With the Green Film Festival in Korea (GFFIS) opening on May 8th, now is a good time to see what Korean films are present within the programs.
The main category, Green Competition, boasts an impressive prize fund:
Best Feature Film – 10,000,000 won
Best Short Film – 5,000,000 won
Special Jury Award – 3,000,000 won
Audience Award – 1,000,000 won
There are three Korean films within the Green Competition, and interestingly all of them are documentaries. The Korean entries are profiled below, as well as the only Korean entry within the Green Panorama – Eco Thriller category.
Director Park (Kelvin) Kyung Kun (박경근)
Documentary A Dream of Iron arrives as the most celebrated Korean film in the category following a premiere at Berlinale and being awarded the NETPAC prize (alongside Non-Fiction Diary). Unable to understand his partner’s decision to become a Buddhist monk, director Park begins searching for something tangible and awe-inspiring, leading him to Korea’s POSCO steelworks. Contrasting differing ideas of religion and majesty, A Dream of Iron contains stunning cinematography of the country’s struggle with modernity. Please click here for the review.
Upo, People in Wetland (우포늪의 사람들)
Director Shin Seong-yong (신성용)
Running at 54 minutes, documentary Upo, People in Wetland explores the ramifications of turning the region into a protected conservation area. With the wetland ecosystem designated as such, the government works hard to uphold the law by disallowing people to enter the area in order to preserve it, which angers local residents. Upo, People in Wetland explores the relationship between the local people and the wetlands, and asks questions about how best to maintain the natural beauty of the conservation as well as coexisting with Upo citizens. The documentary features breathtaking cinematography of Korea’s natural landscapes.
Director Moon Seung-wook (문승욱)
Following a world premiere at Jeonju International Film Festival, director Moon Seung-wook’s Watchtower heads into competition at GFFIS. The 63 minute film blends documentary and fictional footage, as time-travellers from the year 2030 in Chuncheon journey to the past to recapture past memories. Of particular importance to the time-travellers is the Chuncheon watchtower, a building that survived the Korean War to become one of the oldest monuments in the city. Yet in 2013 there are plans to tear the watchtower down, plans the time-travellers desperately seek to stop.
Green Panorama – Eco Thriller
Director Yoon Seo-hyun (윤서현)
This 30 minute entry by director Yoon follows lonely youngster Ji-woong, whose only source of happiness is his pet cat. With his father working long hours to pay for his sick mother’s medication, Ji-woong hears that cat meat is good for reviving health…and shortly thereafter discovers his pet has gone missing.