All six episodes from HBO Asia’s very first horror anthology original series, Folklore (#FolkloreHBO), will each be making its global debut at major International film festivals including Toronto International Film Festival (Toronto, Canada), SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain) and Fantastic Fest (Texas, USA). Folklore is a six-episode hour-long horror series that takes place across six Asian countries - Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – with each episode based on a modern adaptation of each country’s deeply-rooted myths and folklore, featuring supernatural beings and occult beliefs. Folklore premieres exclusively on HBO on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 10pm. New episodes will debut at the same time every Sunday. The series will also be streaming on HBO GO.
Helmed by different directors from various countries in Asia, each episode was filmed in the local language of the country that the episode is based in. Folklore seeks to modernise or update Asian horror, showcasing the brand of horror that each country is characteristic of and exploring societal dysfunctions in a manner that is specific to the country but possessing themes that will resonate across the continent.
“We are pleased and honoured that Folklore is being featured and recognised at these reputable International film festivals,” says CEO of HBO Asia, Jonathan Spink. He further adds, “Folklore showcases the rich and diverse cultural heritage that Asia has to offer. Horror is a genre that resonates strongly in Asia and we are glad to be able to spotlight these six tales with a modern twist and bring them to life to audiences in the rest of the world.”
The prestigious 43rd Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF) will be featuring Folklore: A Mother’s Love from Indonesian director Joko Anwar (Halfworlds, Satan’s Slave) and Folklore: Pob, directed by Pen-Ek Ratanaruang (Samui Song, Last Life in the Universe) from Thailand. This is the first time an Asian TV series has been officially selected since the inception of Primetime programme at TIFF since 2015.
Folklore: A Mother’s Love (Indonesia) – A single mother and her young son discover a group of dirty and underfed children living in a mansion’s attic. Upon saving them and returning them to their families, she has unknowingly snatched these children from their adopted mother – Wewe Gombel – and must now beware her vengeful wrath.
Folklore: Pob (Thailand) – A journalist meets with Pob, a Thai ghost, who confesses to a murder. Finally finding an outlet for complaint, Pob explains how the murder happened and requests for his story to be published. However, the journalist declines and the two make a deal of a lifetime.
The SITGES International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia (SITGES) will be featuring Folklore: Nobody directed by award-winning Singaporean filmmaker and series showrunner, Eric Khoo (Ramen Teh, 12 Storeys) and Folklore:Tatami from Japanese director and actor, Takumi Saitoh (Blank 13, Ramen Teh).
Folklore: Nobody (Singapore) – A Pontianak, the vengeful spirit of a woman who died during childbirth, is awakened when a foreman and a construction worker attempt to bury the body of a dead girl instead of burning her. A series of unfortunate events begin to occur at the construction site.
Folklore: Tatami (Japan) – A murder scene writer returns home to attend his father’s funeral and begins to experience constant flashbacks of his childhood. He then discovers a secret door in the house that leads to a room that hides a horrifying secret from his family’s past.
The largest genre film festival in the U.S. specialising in horror, fantasy, sci-fi and action, Fantastic Fest, will also be featuring two episodes from Folklore. Folklore: Mongdal from Korean director Lee Sang-Woo (Barbie, Fire In Hell, Dirty Romance) and Folklore: Toyol directed by Malaysian director Ho Yuhang (Rain Dogs, Mrs. K) will both be debuting at the festival.
Folklore: Mongdal (Korea) – A mother tries to appease the moods and demands of her borderline psychopathic son. When a new girl comes to town, her son falls quickly and deeply for the new girl and is determined to win her over possibly even against her will. When things take a tragic turn, his mother will stop at nothing to make her son happy even if it means finding a bride to join him in the afterlife.
Folklore: Toyol (Malaysia) - A Member of Parliament (MP) of a fishing town turns to a mysterious woman who possesses shamanistic powers in order to salvage his town’s dire economic situation. She fixes all his problems and the two soon become lovers. However, the woman has a dark secret that threatens to destroy his life.
Folklore also features an ensemble cast from all over Asia. Most notably, Japanese actor, Kazuki Kitamura (Godzilla: Final Wars, Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2), Malaysian actor, Bront Palarae (HBO Asia’s Halfworlds Seasons 1 & 2, Satan’s Slave) and Korean actress, Lee Chae-Yeon (Running Man, Please Find Her, Blow Breeze) will each star as lead roles in their respective episodes.
HBO Asia started producing its Original productions in 2012 and has since expanded their range of Asian Original productions to include series, movies and documentaries. FOLKLORE marks the network’s twelfth Asian Original to date, with more slated to premiere in the coming years.