Thursday, September 24, 2015

DMZ in Focus

It has been an amazing week at DMZ Docs in Korea (WEBSITE), filled with amazing experiences and fabulous films.

Arriving last Friday, I was reunited with old friends, such as Wood Lin, the director of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF), and provided with the opportunity to make new ones, such as "The Decent One" filmmakers Vanessa Lapa and Tomer Eliav.

with Wood Lin
"The Decent One" filmmakers Vanessa Lapa and Tomer Eliav
On Sunday, guests were invited to take a tour to the DMZ, from where North Korea could be seen.  After meeting and speaking with people directly affected by this conflict, together with watching several documentaries about North Korea followed by discussions with the directors of the films, I am embarrassed to admit that all I had known about North Korea had come from Western media.  I am so grateful to have had an opportunity to visit this part of the world. 

beyond the DMZ, a view of North Korea
On Tuesday, my film '-1287' was screened (INFO), and I was honoured to be able to participate in the post-screening Q&A.

It is so hard to believe that the festival ends this evening!  I have written fewer entries from this festival than I have from so many others because most days have seen me in the cinema all day, followed by drinks each evening with fellow filmmakers.

A few of my film recommendations from DMS Docs:

The Descent One, directed by Vanessa Lapa (INFO):
Through previously undiscovered private letters, photos and diaries that were found in the HIMMLER family house in 1945, the The Decent One exposes a unique and at times uncomfortable access to the life and mind of the merciless "Architect of the Final Solution" Heinrich HIMMLER. A unique portrait of one the most prominent figures of the Third Reich: The Reichsfuhrer-SS: Heinrich HIMMLER.
Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi by directed by Neal Broffman (INFO):
A family's search for their missing son and the hunt for suspects in a terror attack tragically converge in Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi, a film about truth and community in the age of social media. While in the throes of depression, Brown University student Sunil TRIPATHIi walked out of his Providence apartment and disappeared into the cold Rhode Island night. In a desperate search to find him, his family launched a social media movement that reached across the country and brought together a community dedicated to finding him. In the days following the Boston Marathon bombings the family's month-long investigation into Sunil's disappearance exploded into a virtual confrontation with e-vigilantes, citizen journalists and traditional media eager to feed their insatiable hunger for breaking news.
Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, directed by Freida Lee Mock (INFO):
This documentary explores the creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Although it became one of the most beloved memorials in the world, Maya Lin's elegant design was initially greeted with skepticism. Lin was an unknown architect whose entry had been selected after a nationwide competition. She was only 20 years old, and it angered some politicians that she was Asian. Yet through all the vitriol, Lin persevered, ultimately realizing her stirring artistic vision.
On the Rim of the Sky, directed by Hongjie Xu (INFO):
In the hidden cliffs of Sichuan province lies the Gulu Village. Shen is the only teacher of the village who runs the “Gulu Primary School". One day a young man who calls himself the "Don QUIXOTE", Bao TANGTAO came and with him the words about the village spread, and donation and visitors have upsurged. And the conflict between Shen and Bao arises about the donated money.
Hana, Dul, Sed, directed by Brigitte Weich (INFO):
Hana, dul, sed gives us a subtle glimpse of the workings of Pyongyang society and the way ideology functions in its citizen’s and personal lives. It is a film about four young women, their friendship, dreams, hopes and the passion for football they share.
Memory of a Forgotten War, directed by Deann Borshay Liem (INFO):
Memory of forgotten War conveys the human costs of military conflict through deeply personal accounts of the Korean War(1950-53) by four Korean-American survivors. The film's personal accounts are interwoven with thoughtful analysis and interpretation of events in a broader historical context.
Aim High in Creation, directed by Anna Broinowski (INFO):
Aim High in Creation! is a ground breaking propaganda film, made according to the rules of his 1987 Manifesto The Cinema and Directing. Determined to stop a new gas mine near her Sydney home, Anna BROINOWSKI goes to North Korea to learn from the masters of propaganda cinema.  The movie reveals an unexpected truth about the most isolated nation on earth.

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