Film festival zeroes in on environmental issues

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Film festival zeroes in on environmental issues


The opening film in this year’s Green Film Festival is “I’m Sorry, Thank You,” an omnibus film made with the participation of four Korean filmmakers who each contributed a short film about the relationship between humans and their pets. Provided by the organizer

Environmental issues are everywhere these days. From foot-and-mouth disease, which resulted in the deaths of more than 3.5 million animals in Korea earlier this year to the radioactive leak from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March, environmental issues have become everyone’s concern.

The 8th Green Film Festival in Seoul, which began on Wednesday, is hoping to build on the increased awareness of these issues and continue dialogue.

The festival screens 140 films from 33 countries on numerous issues, like abandoned pets and the recent radioactive leak.

The opening film is Korea’s “I’m Sorry, Thank You,” an omnibus film by four filmmakers who each contributed a short film based on the relationship between humans and their pets.

According to relevant groups, including Korea Animal Rights Advocates, there are about 10,000 pets in Korea, meaning that an average family of four has one, whether it is a dog, cat or an exotic animal such as an iguana. But pets are continuously being abandoned for diverse reasons.

The film explores the causes and people behind the issue, which has grown increasingly serious of late.

The filmmakers are known for their involvement in animal rights, including Lim Soon-rye, who is an advocate for KARA, and Park Heung-sik, famous for lyrical films such as “My Mother the Mermaid” (2004).

Among the four short films, Park’s “My Younger Brother” depicts a 6-year-old girl’s separation from her dog, which she treats as an imaginary sibling. When the girl’s mother gets pregnant with her second child, the family decides to put the dog up for adoption, a frequent occurrence in Korea.

“Catty Kiss,” directed by Lim, focuses on the harsh lives of abandoned cats. The film tells the story of an old maid who regularly takes in stray cats, a hobby that becomes a source of conflict with her father, who can’t understand why she pours so much of her money, time and effort into caring for the cats, which have traditionally been regarded with suspicion in Korea.

The troubled relationship between the father and daughter, however, begins to turn around as the two take care of the cat together.

The festival screens films in nine sections, including a competitive one for environmental films from abroad called Green Competition.

According to the organizer, this year’s program is more diverse than in past years, when most of the entries were documentaries. This year’s festival features films in a variety of formats including documentaries, animation, music videos and musicals.

The section called “Children of the Earth” features family-oriented films, including the Swiss short “Moving Forest.” The film tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who can’t live without his handheld game device. One day, the boy becomes curious about a tree in his backyard that is surrounded by concrete walls. Carrying the tree in a wagon, the boy heads to the forest.

The “Animal, Our Sweet and Wild Companion” section focuses on abandoned animals, while the section “Eco Fantastic” is designed for newcomers to environmental films. These films blend sci-fi film techniques with environmental subjects making them appealing for a general audience.

The festival also offers some serious topics for die-hard environmentalists to chew on. This year’s “Focus” section offers an in-depth look at nuclear power and films dealing with climate change and desertification.

The “Green Panorama” section, meanwhile, introduces festivalgoers to recent environmental trends. Among the films, “Soundtracker” by U.S. director Nicholas Sherman, an award-winning sound recordist, captures his struggle to find natural sounds in a noisy world. The “Korean Eco-Panorama” section screens the latest green films from the past year.

The Green Film Festival in Seoul has grown rapidly. The audience once consisted of industry insiders and opinion leaders. But increased awareness about the environment has attracted a wider range of viewers.

“Now the audience is diverse. From activists and opinion leaders to moms interested in food safety on behalf of their children, they all come to enjoy the festival,” said Kim Sun-hee, a festival organizer. “Also, there were many incidents such as foot-and-mouth disease that led people to think about these issues more seriously.”

*The 8th Green Film Festival in Seoul runs through May 25. The screening venue is Sangam CGV in Sangam-dong, Mapo District, central Seoul. Tickets are 5,000 won ($4.50) for adults and 3,000 won for teenagers. Online ticketing is available at For more detailed information, visit or call (02) 2011-4329.

By Sung So-young []

한글 관련 기사[뉴스엔]
'제8회 서울환경영화제' 개막식이 5월 18일 오후 7시 서울 서대문구 연세대학교 백주년기념관 콘서트홀에서 열렸다.

'서울환경영화제'에는 개막작으로 선정된 '미안해, 고마워' 제작총괄 및 연출을 맡은 임순례 감독, '미안해, 고마워'의 '내 동생'에피소드를 연출한 박흥식 감독을 비롯해 출연배우들이 참석했다. '오래된 연인들 – 에코 로맨스' 트레일러를 연출한 김태용 감독, 김종관 감독 등도 참석해 자리를 빛냈다.

또 1기 에코 프렌즈이며 올해 공식 트레일러에 출연한 배우 박진희, 개막작 '미안해, 고마워'에 출연한 김지호, 환경재단의 350 캠페인, 개막식 및 영화제의 공연 부분 기획에 적극 참여한 밴드 자우림의 드러머이자 그린 플러그드 페스티벌 총감독과 사운드홀릭의 대표를 맡고 있는 구태훈 등 에코 프렌즈들이 참석했다.

‘서울환경영화제’ 개막식은 KBS 전 아나운서 김병찬과 방송인 류시현의 진행으로 주목받는 신예 밴드 몽니의 축하 공연으로 시작됐다. 이어 환경재단 최열 대표의 인사말과 김원 조직위원장의 개회 선언, 심사위원 소개와 더블어 국제환경영화경선 후원금 전달식, 올해 영화제 공식 트레일러와 하이라이트 상영, 올해 트레일러 감독과 배우의 무대인사와 개막작 감독 및 출연배우들의 무대 인사 순서로 진행됐다.

한편 '함께 사는 지구를 위한 영화 선언' 제8회 서울환경영화제는 5월 18일 연세대학교 백주년기념관 콘서트홀에서 열리는 개막식을 시작으로 19일부터 25일까지 7일간 서울 CGV상암에서 열린다.
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