The 11th Green Film Festival in Seoul

GFFIS 2014: Green Competition and Green Panorama – Eco Thriller

The 11th Green Film Festival in Seoul

The 11th Green Film Festival in Seoul

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.

Green Competition

A Dream of Iron (철의 꿈)

Director Park (Kelvin) Kyung Kun (박경근)

A Dream of Iron

A Dream of Iron

A Dream of Iron

A Dream of Iron

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)

Upo, People in Wetland

Upo, People in Wetland

Upo, People in Wetland

Upo, People in Wetland

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.

Watchtower (망대)

Director Moon Seung-wook (문승욱)

Watchtower

Watchtower

Watchtower

Watchtower

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

Cat (고양이)

 Director Yoon Seo-hyun (윤서현)

Cat

Cat

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.

To see the full listing of all the films in the Green Competition, please click here.

To see the full listing of all the films in the Green Panorama – Eco Thriller, please click here.

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Festival News Korean Festivals 2014 The Green Film Festival in Seoul (제 11회 서울환경영화제)
The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

GFFIS 2013: Opening Ceremony and Promised Land screening

The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

On a rainy Thursday the 9th of May, the 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS)  got underway with an opening ceremony at Yonsei University’s Baeyang Concert Hall in Sinchon, Seoul. Hosted by duo Kim Tae-Hun (김태훈) and actress Park Hee-bon (박희본), the event sported several videos celebrating the festival’s now decade long run – including a quite sweet musical video called Have a Cup of Tea, or See a Film! (차라도 한잔, 영화도 한편!) helmed by renowned director Kim Tae-yong (김태용).

Important politicians and policy makers, including Mr. Park Jae-dong, Mr. Yoon Seong-gyu from the Ministry of Environment, and Chairman of the Board of the Korea Green Foundation Mr Lee Se-jung all gave welcoming speeches regarding the importance of the festival and of ecological awareness in general, and their comments were warmly greeted. This was followed by an opening declaration by Mr. Kim Won, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee, who then brought actor Ji Jin-hee on stage to present him with a small plant as part of his acceptance in becoming the latest eco-friend of the festival.

Yonsei University's Baeyang Concert Hall

Yonsei University’s Baeyang Concert Hall hosted the opening ceremony

Legendary festival programmer Kim Dong-won was in attendance

Legendary festival programmer Kim Dong-won was in attendance

The hosts begin the ceremony

The hosts begin the ceremony

Actor Ji Jin-hee accepts his award as an eco-friend

Actor Ji Jin-hee accepts his award as an eco-friend

Director Kim Tae-yong's short film was a fun opening to the festival

Director Kim Tae-yong’s short film was a fun opening to the festival

The hosts and director Kim discuss the film and the festival

The hosts and director Kim discuss the film and the festival

After a short interval, everyone was again seated for the opening film. Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land , which re-teams the director with star Matt Damon after the critically acclaimed Good Will Hunting, sees a duo from an energy company attempt to buy land in the country in order to harvest the natural gas beneath. Yet the residents become concerned due to the process of ‘fracking’, in which chemicals are pumped into the Earth to get the resource, making the prospect a tough sell. The film was very well-received by the audience, and the film itself is a very apt opening due to the debates involving nature, community, big industry, and money. Please see below for the review.

Opening Film

Promised Land

Promised Land

Promised Land – 6/10

Promised Land is, in many ways, a great film to open the festival with. The story sees Steve (Matt Damon) and Sue (Frances McDormand) as workers for Global, a giant energy conglomerate who wish to obtain the natural gas residing under a farming community in Pennsylvania. Few actors do ‘everyman’ as well as Matt Damon, and that charm is present throughout the film as he is simply a good guy trying to do the best job he can. Unfortunately that job is to buy the land out from under the people, and his naivety  in this regard is perplexing as it’s quite obvious what the ramifications are from the start. To reinforce the point director Gu Van Sant features plenty of establishing shots of the countryside to emphasize what’s at stake, making Promised Land a very attractive film throughout. Despite the quite serious subject matter the narrative is often comedic, featuring some real laugh-out-loud moments as Steve and Sue continually face obstacles ranging from school teachers to the weather. Steve’s journey is an interesting one as he is torn between being a man with working class roots and his desire for (financial) success, although his reasoning isn’t explored nearly enough. Furthermore the narrative is far too ambitious as it attempts to cover too much in the running time, and in doing so lacks any real heart or emotional power. The inclusion of a love interest for Steve tries to address the issue, but she is often jettisoned in favor of returning to the environmental debate. Promised Land is a good, solid film and certainly one of the better dramas to deal with environmental issues, yet the curious lack of heart make the film a thought-provoking, but somewhat emotionless, endeavour.

Festival News Green Film Festival in Seoul (제10회 서울환경영화제) Korean Festivals 2013
The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

GFFIS 2013: The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

The 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul

Kicking off on the 9th of May and running through until the 16th, the 10th Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS) will take place at CGV cinemas in Yongsan. The festival screens films that highlight environmental matters from all over the world, ranging from GMO foods to corporate corruption, animal welfare to government protesting, and that great variety continues to be present within the 2013 edition.

Opening with the Matt Damon starring Promised Land, directed by Gus Van Sant, the festival boasts an impressive array of international screenings. For the full list of films please visit the official website here (in Korean), however featured below are the Korean entries that will emphasize the environmental issues occurring within the country.

