Closing Gala

The First Lap + Q&A w/ director Kim Dae-hwan

The First Lap

UK Premiere

Film info

Director: Kim Dae-hwan
Cast: Cho Hyun-chul, Kim Saebyuk
Cert 12A, 101mins, 2018


Best Emerging Director
Locarno International Film Festival

Kim Dae-hwan’s film explores generational conflict within a contemporary love story in thrilling forensic detail. Twenty-somethings Su-hyeon (Cho Hyun-chul) and Ji-young (Kim Saebyuk) live together in financial and emotional insecurity. They seem somehow stuck in life. When Ji-young tells Su-hyeon that she may be pregnant, pressure mounts on them either to commit or to split up.

The couple embark on a pair of road trips to their respective parents’ homes. Ji-young’s middle-class parents are frustrated by their only daughter’s seeming inability to follow a conventional family life. Su-hyeon’s barely existent relationship with his alcoholic father and embittered mother is even more strained. Their parents live in opposition to each other, love at best a distant memory. Is this the future facing Sy-hyeon and Ji-young?

Framed against the recent President Park impeachment protests, Kim’s film asks a whole new generation to question the present and embrace change. Have Sy-hyeon and Ji-young got the strength and love to find a third way together?

Regent Street Cinema, 08 Nov 2017 6:30 pm

In Conversation with Director Kim Dae-hwan

Kim Dae Hwan 2

Our Closing Gala film, The First Lap, is Kim Dae-hwan’s gentle portrayal of an ordinary couple trying to find their way in the face of familial tension, and it led to him winning the Best Emerging Director award at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival. Kim also made another acute portrayal of a typical Korean family with his first feature, End of Winter, which had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in 2014.

Simon Ward, who has been a longstanding advocate of independent cinema from around the world (both through his previous work at the ICO, and in his current role with Vision Box Cinema) will lead the conversation with director Kim, providing practical insights into The First Lap, from inception through to post-production.


Kim Dae-hwan studied Film and Digital Media Design and directed his first two short films, Picnic (2010) and Interview (2011), at Hongik University. Later, he directed his debut feature End of Winter (2014) while at Dankook University’s Graduate School of Cinematic Content. After the world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, the film was also screened at the 2015 Berlinale. The First Lap is his second feature film.


Simon Ward has been programming and distributing films for more than twenty years at organisations including London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), the BFI London Film Festival and Tate Modern. He is a co-founder of the Independent Cinema Office (ICO), owns an independent cinema, and writes on film occasionally for publishers including Routledge Press. He also co-organised the ICO’s Hong Sangsoo complete touring retrospective in 2010.

Kingston University, 07 Nov 2017 2:00 pm