Start training for the movies
CJ CGV, a local movie theater chain and the event organizer, said Tuesday that this year’s zany event will get even zanier with more ways for people to compete.
“In addition to competing as individuals, people can pair up as a couple and compete together. Groups of between four to six people will also be allowed,” said Kim Dae-hee, the CJ CGV official who is in charge of the event. But beware - if any one person in your group snoozes, the whole group goes down.
The rules are the same as they were last year. If you close your eyes for more than five seconds, you are disqualified. When a film is in progress, conversation and other activities that could prevent other participants from watching the movie are strictly prohibited. The use of mobile phones, MP3 players, medication, health patches and caffeine is not allowed. That means no soda or coffee, but bottled water, chewing gum, candy and other sugary snacks are all perfectly acceptable. The theater provides meals during breaks.
It’s tough, and there is no cheating allowed, including the creative methods for staying awake that eager competitors tried last year.
“People used matches and Scotch tape to keep their eyes open,” Kim said.
There will be about 200 staff members on hand to monitor the 310 participants. They will be stationed in the theater and in an observation room nearby, where a number of cameras have been installed for the competition.
The theater has also hired 26 medical personnel to ensure participants’ safety.
The competition will be held at CGV Yeongdeungpo in western Seoul, and around 40 Korean films will be shown. The event organizer said it chose Korean films released last year to raise awareness about Korean film.
“It will be a good chance for people to watch almost all of the Korean films released last year in one spot,” Kim added.
The films will be shown with breaks of 10 and 15 minutes in length between screenings. Participants can use the breaks to eat meals, replenish their snack supplies or use the bathroom. Anyone leaving during a film will be disqualified.
At last year’s competition, two people tied for first prize: Lee Su-min and Lee Sang-hoon. They each won 2.5 million won ($2,157) and a certificate from the Korea Record Institute.
This year’s winner will have to beat the record they set: 68 hours and seven minutes of movie watching.
When asked for tips on how this year’s participants can survive, Kim said, “The staff say that the hardest moment comes every 12 hours, but that in the end, the most important thing is the strength of your mind,” Kim said.
By Sung So-young [email@example.com]