We present the winners of the PyeongChang International Peace Film Festival which took place from June 23 – 28, 2022 in Chuncheon-si, South Korea.
International Feature Competition (Jury: Davide OBERTO, CHO Sung-hyung, JO Ji-hoon)
Grand Jury Prize
It is an archive-based feature documentary that views the dramatic climax of the Cold War through the lens of a commercial television network, as it narrowly succeeds in producing the most watched, most controversial made-for-TV movie, The Day After (1983). With irreverent humor, this film reveals how a commercial broadcaster seized a moment of unprecedented television viewership, made an emotional connection with an audience of over 100 million and forced an urgent conversation with the US President on how to collectively confront and resolve the most pressing issue of the time – nuclear proliferation. (PIPFF 2022)
Television Event is a documentary film providing a look at the behind-the-scenes of The Day After (1983), a controversial film produced by ABC network that vividly demonstrated the horror of nuclear warfare. An adept documentarist, Daniels cleverly uses his composition techniques and an archive of footage to revive on screen the making and airing process of the film and the heated debate over nuclear proliferation that ensued. Despite being made some four decades ago, the “Event” still rings alarm to those of us living today amid the ever-present threat of nuclear war, especially on the divided Korean Peninsula. The film also reminded us of the PIPFF’s origin, which was the PyeongChang Inter-Korea Peace Film Festival launched four years ago.
A coming-of-age story of Myung-eun, a 12-year-old girl with exceptional and emotional sensitivity who gains deeper understanding of herself and her family through the power of writing. (PIPFF 2022)
“It tells the story of Myung-eun, a young girl about to see her made-up world collapse – a world she has built up by lying about her “embarrassing” family. It is an extraordinary coming-of-age drama that profoundly explores the meaning of family through the eyes of a child. In her remarkable feature debut, Lee succeeds in creating a multi-layered narrative around a nuanced child protagonist – the breed rarely found in Korean films – with the help of stellar acting by talented child actors, on top of her own skillful directing.”
Korean Short Competition (Jury: KIM Donghyun, LEE Woo-jung, CHOI Si-hyung)
Grand Jury Prize
The fall I turned eighteen, I heard the news of my friend Kihyun’s death. He had a car accident while working part-time at a fried chicken restaurant as a delivery boy. Without any protection as a teenager or a worker, he was quickly erased from this world. I re-encounter Kihyuns accident in 2009 while reminiscing the time we’ve shared. I linger around time, facing the motorcycle culture, a friend who vanished like a ghost, and all of. Kihyuns’ spirits who are still floating around the road. (PIPFF 2022)
The directing takes us back and forth between the past and the present, fiction and non-fiction in a free yet thoughtful style, depicting some dream-like moments that you don’t see around but believe do exist. It is the gap between the two worlds that triggers a silent explosion of emotions.
An old lady, who barely makes a living by tidying up and relocating burial sites, begins to suspect that the grave she’s been working on might belong to the culprit who had killed her son. (PIPFF 2022)
Nobody’s Land sets off with a close-up of an old lady who lost her son, and takes a sharp look at the sociology of class that persists to linger even after death. The grievances and sadness surrounding two deaths, paranoia of the victim and the accused, and the contrasting situations of the bereaved mothers effectively build up the tension. Such direction renders the film powerful, to the degree that the agony of the characters is almost palpable.
