|Attending SIDOF (Seoul)
In the end of March, the Seoul Independent Documentary Video & Film Festival 2016 took place in central Seoul. I participated with a program of documentaries about the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, a part of the festival’s Asia Focus section, and joined a panel discussion about our very own 311 Documentary Film Archive and the docs made in these past five years. Joining me (Archive staff) on the panel was filmmaker Sakai Ko whose two films of the Voices from the Waves series were invited, together with coordinator of YIDFF program Cinema with Us 2013–2015 and curator of DOMMUNE FUKUSHIMA! Ogawa Naoto. Each of us spoke about our respective work in the field.
Audiences asked questions about the difficulty of archiving films that deal with political issues like nuclear disaster, possibly reflecting the ongoing concern about Busan Film Festival being subjected to political intervention, and about the general interest in Japan on archiving. We were impressed by the audience’s comments and recognized that the Korean public had a high awareness of film related issues.
We also visited public media center MediAct, run under Kim Myoung-joon’s directorship. The center supports citizens’ filmmaking and rents out equipment, hosts training courses for production, and plays a central role in sustaining a network among regional community media centers. Defying forces that repress freedom of expression is an important challenge, and we see how incubating participants in grassroots documentation and media production / distribution can expand and empower this basic right.
The four days we spent in Seoul were greatly inspiring, particularly due to the tireless spirit of the young SIDOF staff and independent filmmakers.
- * About YIDFF’s 311 Documentary Film Archive:
- In its third year since inauguration, the Archive is gradually growing. University libraries overseas have started to utilize the database. Details of the Archive’s aims and goals and news items are publicized on the website. Following the fundamental role of archives, we retain a database of what documentaries, made by whom, on what themes, were produced in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake. A record of this information and a copy of the video itself, even if not complete, shall be openly accessible for posterity.