Prize presentation

International Competition

White Goose Award
Self Portrait: Sphinx in 47 km
Director ZHANG Mengqi

Special Jury Award
The Wolf and the Seven Kids
Director Elena GUTKINA, Genrikh IGNATOV 

Special Mention
Aleppo’s Fall
Director Nizam NAJJAR

The Silence of Others
Director Almudena CARRACEDO, Robert BAHAR

The three members of the jury for the International Competition first wishes to salute the excellent selection of films that DMZ offered us to watch. Due to the overall high quality of the program, we had a very long, but always friendly discussion before reaching an agreement about the awards.

The jury wants to praise two important contributions to contemporary situations through cinematic means. It has therefore decided to deliver two special mentions.

One Special Mention goes to The Silence of Others by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar for the persistence and the humanity in the way the film accompanies a very sensitive case through many years. It pays homage to those who were the victims of fascism and oppression, in the specific case of the painful Spanish history and at the same time it addresses much larger and complex issues that have echoes in various parts of the world.

The other Special Mention goes to Aleppo’s Fall by Nizam Najjar, for the accuracy of the depiction of the courageous fight of the people of Syria, connecting everyday situation with heroic acts, and for the personal bravery of the filmmaker who repeatedly went to stand with the Aleppo fighters in the terrible situation they were experiencing.

The Special Jury Award goes to The Wolf and the Seven Kids by Elena Gutkina and Genrikh Ignatov. The young filmmakers of this impressive work have created a very efficient cinematic apparatus to translate the experience of the relationship between a father and his mentally disabled son. The images and the especially noticeable work with sound record the physicality as well as the emotional intensity of the situations the viewer witnesses, in an exceptionally sensitive and uncompromising way.

The White Goose Award goes to Self Portrait: Sphinx in 47 km by Zhang Mengqi. The jury wishes to underline, together with the beauty of the images, the originality and the sensibility in the way the film accompanies different levels of reality. Its creative conception at the same time records factual components of the villagers’ life and connects them with dreams, imagination, memories, collective background that are also part of reality, and therefore testifies for a broader and legitimate idea of what documentary means.

Asian Competition

Asian Perspective Award
The Family in Sinkhole
Director YAO Zubiao

Special Mention
Home Sweet Home
Director ISE Shin-ichi  

First of all, the judges for the Asian Competition believe that all the films invited to the festival are winners.

For our competition, we witnessed many commonalities, though stylistically different, shared by most of the films, such as, societal rebellion, economic hardship, cultural preservation, and a sense of great human honor and dignity.

The Jury decided that one film by a group of filmmakers who worked for many years composing and letting the story evolve and plays on the heartstrings of the viewer deserves a Special mention. From Japan, ISE Shin-ichi’s, Home Sweet Home.

For the Asian Perspective Award for best Asian film which will garner a trophy and 10,000,000 Korean Won, the winner for capturing the ultimate irony in a group of people being cast aside many years ago from society and who are now at the center of society’s curiosity, from China, YAO Zubiao’s, The Family In Sinkhole.

By the way, this is a very special and important event, all of Korea should be proud as this is a preeminent world festival. The organizers, the volunteers, the community, are all great. Thank you again! Gamsahabnida!

Korean Competition

Best Korean Documentary Award
Under Construction
Director JANG Yunmi

Special Jury Award
Glow Job
Director IM Cheolmin

Special Mention
Log Book
Director BOK Jinoh

What caught our attention for the choice of the awards in the Korean competition is the potential represented by a new generation of filmmakers, who could bring new formal approaches. The Jury also wanted to add a Special Mention for a movie that fulfills one of the historical missions of documentary: creating a record (a document) that will stand as a testimony for the future generations. Our special mention goes to “Log Book”.

A powerful, heartrending documentary shedding light on another reality arisen from the national tragedy. Skillful articulation of the events and interviews in chronological order smoothly leads us to the world depicted, while its compassionate attitude with quiet anger creates strong empathy and solidarity among viewers.

Documentary is a very dynamic art form that needs to be constantly reinvented. The jury thinks that this task has been fulfilled with great courage and audacity by the Winner of the Special Jury Award: “Glow Job”.

