Gina Kim, Eugene YK Chung nab top VR awards at Venice film fest

By Rumy Doo
  • Published : Sept 10, 2017 - 13:35
  • Updated : Sept 10, 2017 - 13:35

Korean filmmaker Gina Kim won the best virtual reality story award for “Bloodless” at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, which closed Saturday.

The best VR award went to the animation film “Arden’s Wake,” written and directed by Eugene YK Chung, director and founder of Penrose, a US startup that focuses on augmented and virtual reality.

“Bloodless,” a 12-minute film about a sex worker’s final moments, is based on the case of a US soldier’s brutal murder of a Korean bar worker in the US military base town of Dongducheon in 1992.

“When making this film, I focused on the possibility for VR, a new medium, to allow people to relate to the pain of others,” Kim said in her acceptance speech Saturday.

Director John Landis, head judge of the VR category jury, described “Bloodless” as a “masterpiece that allows the viewer to feel social issues on the realm of senses and has broadened the horizon of VR films.”

The film was produced by Crayon Film and funded by Dankook University Graduate School of Cinematic Content, Venta VR and the University of California, Los Angeles, where Kim is currently a professor.

Kim previously directed works such as “Final Recipe” (2014), a cooking competition drama starring a multinational cast, and the documentary “Faces of Seoul” (2009).

“Bloodless” will screen at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Gina Kim holds the prize for best virtual reality story during the 74th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido in Italy, Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)

Gina Kim (right) is awarded the prize for best VR story by director John Landis at the 74th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido in Italy, Saturday. (AP-Yonhap)

“Arden’s Wake,” which received critical praise at the Tribeca Film Festival, is a 16-minute animation feature and coming-of-age story about a young girl who lives with her father in a lighthouse.

“This is a new art form, and it is an incredible honor that the world’s oldest film festival has embraced for the first time this art form in official competition,” said Chung in his acceptance speech.

Venice is the first of the world’s three largest film festivals -- including Cannes and Berlin -- to newly install a category for VR films this year.

Three prizes are given to best VR, best VR story and best VR experience, which went to “La Camera Insabbiata” by artists Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang.

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)