A still cut from the opening film ``Korogocho Hakuna Matata- A Story of Jirani’’ by Korean director Lee Chang-gyu. The documentary depicts the journey of a choir comprised of African children trying to make their way to the United States. / Courtesy of SCFF
By Han Sang-hee
The 8th Seoul Christianity Film Festival (SCFF) will be held from Oct. 21 to 26, with a solemn goal to touch viewers and heal them from the emotional stress and burden in their everyday lives through movies.
Under the theme ``Touch You, the Healing,’’ the festival is bringing some 20 full-length films from 10 different countries under three main sections ― ``SCFF Choice,’’ ``Touch You’’ and ``SCFF Special - Yesterday and Today of Korean Christianity’’ ― and 17 shorts
under two sections ― ``Koinonia’’ (a Greek word for communion by intimate participation) and ``Kerygma’’ (preaching).
``As so many people use touch phones these days, the meaning of human `touch’ has vanished, making people feel more lonely and depressed. We wanted to heal those souls (through SCFF),’’ Bae Hae-hwa, chairwoman of SCFF, said during a press conference last month.
The opening film ``Korogocho Hakuna Matata ― A Story of Jirani’’ by Korean director Lee Chang-gyu documents a Korean priest and conductor who teaches despairing African children how to sing by creating a choir, and their journey to stage a performance in the United States. The 80-minute documentary will have its world premiere at the festival.
While the event will open with a movie about young and passionate children seeking hope, the closing work will be more solemn and sober ``Heroes Forever.’’ The film was shot by former music video director Song Won-young and deals with the perceptions young people have toward the Korean War (1950-53).
Along with the opening and closing works, the lineup of the festival ranges from modern, classic films to documentaries and 2D and 3D animation, offering more variety for visitors to choose from. Seven films, including ``Of Gods and Men’’ (2010), second-place winner at the Cannes Film Festival, will be screened in Korea for the first time, a rare chance for movie lovers to take a peek into the minds of filmmakers around the world.
One of the most interesting sections will be the ``SCFF Special ― Yesterday and Today of Korean Christianity’’ section, where both local and foreign movie fans can experience the history of Korean Christianity films, from Yu Hyun-mok’s ``Son of a Man’’ (1980), Lee Jang-ho’s ``Come Down to a Lower Place’’ (1982), Kang Dae-jin’s ``The Sunset on 10th Avenue’’ to more recent movies such as Kim Jong-cheol’s ``Restoration’’ (2009).
Alongside screenings of famed works, the festival will also hold a special seminar with one of the world’s leading filmmakers. Ralph Winter, the Hollywood producer who has worked on movies such as ``X-Men,’’ ``Fantastic Four’’ and the ``Star Trek’’ series, will give a lecture on movies and his Christian faith. Fans will be able to hear Winter talk about his career, which is a little unique as he is known for his more commercial movies yet continues to make religious films as well. Winter will also discuss the ``168 project,’’ on which he is currently working as an advisor. The project is a competition where producers have 168 hours, or one week, to film and edit an 11-minute movie based on a theme and a Bible verse. All films are created during production week and will premiere at the 168 Film Festival, which is slated for April 1 next year. The seminar will take place at Seoul Cinema at 1:30 p.m., Oct. 22.
Screenings for the Seoul Christianity Film Festival will also take place at Seoul Cinema, Jong-no.
Tickets for the opening ceremony are 10,000 won, while tickets for the films are 5,000 won. Tickets for the Ralph Winter seminar cost 10,000 won. For more information, visit www.sc-ff.org or call (02) 743-2536.