This year, women directors are poised to take the movie industry by storm. Recently, director Hong Jiah's 'Living Differently' entered the final contest in the 20th Annual Women in the Director's Chair International Film and Video Festival. Together with Kim Daeshil, who received the Steve Datsugawa Award for her film on comfort women entitled 'Silence Broken,' Hong is gaining worldwide recognition for Korean women directors.
And at home, several women directors, including Chang Heesunof 'Making Sun-dried Red Peppers,' are getting ready to meet movie goers. This is quite an achievement, considering the fact that only about 8 women directors made a name for themselves in the 80-year history of the Korean film industry.
Director Im Soonrye, who debuted in 1996 with 'Three Friends,' is making a film about a band leader who clings to the musical passion he had in high school even as he performs in small town night clubs. Im says that in 'Three Friends,' she failed to take into account the characteristics of film and the film's effects on viewers. This time round, she intends to depict life's loneliness in a more considerate and light-hearted manner.
Park Kyonghee, who worked with Im on 'Three Friends' as assistant director, is making her own film entitled 'Smile' starring Kim Yoonjin. 'Smile' is about a photographer with Tubuler'svision, a disease that narrows the vision and ultimately leads to blindness. Park intends to divide the film into four parts: 'Tubuler's vision,' 'Family,' 'Smile,' and 'Flight.' Park, who graduated from the Film Academy and trained under Park Kwangsu and Im Soonrye, is expected to introduce a new narrative style through her upcoming film.
Chung Jae-eun, the first film department graduate of Korea National University of Arts, has cranked in for 'The Catsitter.' She has already gained recognition for her constructing and directing skills through her short film 'Diary of Diagrams.' Her new film 'The Catsitter' is about twenty-year-olds poised to take on the world even as they walk the tightrope between childhood and adulthood, girlhood and womanhood.
Byun Youngju, director of films such as 'The Murmuring' and 'My Own Breathing' documenting the lives and heartaches of comfort women, is set to take on a new feature film by year-end. At the moment, she is working on the scenario, which is said to be about the happenings involving a twosome who kidnaps a child. And Chang Heesun, who pioneered an alternative way of film-making through 'Making Sun-dried Red Peppers,' has won critical acclaim for her realistic but light-hearted depiction of the relationship between three generations of women.
Several women directors are currently engaged in the scenario-writing stage, and their works will be released mostly in the later half of the year. One of them is Lee Junghyang, who proved Korean women directors' potential with 'Zoo by the Art Gallery' by making it both a box office hit and an artistic movie. Lee is currently in Japan, engrossed in working on a scenario for her next film.
Another director putting the finishing touches to a scenario is Lee Miyun. Lee worked as a producer with Lee Changdong on 'Green Fish' and withJiwoon on 'Quiet Family' and 'Foul King.' She revealed in an interview that she wants her new film, entitled 'Bus Stop,' to be a watchable and simple piece that is free of mannerisms. Lee is out to charm the audience armed with just camera and film.