But first, be sure to check out the official trailer for the festival:

Korean Films

International Environmental Film Category

Forest Dancing (춤추는 숲)

Forest Dancing (춤추는 숲)

Forest Dancing (춤추는 숲)

Director: Kang Seok-pil (강석필)

Synopsis: The documentary follows the residents of a small village community in Seoul, who protest against a building project that will raze part of a mountain to make way for a private academy.

Korean Environment Category:

Boiler (남양주는 모른다)

Boiler (남양주는 모른다)

Boiler (남양주는 모른다)

Director: Lee Hyun-Ji (이현지)

Synopsis: Fictional film Boiler explores the lives of a handful of binge drinking tunnel laborers. Their mundane existence is changed however when they discover something underground while working.

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Cats and Dogs (그 강아지 그 고양이)

Director: Min Byung-Woo (민병우)

Synopsis: The first film to be shot entirely using the iphone 4s, this romantic-comedy depicts the lives of two pet owners and their relationships.

Cats in the Pool (수영장의 고양이들)

Cats in the Pool (수영장의 고양이들)

Cats in the Pool (수영장의 고양이들)

Director: Kim Bo-Kyoung (김보경)

Synopsis: In this animated short, a man hits a cat while driving. The guilt of the event causes him to hallucinate the cat – and other felines – wherever he goes.

Cement Town Tragedy (투구꽃 그 마을)

Cement Town Tragedy (투구꽃 그 마을)

Cement Town Tragedy (투구꽃 그 마을)

Director: Oh Kyu-Ik (오규익)

Synopsis: The documentary examines a small town and the impact of a cement plant built 50 years ago, and the fallout of hazardous materials on the health of the community.

Cruel Inheritance - Heredity (잔인한 내림 – 遺傳)

Cruel Inheritance – Heredity (잔인한 내림 – 遺傳)

Cruel Inheritance – Heredity (잔인한 내림 – 遺傳)

Director: Kim Hwan-Tae (김환태)

Synopsis: Cruel Inheritance is a documentary concerned with the ramifications of the atomic energy and bombs, from Hiroshima in 1945 through to Fukushima in 2011.

Fog and Smoke (안개와 연기)

Fog and Smoke (안개와 연기)

Fog and Smoke (안개와 연기)

Director: Cha Jea-Min (차재민)

Synopsis: Experimental film Fog and Smoke explores the complicated and intense emotions involved in the development of a city in the port of Incheon., including issues related to the financial crisis.

Green Slime (녹색물질)

Green Slime (녹색물질)

Green Slime (녹색물질)

Director: Kwon Oh-Kwang (권오광)

Synopsis: This 12 minute short fiction film portrays a group of friends who reunite in a bar, and recount their childhood story involving a ‘green monster’.

The Hours of Tree (나무의 시간)

The Hours of Tree (나무의 시간)

The Hours of Tree (나무의 시간)

Director: Jeong Da-Hee (정다희)

Synopsis: Exploring the life of trees across seasons and beyond, this animated short is concerned with the way life unfolds and develops for vegetation, and the very meaning of existence.

KBS Environment Special; Experiment Excrement (KBS 환경스페셜: 똥을 실험하다)

KBS Environment Special; Experiment Excrement (KBS 환경스페셜: 똥을 실험하다)

KBS Environment Special; Experiment Excrement (KBS 환경스페셜: 똥을 실험하다)

Director: Shin Dong-Man (신동만)

Synopsis: The environmental impact of human waste is examined in this KBS documentary, portraying the thoughtless consumption of materials every time a person flushes the toilet.

A Monster in the Reservoir (저수지의 괴물)

A Monster in the Reservoir (저수지의 괴물)

A Monster in the Reservoir (저수지의 괴물)

Director: Lee Sung-Gang (이성강)

Synopsis: The life of a monster who dwells in a reservoir is portrayed in this animated short. When human development approaches, the monster’s home is threatened.

Paldang (팔당 사람들)

Paldang (팔당 사람들)

Paldang (팔당 사람들)

Director: Kauh Eun-Jin (고은진)

Synopsis: Paldang examines the issues involved in farming in contemporary Korea, from government subsidies to organic farming and wind power, and the conflicts that arise.

Souvenir Animation

Souvenir Animation

Souvenir Animation

Director: Kang Min-ji (강민지)

Synopsis: This 11 minute animated film explores the keepsakes and mementos that are obtained over time through traveling. The photos and ornaments from trips in different times state the importance of travel.

Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)

Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)

Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)

Director: Jeong Han-Jin (정한진)

Synopsis: A young boy who had previously only consumed organic foods is suddenly introduced to chocolate, and begins to question his lifestyle.

Talking Architecture, City:Hall (말하는 건축, 시티:홀)

Talking Architecture, City:Hall (말하는 건축, 시티:홀)

Talking Architecture, City:Hall (말하는 건축, 시티:홀)

Director: Jeong Jae-eun (정재은)

Synopsis: The difficulties of the new city hall project in Seoul are captured in this documentary, exemplifying the struggle of old versus new.

Who Made It? (누가 만들었을까?)

Who Made It? (누가 만들었을까?)

Who Made It? (누가 만들었을까?)

Director: Ji Tae-kyoung (지태경)

Synopsis: The beautiful landscapes of Jeju Island are the focus of this documentary. The people of Jeju and their relationship to the surroundings are also featured, alongside Jeju musicians.

Festival News Green Film Festival in Seoul (제10회 서울환경영화제) Korean Festivals 2013