[Global Environmental News] See Green at the Green Film Festival in Seoul!
“It’s all about the festival which includes learning and playing!” The 9th Green Film Festival in Seoul Opens on May 9th
One of the biggest international green film festivals in Asia showcasing 113 environmental documentaries and animated films from across the globe
World renowned filmmakers Lu Zhang and Shunji Iwai… along with 15 foreign guests will be visiting the festival.
At 11 A.M. on April 18th, the 9th Green Film Festival in Seoul (GFFIS) held a press conference where a trailer of the film “Where We Live”, offered a glimpse into the herald of the festival.
The Green Film Festival in Seoul, hosted by the Korea Green Foundation, is an international film festival which in 2004 adopted a competition element. This annual festival discovers and introduces nearly 100 quality environmental films. It is one of the biggest environment themed Asian film festivals. It further serves as a venue for sharing various viewpoints and for promoting consciousness related to environmental matters, as well as seeking alternative methods to today’s much-contested societal systems and ways of actions.
As of last year, 82,600 citizens have visited the festival. Won Kim, who leads the Organizing Committee, said expectantly that “since we moved to Yongsan, the center of Seoul, more are expected to come.” He had reason to be perhaps a bit more expectant about the future. “Next year we plan to organize a supporters’ association.”
Yul Choi, the president of the Executive Committee and the first person to plan the festival aired his view, “I hope this film festival, a big team effort, will eventually become a festival that all people, from kids to grown-ups, are fond of.” In line with this purpose the 9th festival will be presenting a special program called “Cinema Greenteen”.
“Cinema Greenteen” selects environmental films of both educational value and entertainment quality and shows segments of the film for free before the festival kicks off, so that children and young adults can appreciate them. One of the most important goals of the Green Film Festival in Seoul is to raise awareness about the environment. Through the popular medium of the cinema, the people supporting the festival are working on elevating children’s sensitivity to the environment and on informing young adults about how keeping the environment alive is vital for our very own livelihood.
There are 15 world renowned film makers and directors who will be visiting GFFIS this year. Japan’s most famous film director, Shunji Iwai, will call a press conference on May 10th at 10:00 a.m. at 6th floor guest lounge of CGV Yongsan, Seoul. Director Iwai is expected to share his work and tell the story of the Fukushima nuclear accident’s aftermath. In addition, Lu Zhang whose films have appeared in the Berlin, Venice, and Cannes Film Festivals; Kimi Takesu, whose films were selected in more than 200 film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival; the movie director Joel Heath who is also Canada’s representative ecologists; Atsushi Funabashi who made the film <Big River> with the national Japanese actor, Odagiri Jo, will be in attendance at the festival.
The Green Film Festival in Seoul confers a maximum of ten million won to one of the Green Competition entries, in an effort to continue the production and distribution of environmental films. This year marked the highest number of entries ever since the inauguration of the Green Film Festival in Seoul. Among the 829 film entries from 64 countries from around the world, 113 films from 27 countries made their way through the jury evaluation screening. This year the majority of the works are related to climate change, forest conservation, energy, food, waste, biological diversity and above all development and environmental destruction. As environmental issues have become conventional problems of contemporary society more filmmakers are trying to deal with them in the form of cinema, even these “exclusive” motion pictures have become more fun and more accessible to the general public.
Young-woo Kim, the programmer of the 9TH GFFIS nevertheless underscored the limited number of entries coming from certain regions. “The films that have been brought to our attention are still largely from North America and Europe. But I see hope, that works by native filmmakers tackling pollution and the environmental crisis in Asia and Africa will see a steady increase.” He added, “I have a wish that this festival will become the top spot for environmental films worldwide.”
Worth noting is “Climate Change & Future Plus – Your Diet Changes the World” a cinematic work that delves into climate change and health related issues, such as the predicament of food consumption and subsequent environmental contamination. “Focus 2012”, a yearly section that picks one major environmental issue and sheds considerable light on the subject with relevant films, screened 7 motion pictures this year made by Japanese filmmakers who had observed the state of the Japanese society after it was hit by the Fukushima nuclear reactor disaster and the tsunami. French environmental films along with films from the Paris International Environmental Film Festival were also shown. In particular Miram Gast-loup, the chief programmer of the 29-year-old Paris International Environmental Film Festival of France, will be visiting the 9TH GFFIS. This visit is expected to broaden cultural exchanges between Korea and France through the eyes of environmental issues.
Meanwhile, “Gulupdo, Begging Island,” which will be screened at the 9th Green Film Festival, is a film that follows people who are endeavoring to stop the recent development fad that is sweeping Gulupdo. Gulupdo, known as the land of life, is a beautiful island on the west coast in Korea. People who live on the Island encountered the forces behind reckless development and they are in a struggle to protect the land.
The 9th Green Film Festival in Seoul runs from May 9th to 15th at the Yong-san CGV. The opening ceremony starts at 19:00 on May 9th at the Seoul Arts Center and during the festival all the films will be screened at the Young-san CGV in Seoul. The opening ceremony will be hosted by the movie director Tae-yong Kim and the announcer, Shin Ji-ae, with more than 800 people committed to the event, including Kim Won, chief of the organizing committee and chief executive. Japan’s leading intellectuals, Iida dejjeunari and filmmaker Shunji Iwai are also expected to make special stage appearances on this day.