This brave film fueled by a strong will to expand common cinematic experience to further. It goes beyond the original subject matter about the hidden culture of the sexual minorities – it plays with dichotomies based upon human sensitivities, such as the past and the present, the gaze and the object, and the surface and the depth.

A documentary is an exploration, the director embarks in a journey that he or she doesn’t know how it’s going to end. As Picasso said: why would I start making a new painting if I already knew how it would be in the end? A documentary gave us this emotion of unfolding in front of our eyes. And with this award we would also like to support a young and promising director. The Best Korean documentary award goes to “Under Construction”.

By intimately weaving her father’s regretful monologues on his own life and emphasizing his physical presence in the work place, the filmmaker clearly highlights various social issues such as relentless pressure for living under the highly industrialized/capitalist society, anxiety about aging, family memories and the meaning of life. The film also naturally grasps precious moments of deepening mutual understanding by the father and the daughter as their communication mediated by a camera develops, while underlying affection and compassion depicted here gives the film powerful universality and truths.

Youth Competition

Best Youth Documentary Award
Playing Children
Director KIM Soohyun

Excellence Award
Walk Under the Glare of the Moon
Director KUEM Jungyun, SONG Dawon

Walk Under the Glare of the Moon illuminates the diverse gaze of youth’s all-night-up culture, capturing the realistic story of youth extremely vivid and closely. Frankly and pleasantly presenting stories that only youth can convey, the film received high marks in terms of creating a solid consensus with the viewers. The film compactly shows the overcoming from the repressed freedom due to the position of youth, achieving what they can really enjoy and desire. Despite the lack of completeness and finishing, the creative theme beyond it possesses became a powerful attraction, capturing the hearts of juries.

Playing Children dealt with children as the main subject of the film, which is not often seen in youth documentaries, leading the viewers to deeply think about various aspects. Children innocently playing in the nature with art made us to look back on the modern society where talking with eye-contact each other became awkward. The film naturally captured children’s unadorned images and also beautiful visual works, which is beyond the level of youth documentary, enhanced the overall quality of the film. In the beginning, the film only presents the image of children’s playing and the interview of adults’ thoughts about it, which makes the film’s thematic consciousness seem unclear. However, the film awarded a high score in terms of directing, leading the viewers to think about the subject on themselves rather than presenting an obvious message of the film.

Special Awards

Brave New Docs Award
Elephant Boy
Director PARK Hwansung

Beautiful New Docs Award
The Evanescent Relief
Director RYU Hyungseok

Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award
Garden, Zoological
Director WANG Mincheol

It was an astonishing and surprising process encountering each and every Korean film at 10thDMZ International Documentary Film Festival. Also, the excavation of a new director came as a touch. Range of interest expanded from private thoughts to social/historical themes, and expressions and exclaims became richer and deeper. Private interest has become fierce and objects have expanded. Objects of talking started from my self gradually expanded to the relationship between me and you and me and us. Beyond simply describing and explaining distant historical events, there were works that interpreted and thought the problem in the present, and there were also in-depth works dealing with the pain and wounds at the time.

Elephant Boy directed by PARK Hwansung was chosen for Brave New Docs Award. This film captures with warmth and interest of a boy’s beautiful growth, dreaming of an elephant trainer. The image of this film is as gloriously beautiful as the boy’s clear eyes. It was world premiered without finalization, yet there is a wish that the boy’s afterwards stories can come out to the world again.

The Evanescent Relief directed by RYU Hyungseok was chosen for Beautiful New Docs Award. Incredible temperance and waiting, elaborately selected angles with no distractions are attractive enough to steal. The ability to overcome the crisis between the objects comes as a surprise as well. Neat story structure strengthens the concentration of the film.

Garden, Zoological directed by WANG Mincheol was chosen for Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award. The camera calmly contemplates the daily life of the zoo trainer and the veterinarian. The camera does not prematurely interferes, and does not excessively exaggerates. It presents the daily life of the zoo clean and simple, but precise.

Audience Awards

The Evanescent Relief
Director RYU Hyungseok