Festival delivers documentaries to living rooms in Korea

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Festival delivers documentaries to living rooms in Korea

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The 8th EBS International Documentary Festival opens today with 51 films from 29 countries. The program includes, clockwise from top left, “The Green Wave,” “Last Train Home” and “Boy Cheerleaders.” Provided by the festival


We live in a world where fiction often trumps fact, especially in the world of film. But for film fans who believe facts are stronger than fiction, it’s documentaries that delight.

This month, the 8th EBS International Documentary Festival will provide a feast of 51 documentaries from 29 countries. What makes the festival special is that you don’t have to leave home to attend or worry about sharing your armrest with a stranger. During the seven-day festival period, EBS, or Educational Broadcasting System, broadcasts eight hours of documentary film per day. In addition, some of the films on the festival schedule will be screened at three theaters in Seoul.

New this year is Issues in Education, a competitive section for documentaries on education.

“Through the new section, we are trying to create a stronger link between our identity as an educational broadcasting station and documentary film,” said Seo Jang-won, an EBS official. Among the six films in this section, two focus on the growing pains that young children go through.

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Directed by Latvian Roberts Rubin, “How Are You Doing, Rudolf Ming?” tells the story of Rudolf Ming, a troubled 12-year-old who finds acceptance in his community through his hand-drawn films that he creates and voices himself. This is the opening film for this year’s festival. In “Boy Cheerleaders,” nine boys who are bullied by their classmates learn the courage and discipline they need to face their fears through competition. But this is no ordinary match - it’s a cheerleading contest that is sure to test their resolve and change their lives.

The EIDF’s signature section, Festival Choice, offers 12 films on a range of topics. Combining fact and fiction, “The Green Wave” tells the story of Iran’s Green Movement against the country’s widely criticized 2009 election and how it affects ordinary Iranians. “Invisible Strings - The Talented Pusker Sisters” focuses on the rivalry between two Hungarian violinists who also happen to be sisters.

Another contender in the Festival Choice section is the British documentary “Guilty Pleasures.” The film tracks five fans of Harlequin romance novels in Japan, England, India and the United States and shows how their lives are affected by the books.

The only Korean entry in this section is “Bittersweet Joke,” which deals with the single parent issue in Korea. When her six-year-old son wants to go on a trip with his parents, his mom is forced to tell him that his dad is leaving to marry another woman.

The Korean Docs Panorama section features a collection of Korean documentaries from the past two years. The program includes “Miracle on Jongno Street,” a story about four gay Seoulites, “No Name Stars,” about the hidden heroes of the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement in 1980, and “The True Taste Show,” the most talked-about documentary in the first half of the year. The film digs deep to expose the dirty deals behind how famous restaurants are created in Korea. These three documentaries will only be screened in the theaters.

A section not to be missed this year is a retrospective on British documentary legend Richard Leacock (1921-2011). Leacock was a pioneer of direct cinema and cinema verite, both of which use handheld camera work and pose questions about society. The highlight of the program is “A Happy Mother’s Day,” considered Leacock’s most successful work. In 1963 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, Mary Ann and Andrew Fischer gave birth to the first quintuplets in the United States. The couple wanted to avoid the media attention and raise their children in peace, but politicians wanted to capitalize on the birth to promote the city.

The World Showcase section offers five films showcasing the latest trends in documentary filmmaking. The program features Australian 3-D environmental documentary “Cane Toads: The Conquest,” directed by Mark Lewis, who is also the head judge for this year’s EIDF. Through his film, he sheds light on monster-like cane toads that are capable of killing alligators. “Last Train Home,” directed by Canada-based Chinese director Lixin Fan, shows the dark side of industrialization in China through the story of a husband and wife who leave their daughter in their hometown for 16 years in order to make a living elsewhere. They reunite only once a year on Lunar New Year’s Day after a grueling train trip.

Rounding out the festival is the Music Doc section, which includes four films on various music genres, including “Sounds Under the Sun.” The film follows directors Jane Michener and Summer Love as they travel around the world to meet famous contemporary classical music composers in order to understand where they gain the inspiration for their music.