Shortly after her father passes away, Jiho’s missing sister comes back after 15 years. Now Jiho, along with her mother and her sister, travels all over Seoul to take down the missing person banners her family had put up. (PIPFF 2022)
The characters who hang the banner as well as the one whose name is on the banner are portrayed in a stable paced, pure and simple manner through Yoon’s unpretentious directing, and we are able to imagine what they went through in the times not shown on the screen. The visible scars of time on their faces leave a lasting impression
Pitching Project (Jury: KANG Jiyoun, LIM Sun-ae, IM Heung-soon)
나는 개 나이로 세 살반이야 by WON Hara
GO Sari holds a high-rank belt in Taekwondo but has zero dating experience. Her father GO Yeong-bok, who had eloped ten years ago with the father of Jae-wook, Sari’s first crush, returns home. Stray cats are found dead around the neighborhood, and residents, anxious that the incident will negatively affect reconstruction plans of the area, point their angry fingers at “Lady Googoo” and Yeong-bok. This may be her chance to take revenge, but Sari knows all too well that those two are about the last people on earth able to commit such horrific act. Together with her younger brother Go Nam and their sarcastic mother CHO Jeong-in, she embarks on a mission to track down the real perpetrator behind the killings.
Feeling Peace Prizes
Jumping Girl by HONG Hyonjung
Nine-year-old Sahar, who lost her mother and older sister in the war, is a Yemeni refugee who came to Jeju with her father in 2018. One day, she gets to watch the musical “The Wizard of Oz,” and for the first time in her life, she has a dream: to become a musical star! A few days later, Sahar hears that a public audition for “The Wizard of Oz” will be held in Seoul. Sahar is blocked from leaving the island of Jeju due to her refuge status, but alas, she ends up crossing the line… in this boisterous musical comedy.
Gate45 by SONG Hyeonbeom
A massive earthquake in the Northern part of the divided Gangwon-do sends thousands of North Koreans flocking down to South Korea. A temporary refugee camp named GATE45 is set up below the demilitarized zone in Goseong to host the refugees, who are given a 30-day grace period before deciding on their intended return locations. A “Jigap(Wallet),” or a North Korean operator responsible for finances, sneaks into the camp, and a series of unpredictable events follow.
The Land of Frogs by LEE Junyoung, KIM Sangkyu
An elderly lady going by the name Lee Gi-in sits down in front of a bulldozer, her tiny stature blocking the way of the heavy equipment. Next to her, a dump truck keeps filling the paddy field, burying her “rear land” for a redevelopment plan. The County of Cheorwon has expropriated a portion of Lee’s property in order to create a “Modern Culture Street Theme Park.” Nothing changes despite her efforts that include a meeting with the County Mayor and a one-man protest before the Blue House. As a last resort, Lee turns to farming on the land as a way of resistance. While planting rice seedlings under the sun, she remembers one particular day 70 years ago when a U.N. bullet flew over the head of her 17-year old self. The war may just not be over for her yet.
반역자들 by JIN Cheong Ha
In the year 1948, under the U.S. Army Military Government, Major Kim Kyoo-seok of the 1st Regiment of the Korean Constabulary is a man of great ambition, who would do anything to gain the trust of the U.S. Army. Kim receives an order to defend assassination suspects at a court-martial. The suspects from the Jeju 11 Regiment have allegedly shot their Colonel to death. Kyoo-seok is completely disinterested in the truth, as he is told to just be there for the proceeding’s sake. But the facts of the matter are revealed with the involvement of Lee Un-kyeong, a private lawyer, that the killing was carried out in a bid to stop civilian mass killings. Kim is now determined to fight for the defendants more than ever.
Without a grandmother by MOON Hanseul, PARK Sunhye
Fifty years ago, my grandmother stowed away to Japan alone, leaving her three-year old son at home. At a funeral of an old relative, my father and his mother meet for the first time in a few decades. Hailing from Tokyo with a chic scarf on, the mother tells her long-estranged son in the Jeju dialect: “Consider your mom dead.”
Out of a newfound curiosity, I interview members of my expanded family in front of the camera. Reluctantly, they start opening up about the past, sharing the hurtful memories related to my grandmother. One calls her “a bad mom” while another argues she “does not even deserve to be a mother.” I see glimpses of Korea’s painful modern history in their accounts, coupled with hard feelings toward the old lady who ran away secretly. I start my search for a key to healing the wounds. Will my family be able to let go of the idea of an ideal mother?