The time I spent in Yamagata twenty-four years ago has, this entire time, continued to echo deeply inside me. When I attended the festival, I would watch documentaries the entire day until I was tired out, meet and talk with many of my filmmaking comrades, and I can still picture when evening came, walking up an unfamiliar staircase with a small bottle of alcohol and glass in my hand. And because I met a kind and skilled interpreter, I was able to obtain the most treasured experience of immersing myself in Japanese documentaries and forums about film, carrying a book full of notes I’d made on my departure. I return again this year to Yamagata. The task of judging films carries a heavy weight, but more than that the excitement and pleasure of the festival beckons me. A respected colleague in the field of documentary of my generation wondered to me what new stories and questions I might indeed encounter. And what will it be that I bring home from the 2019 Yamagata?
Hong Hyung-sook has been making documentary for over thirty years, since the mid 1980s. Her film, Doomealee, a New School is Opening (1995) garnered her acknowledgement as an auteur and was invited to YIDFF ’95. Her works On-Line; An Inside View of Korean Independent Film (1997), Reclaiming Our Names (1998), Doomealee, the Very First Step (2000, YIDFF 2001), The Border City (2002), and The Border City 2 (2009) were invited to prestigious film festivals such as Berlinale, IDFA, YIDFF and Busan IFF. She also produced Forest Dancing (2012) and Boys Run (2015), which were directed by Kang Seok-pil. Her recent work Junha’s Planet (2018) received its world premiere at IDFA (feature length competition) and has traveled to many film festivals. Hong is also Festival Director of the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival and teaches at Korea National University of Arts.
KOREA / 2018 / Korean / Color / DCP / 108 min
Director, Script: Hong Hyung-sook
Photography: Lee Ju-hwan
Editing: Lee Yeon-Jung
Sound: Pyo Yong-soo
Music: Lee Minwhee
Producer: Kang Seok-pil
World Sales: Taskovski Films www.taskovskifilms.com
Meet Junha, an 11-year-old boy with autism who aggressively lashes out at his classmates and teachers at the alternative school he attends. The invisible wall between him and his surroundings steadily grows higher, yet his parents and teachers dedicate themselves to meeting over and over again to talk through his issues. This film paints a meticulous picture of the day-to-day work of trial and error in which not only his teachers and classmates, but Junha himself persists, in order for him to be able to participate in class. Listen closely and you will hear how “Planet Junha” produces its own resounding melody, as written in Johannes Kepler’s Harmonices Mundi.