DMZ film festival to be held in hybrid format amid COVID-19 - The Korea Times
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DMZ film festival to be held in hybrid format amid COVID-19

A scene from the film
A scene from the film "A Long Way to School" This film has been selected as the opening film of the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. / Courtesy of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

By Kwak Yeon-soo

The 12th DMZ International Documentary Festival will be held from Sept. 17 to 24 in a hybrid of online and in-person activities due to COVID-19. Organizers said this year's event will only be attended by filmmakers and industry personnel to minimize human interaction.

A selection of screenings will take place at the Megabox Baekseok branch in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, and other events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, will be held in virtual format and livestreamed on the festival's YouTube channel. The opening ceremony, which is scheduled to take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Megabox Paju Book City branch, will also be livestreamed on Naver TV.


Physical screenings will be attended by jurors and festival-related officials only and be limited to a maximum of 30 people in consideration of public health and safety.

The festival organizers said they will adhere to the government's social distancing guidelines for enclosed spaces, disinfecting theaters three times a day and ventilating for 10 minutes after each screening.

A total of 122 films from 33 countries were invited this year. A screening of Director Kim Jung-in's "A Long Way to School" will open the festival. The film centers on the reopening of Kongjin Elementary School in Gangseo-gu, southwestern Seoul, after it closed due to lack of students.

A poster for the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival / Courtesy of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
A poster for the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival / Courtesy of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
Under the program titled "Da-rak," three South Korean music documentaries ― "Sound of Nomad: Koryo Arirang," "Free My Soul, Free My Song" and "Weekends" ― will be streamed between Friday and next Thursday. Twelve educational documentaries, including "Kids on the Silk Road ― Nepal: Poonam's Fortune," will be available until the end of the year.

"DMZ Industry," a workshop which supports and consults rookie filmmakers on their project films, will be streamed online to introduce 36 projects from Sept. 21 to 24.

Actor Sung Hoon and MBC news anchor Lim Hyun-ju will host the festival's opening ceremony. "I'm honored to host the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. I will do my best to support organizers so that the film festival operates smoothly," Sung said in a news release.

Launched in 2009, the week-long DMZ film festival has been held annually in the border city of Paju, Gyeonggi Province, near the military demarcation line. Films featuring the topics of "peace, coexistence and reconciliation" are screened during the festival.


A scene from the film
A scene from the film "A Long Way to School" This film has been selected as the opening film of the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. / Courtesy of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

By Kwak Yeon-soo

The 12th DMZ International Documentary Festival will be held from Sept. 17 to 24 in a hybrid of online and in-person activities due to COVID-19. Organizers said this year's event will only be attended by filmmakers and industry personnel to minimize human interaction.

A selection of screenings will take place at the Megabox Baekseok branch in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, and other events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, will be held in virtual format and livestreamed on the festival's YouTube channel. The opening ceremony, which is scheduled to take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Megabox Paju Book City branch, will also be livestreamed on Naver TV.


Physical screenings will be attended by jurors and festival-related officials only and be limited to a maximum of 30 people in consideration of public health and safety.

The festival organizers said they will adhere to the government's social distancing guidelines for enclosed spaces, disinfecting theaters three times a day and ventilating for 10 minutes after each screening.

A total of 122 films from 33 countries were invited this year. A screening of Director Kim Jung-in's "A Long Way to School" will open the festival. The film centers on the reopening of Kongjin Elementary School in Gangseo-gu, southwestern Seoul, after it closed due to lack of students.

A poster for the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival / Courtesy of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
A poster for the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival / Courtesy of DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
Under the program titled "Da-rak," three South Korean music documentaries ― "Sound of Nomad: Koryo Arirang," "Free My Soul, Free My Song" and "Weekends" ― will be streamed between Friday and next Thursday. Twelve educational documentaries, including "Kids on the Silk Road ― Nepal: Poonam's Fortune," will be available until the end of the year.

"DMZ Industry," a workshop which supports and consults rookie filmmakers on their project films, will be streamed online to introduce 36 projects from Sept. 21 to 24.

Actor Sung Hoon and MBC news anchor Lim Hyun-ju will host the festival's opening ceremony. "I'm honored to host the 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival. I will do my best to support organizers so that the film festival operates smoothly," Sung said in a news release.

Launched in 2009, the week-long DMZ film festival has been held annually in the border city of Paju, Gyeonggi Province, near the military demarcation line. Films featuring the topics of "peace, coexistence and reconciliation" are screened during the festival.


Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr


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