Girl’s movies invited to festivalsA high school girl who made a movie depicting family life has been invited to screen her film at several international film festivals.
“There are so many things I want to capture on videotape, such as green tea farms that are so blue my eyes feel cold and seashore landscapes that change around the clock,” said Oh Min-ji, 17, a sophomore at Boseong High School in South Jeolla province. “There are so many subjects.”
Ms. Oh said one of her favorite films is “E.T.” by Steven Spielberg.
“I want to become a director like Spielberg and make films that are accessible and give people dreams and hope,” she said.
Her father bought her a video camera, which she used to videotape her friends. She also filmed her family on a beach in front of their house at Deukryang Bay, Hoecheon-myeon.
Ms. Oh is the eldest daughter in her family. In September 2002, when she was attending middle school, her father died of a cerebral hemorrhage. After that, she began to spend much time writing and started a journal. She wrote about her kind father and her three siblings, and about her mother who had a hard time managing a gas station.
She decided to make a film of these family stories and studied filmmaking on her own.
“It is not difficult to produce a film alone with film editing software,” she said. “Because I lived in the countryside, I wasn’t able to study film more effectively. But I had enough leeway to examine things carefully.”
Early last year, she moved out of her school dormitory and now commutes to school from her house each day. She said she wants to spend more time in her hometown before she leaves for Seoul to study at college.
Last year, her idea and scenario were selected for funding at the Youth 1 Minute Film Festival, which took place at the Youth Media Cultural Center in Incheon.
With 500,000 won ($510) and some professional assistance, she produced her first short film, “An Extraterrestrial Girl Who is on Earth by Mistake,” with her younger sister Eun-ji, a middle school freshman, as its star. In it, she metaphorically depicted a sense of alienation caused by language barriers and absence of communication. The movie was shown at the Women’s Film Festival in Seoul in April, and at the 29th Annual Asian American International Film Festival in New York in July.
In August, Ms. Oh won the best director’s award at the 8th Seoul International Youth Film Festival for her 20-minute film, “A Scene of That Morning,” which she made on digital video camera. She videotaped the life of her mother and her younger brother, Ji-ho, focusing on the pain suffered by her family due to her father’s absence and their sorrow and consolation.
“Though the family is portrayed quietly, it effectively expressed the sense of loss caused by her father’s death,” said Lee Hae-kyoung, the president of the film festival. “She did not rely on technique, but was rather bold with the use of camera.”
The film, “A Scene of That Morning,” was invited to the 10th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, which is held from Nov. 15 to 19. “I borrowed the camera from my uncle and filmed my family for 10 days, and it didn’t cost much,” Ms. Oh said.
“She always comforts me and takes care of her younger siblings,” said Kim Seon-hi, Ms. Oh’s mother.
Ms. Oh plans to major in film at a university in Seoul.
by Chun Chang-whan
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