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The 15th DMZ Docs has concluded after 8 days of run

Published : Wednesday, September 27, 2023, 9:33 pm
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The 15th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival (Executive Chairman CHANG HAE RANG, hereinafter referred to as ‘DMZ Docs’) held a closing ceremony at CGV Goyang Baekseok Theater 7 on Thursday, September 21, and announced this year's award-winning films, concluding its eight-day run.

The closing ceremony, hosted by announcer Shin Ji-hye at CGV Goyang Baekseok at 7 PM on the 21st (Thursday), was attended by DMZ Docs invited guests and the audience, and an awards ceremony for the ‘Competition’ category and the ‘Special Award’ was held. In the international competition category, awards were given in a total of three categories, including the Grand prize, Special jury award, and Jury Special Mention. In addition, the Frontier Grand Prize, Jury Special Mention, and the Korean Competition's Features Grand Prize and Short Grand Prize were announced, respectively. Special awards included competition and non-competition categories among Korean feature films, as well as Outstanding Aesthetic Achievement, Social Solidarity, and Emerging Documentary Filmmaker(Sponsor Association Award).

This year's Grand Prize in the international competition category was director Sylvain George's Obscure Night-Goodbye Here, Anywhere, which was awarded a prize of 20 million won. Obscure Night-Goodbye Here, Anywhere is a sequel to Obscure Night-Wild Grass (2022) and raises important topics of our time, such as refugees and migration, by focusing on immigrants trying to cross the land border between Africa and Europe. The judges praised him with “To live on the border, to exist without a country, is to become an eternal ‘outsider” and “The film is not satisfied with simply recording and observing the strength of such energetic beings, but rather shows the will to pursue them tenaciously in order to create rude yet unexpected images”.

The Special Jury Award went to Pure Unknown, directed by Valentina Cicogna and Mattia Colombo. Next, a Jury Special Mention went to Bloodhound director Yamina Joutat.

Director Wang Bing of Man in Black was honored with the Grand Prize in the Frontier category and will receive a prize of 15 million won. Film critic Seong-il Jeong accepted the award on his behalf. Man in Black is a portrait of Wang Shirin, an 86-year-old classical composer who left China and lives in Germany. The judges gave commentary “a work that boldly reimagines the genre of ‘portrait documentary’ while fully recalling the struggle of a man who survived countless attacks on his mind, body, and art” and “cinematic adventure and political bravery exemplify the spirit of the DMZ Docs Frontier division”. Frontier Jury Special Mention goes to Mambar Pierrette directed by Rosine Mbakam.

The Korean Competition section was divided into feature films and short films, and each grand prize was awarded. The long film went to K-Family Affairs director Nam Arum. K-Family Affairs is an introspective work based on the family relationship of the director, whose father was a high-ranking public official in the Park Geun-hye government at the time of the Sewol Ferry disaster. The judges stated the reasons for their selection as “K-Family Affairs tries to understand what happens inside a family that stands on seemingly conflicting paths: the father is a bureaucrat, the mother is a feminist activist, and the daughter is a film maker” and “the extraordinary personal experiences of the parents in the work reflect the society itself, which has chosen to quickly forget over time” in their review.

The Grand Prize for short film was given to director Yang Ji-hoon's The Shooters. The Shooters is a work that tells another valuable testimony about the Jeju 4·3 Incident, and received reviews such as “within the time constraints imposed by a short film, the director summons memories of huge events in modern Korean history” and “through witty style, humorous editing, and honest and simple techniques, we come face to face with a very dark moment from the past.”

A total of 30 million won in prize money will be awarded for the special award. First, Outstanding Aesthetic Achievement, which is given to a work that stands out for its artistic achievement and contribution, was received by director Kim Eungsu of Jean-Luc Godard. Director Choi Jong-ho of Oryu Market received the Social Solidarity, which stands out for his active participation and sharp criticism of society and director Kim Sangpai of Our Sunny Paradise was honored with the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker(Sponsors’ Award), which is given to an excellent work by a new director.

On the 19th, the DMZ Docs Documentary Market also held the DMZ Docs Pitch Awards Ceremony and Closing Ceremony at Megabox Baekseok Bella Cita Room 101. The winning works were awarded prize money and in-kind items worth a total of 220 million won.

The Global Pitch Grand Prize went to Camels of the Sea and was awarded a prize of 50 million won. A total of two Excellence Awards went to the Korean project Seeds of a Nation and the Asian project Untying the Knot, each receiving a prize of 20 million won. The judges' special award went to a total of four works, including the Korean project Mosque and K-NUMBER, the Asian project Life in the Shadows and Whispers in May, and each received a prize of 10 million won. Lastly, the Audience Award winner was Whispers in May, which won two awards.

In the case of rough cut pitch, the grand prize went to Friday At the Window, which received a prize of 40 million won. A total of two works won the Excellence Award, which are the Korean project On the Wings of a Butterfly and the Asian project After the Snow Melts. They each received a prize of 20 million won. The Audience Award went to Prabha, which received a prize of 5 million won.

In-kind and investment fund awards followed. The ‘Korea University of Media Arts Award’, which supports post-production (color correction, sound mixing, etc.), was received by Red Diary, and the ‘Sunny Side of the Doc Award’, which supports participation in the 2024 Sunny Side of the Doc, was received by Karma. The ‘Hot Docs Industry Award’, which provides support for participation in the 2024 Hot Docs Industry, went to Seeds of the Nation. Karma and Parachute Kids each received an investment of 25 million won from the Hans Tech Fund Award, which supports the conclusion of an investment contract after the work is selected.

The 15th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival held a total of 228 screenings and 145 program events over 8 days. The 15th DMZ Docs ended with the closing ceremony on the 21st. Online theater VoDA allows payment until midnight on the 22nd, and screenings are available for 48 hours after payment.

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