*The 8th EBS International Documentary Festival opens today and runs through Aug. 25. Most films will be aired by EBS, but films will also be screened at three venues including the EBS Space in Dogok-dong, southern Seoul; the Konkuk University branch of Lotte Cinema in Jayang-dong, eastern Seoul; and Arthouse Momo in Daehyun-dong, central Seoul. Tickets to films that are screened at the EBS Space are free but tickets to films at Lotte Cinema and Art House Momo are 3,000 won ($2.70) per film. For more, visit www.eidf.org.


By Sung So-young [so@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

악어도 물어 죽이는 괴물 ‘독두꺼비’는 어떻게 출현했나

루이스 EBS영화제 심사위원장 “픽션보다 팩트의 힘이 세다”

탁 트인 호주 대륙의 북쪽. 아름답게만 보이는 이곳을 정복한 것은 다름 아닌 독두꺼비다. 악어를 물어 죽일 정도로 강력한 독성을 지닌 이 괴생물체는 1930년대 해충을 박멸하겠다며 호주 정부가 살포한 약품이 만들어낸 괴물이다. 지난해 호주 처음으로 3D로 제작된 다큐멘터리 ‘정복자 독두꺼비’는 정부의 환경정책을 풍자했다.

‘정복자 독두꺼비’의 호주 감독 마크 루이스(59·사진)가 한국에 온다. 19일부터 7일간 열리는 ‘제8회 EBS국제다큐영화제(EIDF 2011)’ 비경쟁부문에 이 작품이 상영되는데다, 경쟁부문인 ‘페스티벌 초이스’의 심사위원장을 맡아서다. 지난 20여 년간 자연 다큐멘터리에 집중해온 국제적 감독이다. 23일에는 다큐멘터리 제작 과정도 강의할 예정이다. 그를 e-메일로 만났다.

3D 다큐 영화 ‘정복자 독두꺼비’의 한 장면. -왜 다큐멘터리인가.

 “사실과 진실에 기반하는 다큐멘터리는 매력적이다. 지루할 거라고 하는 이들도 있지만 마이클 무어 ‘식코’ ‘화씨 9/11’처럼 블록버스터급 작품도 많다. 나는 객관적인 사실이 픽션보다 힘이 더 세다고 믿는다. EIDF 같은 영화제가 늘어나 다큐멘터리만의 특장을 느낄 수 있는 사람들이 많아지길 바란다.”

 -심사위원장을 맡았는데.

 “한국과 아시아에 머무는 것이 아니라 다양한 국가의 다양한 시각을 담아내려고 한다는 점에서 EIDF를 높게 평가한다. 작품 몇 편을 미리 봤는데 깊은 영감을 줬다. 한국 방문이 처음이라 더 설렌다. 한국의 사회상과 문화에 대한 공부를 많이 했는데 흥미진진했다. 다양한 시각의 다큐멘터리가 나올 수 있을 것 같다.”

 -‘정복자 독두꺼비’가 화제다.

 “3D로 만드는 과정은 매 단계가 대단한 도전이었다. 기술적인 부분은 물론, 독두꺼비가 이 커다란 나라에서 생태계의 톱(top)이 되는 과정을 흥미롭게 그려야 했다. 세계 최고의 독립영화 축제인 미국 선댄스영화제 상영 이후 많은 나라에서 인기를 얻었다.”

◆ EBS국제다큐영화제(EIDF 2011)=83개국 664편이 출품됐다. 1만 달러의 상금이 걸린 ‘페스티벌 초이스’ 부문 등 총 9개 부문으로 구성됐다. TV·극장 상영이 동시 진행된다. 영화제 기간 중 오후 12시 20분(토요일 오후 2시 30분, 일요일 오후 5시 50분)부터 하루 8시간 방송된다. 서울 도곡동 EBS 스페이스와 롯데시네마 건대입구점, 아트하우스 모모에서도 볼 수 있다. 상영 일정은 영화제 홈페이지(eidf.org) 참조.

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