‘A Sea of Tears’ aims to give hope to Korea’s stressed kids

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‘A Sea of Tears’ aims to give hope to Korea’s stressed kids


“A Sea of Tears” tells the story of a boy who feels distant from his parents and teacher but later undergoes a transformation.

Living in Korea as a student can be tough. At school, ferocious competition is frustrating, while pressure from parents can be never ending. But “A Sea of Tears,” an animated short film by Yeom Dong-cheol, seeks to pause for a moment and comfort children who are more stressed out than ever before.

“A Sea of Tears” tells the story of a boy who feels isolated at home and school but undergoes a transformation. The Korea JoongAng Daily asked Yeom to discuss his film and his invitation to Korea’s biggest animation festival in a recent interview.


Yeom Dong-cheol

Q. How did you feel when you heard “A Sea of Tears” would be screened at the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival?

A. I felt more relief than pleasure. [Laughs.] I am a professor at Hongik University, where I teach students skills to produce animated films.

Most of the time, students and professors submit their works to festivals like the Seoul event. It could have been the students, not me, who had their works collected.

What kind of message do you hope to deliver?

I tried to convey the message that Korean society puts too much pressure on children, especially when it comes to education. I wanted to let parents and teachers know that children easily get hurt. Parents sometimes can’t figure out how their casual words affect their children. I hope parents will be more conscious after watching the movie. As for children, it would be great if they feel sympathy for the main character and find comfort from the movie.

You are also a father. Did you feel any particular feelings while watching the movie?

I felt sorry for my son who is in fifth grade in elementary school. It occurred to me that my son could dislike me when I am too casual with my criticisms.

By Park Eun-jee [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]
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