Film festival tackles green, climate issues

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Film festival tackles green, climate issues


From left to right: “The Blood of Kouan Kouan,” “King Corn” and “Paper City” will feature at the Green Film Festival in Seoul. Provided by GFFIS

Over the next few days a film festival in Seoul will turn the spotlight on green issues and climate change, a timely event as the government makes its regular pronouncements on green growth and while leaders from around the world are gathered here for the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit.

More than half the films to be screened at the Green Film Festival in Seoul are documentaries dealing with environmental issues. The festival, the first of its kind in Korea, began yesterday and will continue at CGV Sangam in Mapo, northwest Seoul, through May 27.

“In an effort to tackle environmental problems, cinema can be an effective medium to raise awareness of the need for environmental protection to bring about positive changes in our lives,” said Choi Yul, the director of the festival and the president of Korea Green Foundation, which has hosted the film festival since it began in 2004.

This year there is an international Green Competition and nine non-competitive sections with different themes, including Focus 2009: Energy, Crisis and Hope and Climate Change and Future.

Twenty-two films chosen out of 773 entries submitted from 71 countries will compete, according to organizers.

“What was notable about this year’s showings is that a large number of the films focused on what we can do about the rapidly deteriorating environment whereas the previous events were dominated by disaster films depicting the gruesome aftermath of environmental disruption,” said Hwang Hye-rim, the festival programmer.

“Good examples are ‘Recipes for Disaster,’ a feature in the Green Competition, and ‘Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home’ included in the Climate Change and Future section,” she added. Recipes for Disaster, a documentary by John Webster from Finland, is a personal film about climate change where the director convinces his wife and two children that the family should go on an oil diet to show how all the little things that we do or fail to do in our daily lives make up “recipes for disaster.”

Additionally, there are also the more typical environmental movies such as “The Blood of Kouan Kouan,” which denounces large companies allegedly involved in environmental pollution.

The one-hour documentary particularly focuses on Texaco, the well-known U.S. oil company, which has been accused of dumping toxic oil waste in Amazon rainforests while native people fall victim to oil companies’ profiteering.

In the interestingly named Truth and Lies about Food section, “King Corn,” a 90-minute U.S. documentary, tells the story of two friends who move to Iowa in a bid to learn where their food comes from and how to plant and grow corn, America’s most-produced and most-subsidized grain. But when they try to follow their produce into the food system, they are faced with troubling questions about the way they eat and farm.

Meanwhile, “Old Partner,” the Korean documentary which drew nearly 3 million viewers to become a local movie industry sensation, will be featured in the Korean Eco-panorama section during the festival.

There are some Korean and non-English language films without English subtitles, so check the program guide at

Tickets cost 5,000 won ($4.01) for general screening. Tickets can be purchased both offline (at the GFFIS box office at the CGV Sangam) and online ( throughout the festival period. Head to World Cup Stadium subway station, line No. 6, exit 2.

By Park Sun-young []
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