New Asian Currents

New Asian Currents Juror
Kim Dong-won

- [Juror’s Statement]

The YIDFF has given me many valuable insights into the art of documentary filmmaking, and works in the New Asian Currents program have been particularly inspiring. I suspect this is due to similar attitudes and filmmaking conditions shared by the New Asian Currents directors and myself. The freedom and vitality of these works have often impressed me more than the “bigger” documentaries shown in the International Competition, probably because the directors are working under difficult circumstances. Higher production standards and a bigger scale would probably have an adverse effect, obscuring the filmmakers’ distinctive styles and sincere awareness of their subjects.

Recently personal works have come to the fore, and I would ask filmmakers to aim for a more harmonious balance of universality and specificity. I am convinced that a good documentary can overcome boundaries of place and time, conveying a message to all people and simultaneously presenting fresh vistas to contemporary audiences.

Judging these works invested with tremendous amounts of time and effort will be a thankless task, and I feel a certain amount of psychological pressure. However, the prospect of encountering so many uninhibited and ingenuous documentaries filled with the hopes and concerns of young Asian filmmakers fills me with excitement.

Kim Dong-won

Began making documentary films after working as an assistant director on commercial films in the 1980s. Founded the documentary film collective P.U.R.N. Production in 1991, and has since produced and directed around thirty documentaries. Many works deal with people forced out of cities by redevelopment and other factors, the pro-democracy movement, and the schism between North and South Korea. His Sangye-dong Olympics was screened at YIDFF ’91. Participated in the YIDFF ’99 New Asian Currents Special Program “Filming, Screening, Changing: Video Activism in Japan and Korea.” Former President of the Association of Korean Independent Film and Video (KIFV). He lectures on documentary film at universities.

A Repatriation

Song-Whan Il-Gi

- KOREA / 2003 / Korean / Color / Video / 149 min

Director, Editing, Narrator, Producer: Kim Dong-won
Script: Rye Mi-rae
Photography: Lee Gee-woo
Sound: Pyo Yong-soo
Music: Lee Gee-eun
Production Company, Source: P.U.R.N. Production
Chonggang Bldg.3F, 343-5, Shindaebang 2-dong,
Donggiak-ku, Seoul, 156-012 KOREA
Phone: 82-2-823-9124 Fax: 82-2-823-9125
E-mail: docukdw@yahoo.co.kr URL: docupurn.jinbo.net

In 1992 the filmmaker encountered two North Korean political prisoners. Sent to South Korea as spies, they were arrested and spent thirty years in prison. They served out their sentences without renouncing their communist beliefs, and moved to an area near the filmmaker. The director filmed them for more than a decade, fascinated by their utterly un-spy-like demeanor.

Kim Dae-jung’s presidency saw a growing movement to repatriate North Korean political prisoners, especially those from the Korean War. In 2000, sixty-three former political prisoners who did not “convert” were repatriated to Pyongyang, in the midst of protests from right-wing groups and families of kidnapping victims.

• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2