9th DMZ Docs Overview

  • Official Title
    9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
  • Characteristics
    Non-competitive international film festival with competitive section
  • Theme
    Peace, Life, Communication
  • Slogan     Documentary Into The People
  • Scale
    114 films from 42 countries
  • Festival Dates
    Thursday, September 21 – Thursday, September 28, 2017, for 8 days
  • Festival Venues
    Opening Ceremony – September 21 (THU) 19:00, Camp Greaves Gym in Paju DMZ
    Closing Ceremony – September 27 (WEN) 19:00, Megabox Baekseok Comport 6
    Theaters – Megabox Baekseok
    – Megabox Pajubookcity
    – Yeoncheon Sureul Art Hall
    – Gimpo Arts Hall
    Program Events – Aram Concert Hall, Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center
  • Presented by
    DMZ International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee
  • Hosted by
    DMZ International Documentary Film Festival Executive Committee
  • Sponsored by
    Gyeonggi-do, Goyang-si, Paju-si, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korean Film Council, Korean Film Archive, Gimpo-si, Yeoncheon-gun, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation, Gyeonggi Tourism Organization, Gyeonggi Content Agency, Goyang Cultural Foundation, Daemyung Culturetainment, Community Media Foundation, German Films, United States Embassy in Korea, Embassy of the Republic of Austria in Korea

9th DMZ Docs‘ issues


The program consists of new works of art by documentary film directors who have attention and overseas much-talked-about documentary films.

1. <Old Marine Boy>, a new work of art by Director Jin, Mo-young, was selected as the opening film of the 9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival.

<Old Marine Boy>, the new movie by Director Jin, Mo-young who set the highest box office record among Korean documentary films with <My Love, Don’t Cross That River>, was selected as the opening film of the 9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. This work of art that describes a male North Korean defector who works in Goseong, Gangwon-do explains the process that the North Korean defector and diver, the stranger in South Korean society has adjusted to society diving to survive in it with his families as a head of household.

Mr. Park, Myeong-ho who fishes in Jeodo Fishery, Goseong-gun located in the northernmost end in the eastern coast of Korea is the resident escaping from North Korea crossing the border with his families in 2006. He surely takes a ship and goes to the middle of the ocean every day at dawn in Jeodo Fishery, the border of South and North Korea and place closest to the North Korea. His life has not been changed from the day that he crossed the border of North Korea 10 years ago like his narration in the movie.
Submergence that he goes deep into the sea wearing equipment of more than 60kgs is still fearful and scary. However, he cannot avoid it to be the read winner of his family in South Korean society as the husband of his wife and father of two sons. South Korean society that had looked at North Korean refugees with sympathetic eyes got to change its eyes to the watchful eyes before one knows. As his wife opened a sushi restaurant, he wants to stabilize it. But it is not easy in South Korean society because he does not his relatives or personal connections. This man who fights desperately against big octopuses in the deep sea is still hanging between life and death like the moment that he and his family came from North to South. <Old Marine Boy> that tells about life of Park, Myeong-ho, the main character that looks blunt on the ship but is very kind to his families and acquaintances around him, and their lives with calm eyes is the masterwork that calmly and heavily describes a lonely and solitary desperate struggle of an stranger who left his hometown and bread winner of his house that must keep their families.

<My Love, Don’t Cross That River> by Director Jin, Mo-young was first shown in the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival in 2014 and had a special bond with the film festival as it was selected as the work of art that received production support from it in 2013. It then garnered a lot of attention by setting the record that all the tickets were sold out and wining the audience award in the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. And it made new history in Korean documentary films by drawing audiences totaling 480000 people after it opened in movie theaters in the same year. <Old Marine Boy>, the second work of art of Director Jin, Mo-young who has had a special bond with the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will again capture people’s heart in this September.

2. Documentary film writers in the news that will again visit the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival with new pieces of work

With Director Jin, Mo-young who will visit the 9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival with <Old Marine Boy>, the documentary film writers who showed their previous works in the last film festival will visit the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival with new pieces of work that were just completed on September.

