It's October. Every fall, two “international documentary festivals” are held at the same time: EBS International Documentary Festival (EIDF), celebrating its 10th anniversary this year; and DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival (DMZ Docs), which will be held for the 5th time this year. The two festivals, which have been recording growing number of audience, show a variety of works by female directors who cast light upon issues and events in and out of Korea.
EIDF will be held from 18th to 25th at Korea University Cinema Trap, Konkuk Univesrity Cinema Tech, Indie Space, and EBS Space, and DMZ Docs will be held from 17th to 23rd at Aramnuri in Goyang and Ilsan and around Ilsan La Festa.
EBS International Documentary Festival
The opening film, "Black Out" by a female director, Eva Weber, zooms in on the lives of people in Guinea, Africa, who are studying ardently despite electricity shortage. EIDF also prepared a special exhibition on the versatile director who was born in Germany but lives in London, UK, filming documentaries as well as photodramas. "Night, Peace," which explores the silent night of east London and "The Solitary Life of Cranes," which brought her fame, will be played. In "The Solitary Life of Cranes," the camera captures the busy world through the eyes of crane drivers working 100m high.
Among the Korean Docs Panoramas, which received support from Documentary Fund, works of experienced Korean female directors drew attention, especially "Bittersweet Joke" (2010) by Paik Yeon-ah and "My Father's Emails" (2011) by Hong Jae-hee. "Bittersweet Joke" is a story about Hyunji, an ordinary mother of a 2-year-old kid, Hyungsook, a single mom, and Jiyoung, who chose to stay single, weather through social prejudice on marriage. "My Father's Email" portrays a life of a person who lived through the modern history of Korea based on the 47 emails Hong Sung-seob, the father of the director, sent to his daughter before passing away.
Female directors stand out in short films as well. "Welcome to Playhouse" by a filmmaker mom, Kim Soovin, is a self-portrait of the director, whose life changed completely when she became pregnant at the age of 23. She grabbed the Director Award at the 2008 KBI College Film & Video Festival with her short film "Reconciliation." Another remarkable film is "Journal de Deuil" by Hur Yongji. This is about a mother whose memory gradually fades away due to Alzheimer's. It was titled "Journal de Deuil" - which means "Journal of Mourning" - in mourning for drifting away from her mother. Director Choi Moonsun's "The Struggle for Sprouting," which illustrates street dancers who devote their youth in hopes of a bright future despite economic struggles, will also be screened.
DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival
In the International Competition section is Jo Se-young's "Let's Dance," which is the first Korean documentary film to make it to International Competition. This film deals with abortion not from the viewpoints of religious groups, civic organizations, or associations but in the shoes of women. A competitor, "The Ghost in Our Machine," is another remarkable film by Liz Marshall, who is known for her sophisticated sensitivity. This film highlights animal-related issues she noticed while traveling the US and Europe with photographer Jo-Anne McArthur.
"Mohtarama," filmed by women's rights activist and documentary filmmaker Diana Saqeb, was invited to the Non-Competition section. This film zooms in on Afghan women who are legally forbidden from exiting the house without their husband's consent or resisting to their husband's sexual demands.
During the Middle East Documentary Special, which specially focuses on issues in Middle East, "The Suffering Grasses," a film about the ongoing conflict in Syria by a Brazilian of Korean descent, Iara Lee, will be played.
"Tour of Duty" which made it to the Korean Competition, is about three women living in a US military camp town in the northern Gyeonggi province. Co-directed by Kim Dong-ryung and Park Kyoung-tae, this movie tells the story of Aunt Bobby who has been making hamburgers for the past 3 decades, Park In-soon who picks up trash in the streets of Euijeongbu, and Ahn Sung-ja, a half-black Korean.
In the Youth Competition section, teenage girls seem to be excelling. "Because You Are My Mother" by Oh Hae-ri is a story of herself after moving back into her mother's house 2 years ago for the first time since they parted due to her parents' divorce. Another striking film is "Jeon-oung Venus." The director confessed that she began filming in order to understand why her mother works all year round without a single day off and yet gives discounts or credits to customers despite economic difficulties.
During the Korean Docs Showcase in Non-Competitoin section, "My No-Mercy Home," a film about a woman who sues her father after being raped, will be screened.