 to 2008.

The docu includes historical footage and interviews with Roh's followers, including newly elected President Moon Jae-in, who served as Roh's chief presidential secretary for civil affairs, and An Hee-jung, a liberal politician who was Moon's primary rival.

But it was a rough ride for its filmmakers to produce and distribute the film.

Its director Lee Chang-jae and producer Choi Nak-yong began producing the film after last year's parliamentary elections without revealing anything about the project for fear of possible outside oppression against it. They say they didn't expect the film would be able to get a domestic theatrical release.

A promotional poster for the Korean documentary film "Our President." (Yonhap)

However, it premiered at the Jeonju International Film Festival early this month before a sold-out audience and negotiations for the film's distribution gained momentum after Moon was elected the next president.

It came to secure a stable distribution network after CGV Arthouse run by the country's largest cinema chain CJ CGV decided to distribute the film jointly with its production company on May 10, a day after the election.

On Tuesday, the documentary reached its funding target of 200 million won just 26 minutes after it became available on the online crowdfunding platform Wadiz. The fund will be used for the film's nationwide distribution, according to the funding company.


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