Director E, Il-ha of <A Crybaby Boxing Club>, the opening film of the 6th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival in 2014, will visit the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival with his new work, <Counters>, on the third year. <Counters> pleasantly describes what happens as Yakuza Takahasi who witnessed hate speech (Disgusting demonstration) stops being Yakuza and is on the counters (that prevent disgusting demonstration)’ side. It is the only Korean work shown in the international competition due to unique characters that is difficult to be found in documentary films, the witty development, and sensuous editing. And Director Kim, Hyoung-ju of <The Basement Satellite> who won the audience award in the 5th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will visit the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival with <Roadshow> that recorded ‘Roadshow Rewanda”s itinerary that 4 photographers participated in. And Director Kim Mi-re of <Sanda> who won the best Korean documentary film award in the same year will visit the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival on the fourth year with <Wolf Letter> that visits people who tries to prevent Japanese imperialism in 70s through armed struggle. Besides, <Grandmother’s Flower> by Director Mun, Jeong-hyun and <Rice Flower> by Director Oh, Jung-hun will be introduced in the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival as world. You can also meet new works presented by Documentary film writers in the news including <Jung Il Woo My Friend> by Director Kim Dong-won and <Ryeohaeng> by Director Im, Heung-soon. New pieces of work by documentary film writers that audiences and filmmakers of documentary films have waited for can be presented through the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival because of the great influence of the film festival that has continued production support.
The results of the production support project that the festival supports 0.35 billion won per year to the production and distribution of documentary films by Korean and Asian directors seem to have paid off every year. You can meet the Asian documentary films that have been supported by the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival through the Asian competition and the global vision section. <24th Street>(China, Pan Zhiqui), < Rockin’ ’n’ Rollin’ on Welfare>(Japan, Ota Shingo), <Line of Control>(India, Raja Shabir Khan), and <Bloody Phanek>(India, Sonia Nepram) are the Asian pieces of work that the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival have supported production.

3. Remote but near North Korea, introspection of the division and separation from documentary films

Last year, the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival introduced the pieces of work that raised the reality of national division and predicted the prospect of reunification by establishing a new section called ‘DMZ Vision’. This year, the festival also prepared the pieces of work that you can look into the division printed on our mind and North Korea.
<Old Marine Boy>, the opening film that describes the main character who makes a living as a diver in the northernmost end of the eastern coast of Korea since he fled from North Korea to South Korea in 2006, and <Ryeohaeng> by Director Im, Heung-soon that does refugee women who settled down in South Korean society after escaping from North Korea take a view of North Korean residents’ life in Korean society. The main character’s fears and phobias in <Old Marine Boy> resemble the heroines of <Ryeohaeng> who live with shadows of conflicts and anxiety that they cannot settle down in both of South Korea and North Korea and longing for their hometowns.

New pieces of work that looked into North Korean society that you cannot see closely even though it is close to you will be introduced. They are <Liberation Day> that describes the Slovene rock band (From Yugoslavia)’s performance in Pyeongyang and <My Brothers and Sisters in the North>, the new piece of work by Director Cho, Sung-hyung who received rave reviews from mass media of Germany as it was released through out it. Especially, Director Cho, Sung-hyung’s work that will first be introduced in Korea treats life of North Koreans behind the typical images of tanks and missiles, soldiers moving like robots, poor and obedient children, and the people who follow a hereditary succession of three generations from Kim Il-sung and fierce catchphrases in depth.

Besides, you can meet two documentary films that show the division left to us like deep scars and wounded separation and red complex in the Korean competition. <After Chosun> by Mun, Jeong-hyun that throws a question about ‘a nation’ through the history and present records about life of three second-generation Koreans in Japan by following the three main characters and <To Kill Alice> by Director Kim, Sang-kyu that took note of Shin, Eun-mi who was embroiled in pro-North Korean concert controversy and the press that covered her will be the huge opportunity that you can look back on the history and scars of the division deeply embedded in us. Various talk concerts and lectures will be held with the screening. It tries to heal trauma of colonization, division, and separation and prepare vision of reunification through in-depth discussions and talks.

The special project that shows ‘Candlelight Plaza’ which shook Korean society and the forum that tells about issues in the scenes for the making of documentary films will be held.

1. Candlelight plaza, daily plaza, and daily politics ‘Special project: Plaza, Sing’

A special project of this year is the subject about ‘the candlelight plaza’ that heated up Korean society and reached a transfer of power as it ignited in the fall of 2016 and the whole nation became the main agents of change. Candlelight allies which began in the plaza on November 2016 became the important starting point that shook Korean society as it’s the biggest event after the pro-democracy movement in 1987. The plaza was the festival site that draws various opinions of sexual minorities, women, environmentalists, laborers, and teenagers and at the same time, the place for questions about and introspection of direct democracy and change of daily politics with the loud voice demanding the resignation of the president. This special project section will introduce the documentary films that you can again listen to many different voices from the plaza and introspect politics of public space and daily politics to you. It will show the latest overseas pieces of work that you can check citizens’ political scenes including the case of the people who gather in a plaza turned into the populism party that shook the European two party system, ‘Barcelona en Com’, the new party of Spain, and Italian Five Star Movement and the Korean ones that you can do change of Korean society after the pro-democracy movement in 1987.

