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DMZ Docs aims to be leading documentary film festival in Asia

The 13th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival poster (DMZ International Documentary Film Festival)
The 13th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival poster (DMZ International Documentary Film Festival)

The 13th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will kick off in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on Sept. 9 under the theme of “peace, communication and life.”

DMZ Docs, which uses images taken by Korean documentary photographers every year for its poster, unveiled this year’s poster, titled “Baek Gi-wan’s fist.”

The image, taken by photographer Noh Sun-tag, shows the clenched fist of social activist Baek Gi-wan who passed away in February.

“The fist reflects the spirit and determination of DMZ Docs to offer a precise image of our society through documentaries,” the organizing committee said.

“Complying with the strict distancing guidelines, DMZ Docs is preparing to be held both online and offline in the COVID-19 pandemic era,“ festival director Jung Sang-jin said in a press statement.

Sponsored by Gyeonggi Province, Goyang, Paju, the Korean Film Council and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the event has become the largest festival of its kind in Asia.

A total of 53 documentaries from 29 countries will vie for prizes in four categories -- Korean features, Asian features, international features and shorts. The White Goose Award under the international category offers a grand prize of 20 million won ($17,200).

The lineup includes director Choi Woo-young’s “1989 Berlin, Seoul Now,” director Fan Jian’s “After the Rain,” Komori Haruka and Seo Natsumi’s “Double Layered Town/Making a Song to Replace Our Positions” and Shirin Ekhlasi’s “Black Canvas.”

The documentaries will be screened at the Megabox Baekseok branch in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province.

Under the umbrella of the DMZ Docs, DMZ Industry discovers promising documentary projects and provides support for up-and-coming producers and directors. This year’s selection consists of 33 documentaries, chosen out of more than 200 submitted nominees from 38 countries.

The finalists will get to pitch programs and consult experts in the field during the festival.

According to the festival director, DMZ Docs will expand its outreach to a wider audience by reopening the “Doc School,” a documentary program for teenagers and “Docu&joy, DMZ Online Cinema,” a program screening documentaries online.

The opening ceremony of the event is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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