Born to Sing (2013 film)

Born to Sing (Korean전국노래자랑; RRJeonguk Norae Jarang; lit. "National Singing Contest") is a 2013 South Korean comedy-drama film starring Kim In-kwon and directed by Lee Jong-pil.[1] Produced by comedian and variety show host Lee Kyung-kyu,[2][3] it was released in theaters on May 2, 2013.[4]

Born to Sing
Born To Sing (2013) poster.jpg
Revised RomanizationJeonguk Norae Jarang
Directed byLee Jong-pil
Produced byLee Kyung-kyu
Written byLee Jong-pil
Lee Kyung-kyu
Jung Mi-na
StarringKim In-kwon
Ryu Hyun-kyung
Lee Cho-hee
Yoo Yeon-seok
Kim Soo-mi
Music byJeong Jung-han
CinematographyKim Jong-seon
Edited byKim Sang-bum
Kim Jae-bum
Distributed byLotte Entertainment
Release date
  • May 2, 2013 (2013-05-02)
Running time
112 minutes
CountrySouth Korea
Budget₩3 billion

The film is based on National Singing Contest, an actual TV show that is the longest-running Sunday TV program in Korea since its premiere in 1980. The show travels nationwide with its host/emcee Song Hae, and currently broadcasts on Sundays at 12:10 p.m. on KBS1 (its English title is Korea Sings).[5] The touching and moving anecdotes shared by previous contestants led to the film Born to Sing, which tells the dynamic and intertwining stories of people seeking redemption at a singing contest.[6]


The TV program National Singing Contest is set to film in the city of Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. Because the contest is well known as a ticket to becoming a star singer, a number of locals scramble to appear in the televised show.

Among the applicants is Bong-nam (Kim In-kwon), a financially inept, socially awkward man who works as an assistant at his wife's hair salon during the day and as a personal driver for intoxicated businessmen at night. But Bong-nam's lifelong dream has always been to sing. When he hears the news that the country's most popular singing contest will be held in his hometown, he takes part in the preliminary auditions without telling his wife Mi-ae (Ryu Hyun-kyung). But soon, his stunning performance makes him the talk of the town, and he becomes an overnight star among the middle-aged women in the city.[7]

Hyun-ja (Lee Cho-hee) is Mi-ae's younger sister. She works for a local health drink company, and has a crush on Dong-soo, a guy in the PR department (Yoo Yeon-seok). The company CEO orders Hyun-ja to enter the singing contest in order to promote their drink, which she does with Dong-soo's help.

Mayor Joo Ha-na (Kim Soo-mi) is running for reelection and thinks an appearance in the contest will boost her bid. Unfortunately, she is tone-deaf and a terrible singer. Maeng (Oh Kwang-rok), the section chief at city hall, is in charge of helping the production while they film in Gimhae, and he gets pressured by the mayor to find a way of getting her in.

Bo-ri (Kim Hwan-hee) lives with her grandfather (Oh Hyun-gyung). She helps him prepare for his audition, though he keeps forgetting the lyrics. But Bo-ri's mother arrives and wants to immigrate to Canada. So her grandfather is determined to join the contest to leave a lasting memory for his granddaughter.[8]


Awards and nominationsEdit

2014 50th Baeksang Arts Awards

  • Nomination - Best New Director: Lee Jong-pil

2014 34th Golden Cinema Festival

  • Best New Cinematographer: Kim Jong-seon


  1. ^ Jung, Hyun-mok (13 June 2013). "Interview with Three Promising New Directors: LEE Jong-pil, the director of Born to Sing "I wanted to make simple Bibimbap"". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  2. ^ An, So-hyoun (4 May 2013). "Interview: Comedian Lee Kyung Kyu Says He'll Leave Chungmuro in Pain if The Singing Contest Fails". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  3. ^ Lee, Sun-min (10 April 2013). "Comedian promises scholarship if film succeeds". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  4. ^ Paquet, Darcy (16 May 2013). "Box Office: May 2-15, 2013". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  5. ^ "2013.5.10 Now playing: The Singing Contest". Korea JoongAng Daily. 10 May 2013. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  6. ^ Lee, Sun-min (14 March 2013). "Upcoming film revives retro TV show". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 20 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  7. ^ "Born to Sing (2013)". The Chosun Ilbo. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
  8. ^ "Now Showing". The Korea Times. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-09.

External linksEdit