<The Six Day Fight in Myong Dong Cathedral> by Director Kim, Dong-won and <Words Kept In A Stone> by Director Naru are the documentary films about the sit-down in Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral and the event to struggle out illegal ballot boxes in Guro-gu District Office in 1987. You can check the limit and possibility of the June Democracy Movement in 1987 through them. <Candle in the Wave> and <All day candles>, the Omnibus documentary project, record new history written by the citizens, listen to candles’ mind that became each point, and throw questions about every day to open more democratic plazas.

The overseas pieces of work <Ada for Mayor>, <Tutti a Casa – Power to the People?>, <An Insignificant Man>, and <Maribor Uprising : A Live Participatory Film> bring audiences to scenes of various political experiments and revolutions in Spain, Italy, India, and Slovenia. You can detect change of politics throughout the world in the same age including Ada Colau, the Mayor of Barcelona, the Italian Five Star Movement, and Indian political experiments. And they will be the good references that you can do search on how change of politics connected from the plaza can be moved to everyday and how politics that all the people are the main agents can be done. Especially, <The Maribor Uprisings: A Live Participatory Film> throws a question about ‘revolution’ and ‘progress’ through documentary films’ formal experiments as the interactive documentary film. The movie is the live form that discussions and screening are simultaneously done. After thee is a brief introduction for discussion and decision, the part to introduce the movie is shown. Audiences should select one of two different stories that are separated from each other. Audiences can experience watching a participant movie by discussing strategies and ethics of resistance/demonstration and deciding if they use violence or demonstrate peacefully at each point.

2. The special exhibition and debate forum to honor the memory of the Late Park, Hwan-seong (PD), Kim, Gwang-il (PD), and Park, Jong-pil (Director) will be held.

The death of Documentarists of Park, Hwan-seong (PD), Kim, Gwang-il (PD), and Park, Jong-pil (Independent documentary film director) that suddenly went the rounds last July brought their colleagues, audiences, and viewers who loved and supported their work and pieces of work as well as documentary filmmakers a lot of grief.

Park, Hwan-seong (PD) and Kim, Gwang-il (PD) who died from a car accident while they shot <King in a Kage>, the EBS Docuprime, in the Republic of South Africa on July 14 were the matchless experts in the environmental documentary field that is almost nothing short of a wasteland in Korea. The sad news made people sorry for them in that they tried to keep independent documentary film producers’ right by disclosing the real condition and practice of production that broadcasting companies exploit independent producers by overusing their power just before leaving for the Republic of South Africa. The news of Director Park, Jong-pil’s death on July 28 while he was fighting against terminal cancer of liver was also unexpected. as Director Park, Jong-pil has recorded the scenes of anti-poverty campaigns and the disability rights movement for a long time and have been active in the media team of the emergent national action for the resignation of the Park, Geun-hye administration and the Media Committee of 4.16 Solidarity as the chairperson, his death was particularly unexpected and precipitous. <Forgetting and Remembering 2 : Reflection> that Director Park, Jong-pil participated in the production will be shown in the 9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival as it was selected in the Korean Competition and his works, <AFRICA – The War for Water> and <The Shadow of Sundarbans> were shown in the film festival in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The 9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will hold the special screening and political debate forum to honor the memory of the late Park, Hwan-seong (Director) to mourn three documentarists’ sudden death and remember them. It will prepare the place to diagnose production environment of independent producers and creators and discuss improvement plans for environmental ecosystem of fair broadcasting by holding it jointly with the Korean Independent Producers & Directors’ Association at this point of time that various problems about structural environment including unfair transaction and contract practice related to the Korean independent production due to the accident of the late Park, Hwan-seong (PD) and Kim, Gwang-il (PD). And it will also have a get-together to talk about the social safety net and health rights of independent documentary filmmakers and image activists that have recently shown with Director Park, Jong-pil’s death. I will have time to check reality of present documentary directors and prepare practical alternatives by publicizing the social safety net and health rights of independent documentary filmmakers who have just been left as individual problems until now. It is expected to prepare political alternatives and detailed investigation index for independent documentary moviemen through this.

Documentary films that entered the citizens : To meet more various audiences

1. Docu choice : 9 documentary films selected by three curators of Son, Hee-jeong, Won, Jong-wu, and Eun Yu

In the Docu choice section that began since last year to introduce documentary films with various viewpoints that satisfy more various audiences’ taste, the pieces of work were selected by three curators of Culture Critics Son, Hee-jeong, Won, Jong-wu, the representative of Science with People, and Artist Eun Yu.

Culture Critics Son, Hee-jeong who has actively intervene the misogyny issue and been active as a penal of EBS <Abrasive Men and Women> will throw a question about how a task of political empowerment and traverse politics put in front of feminism of 2017 can be accomplished through three pieces of work of <Paris is Burning>, <Political Animals>, and <Out: Smashing Homophobia Project>. Especially, she tries to talk about feminism and queer civil rights of the ‘Korean first feminist president age’ held with ‘(Minorities’ civil rights are) later’ and ‘I am against homosexuality (in the military)’.
Representative Won, Jong-wu who is well-known as an anchor of Pod Cast, <파토의 과학하고 앉아 있네. Pato is sitting dong science> will recommend the pieces of work that break prejudice about science documentary films which seem to talk about secrets of the universe and life with splendid graphics and grand scales. <Prescription Thugs>, <Alive Inside>, and <Racing Extinction> that will be introduced this time are the large and small documentary films to show stories and feelings of the reverse side of science. They will draw various ideas and emotional experiences from us by making knowledge and information as media by speaking inner individual experiences related to drugs, telling about the emotional charge of medical efforts made in a corner of society, and reporting the greed of haman being that causes the extinction of other species indifferently.

Writer Eun Yu who was selected as ‘the most remarkable writer of this year’ for two years in a row in 2016 by publishing books of <글쓰기의 최전선 The Front Line of Writing>, <쓰기의 말들 Words of Writing>, <싸울 때마다 투명해진다 I Get to Be Clear Whenever Fighting.> will recommend <Dear My Friends>, <WeaBak: Stayed Out Over Night>, and <Time to Read Poems>, the three documentary films that recorded ‘the birth of female laborers, fighting to transit from subordination to freedom, and the itinerary that restore my existence to live as myself’ like the writer who calls herself ‘the journalism subcontractor who got to make a living with writing not graduating from an university and woman of the working class who had to raise her children and make a living as a wife and mom after getting married young’. She tries to share these pieces of work with the people who have lost their own languages and senses after being laborers one day and find an opportunity to restore their existence.

2. Documentary film lover, Cinephile, the special project for movie researchers and students: Documentary films and Mise-en-Scène

[Special Project 2 : Documentary films and Mise-en-Scène], the program for the people who study and research or make documentary films, will be prepared. With reference to Mise-en-Scène, sometimes productive and sometimes useless disputes about the boundary between documentary films and fictions and the beliefs that generally exist with regard to documentary films’ veracity force the puritanic attitude in movies that documentary film writers must record the facts that happen in front of their cameras. In this sense, there have been disputes that audiences or critics were doubtful about the veracity of their films through the facts when they found traces of direction in documentary film history audiences. And it is true that they still exist. The [Special Project 2 : Documentary films and Mise-en-Scène] will check the necessity of direction in documentary films, effects due to it, and movies with disputes.

The total six pieces of work of <Man of Aran>, <Chronicle of a Summer>, <Route One USA>, <Punishment Park>, <Iranian>, and <Challat of Tunis> introduced through this section are the documentary films that encompass all the works ranging from classical documentary fils in the initial stage to the latest ones, oppose prejudice against Mise-en-Scène, or freely cross the boundary of this genre. The directors of these pieces of work have something in common in that they tried to find suitable direction forms for seeking for the documentary facts that they tried to show not being satisfied with their simple roles as observers and chroniclers. We hope that critics, researchers, students, and filmmakers who have been thirsty for philosophy and methodology of documentary films through screenings that encompass all the movies ranging from Flaherty’s classical movie to latest movies.

3. The program that all the generations ranging from teenagers to senior citizens can enjoy together will be prepared.

The biggest task of the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival that will mark the 10th anniversary is to expand the base of documentary film audiences as shown in the slogan of this film festival. The DMZ International Documentary Film Festival that has operated permanent education and screening programs all through the year to spread charms of the documentary films that are still unfamiliar and the nonmainstream will make greater efforts to approach the citizens to be closer even in this film festival.

It will operate “Life Stories Written by Images 영상으로 쓰는 생애 이야기” and “Senior Audience Group’s Documphile시니어 관객단 다큐필” targeting the senior class with “DMZ Docs Youth Documentary Flim Production Workshop 청소년 다큐제작워크숍” which has continued to be arranged every year since the initial stage of the film festival. The interim findings of the project, “Life Stories Written by Images 영상으로 쓰는 생애 이야기” that individual oral statements are changed to documentary work can be checked in a special form in the film festival. And you can expect the ‘Senior Audience Group”s activities during the film festival period.

The group viewing program that has gained explosive popularity from they youth audiences will also be more expanded this year. “DMZ Docs EDU : the Group Viewing Program” that has become the representative program of the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival as the educational program that combined various issues including human rights, career, peaceful education with short documentary films have received much attention and fervent response from regional schools, teachers, and school parents in Goyang and Paju as all the films were almost sold out through previous reservations. Various additional events including DMZ Cart Bar and Overnight DMZ Tour that audiences can enjoy the festival for a week as well as talks and lectures that they can share with documentary films will be prepared.