Through her eyes

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : May 2, 2018 - 17:33
  • Updated : May 2, 2018 - 17:33

Seoul International Women’s Film Festival shines light on gender issues through women-led films

This year’s annual film festival of movies made by women, about women and for women will seek to touch on gender-related social issues prominent across Korean society today.

Organizers of the 20th Seoul International Women’s Film Festival held a press conference Wednesday to introduce films to be shown at the event, while announcing that this year’s topic will be digital sexual violence, the #MeToo movement and abortion.

“Issues like misogyny and the #MeToo movement that we’ve witnessed in recent years are not just a problem of sexual violence, but gender violence,” organizing committee head Lee Hye-gyeong said, pointing to the ever-growing conflict between genders in Korea. Misogynistic comments and behavior prevalent on certain websites here have sparked gender bashing against both men and women.

“We believe that having a female perspective can lead to discussion on achieving equality between various groups and their coexistence,” she said.

SIWFF kicked off in 1997 under the catchphrase “See the world through women’s eyes,” and has sought to support female filmmakers.

This year’s festival will feature 147 films from 36 countries touching on these themes, with discussions on the topic also being carried out. Films will be screened at Megabox Shinchon in Mapo-gu, Seoul.

“Faces Places” (SIWFF)

It will open with last year’s French documentary “Faces Places,” from Agnes Varda, which won the documentary film award at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Marking the 20th anniversary of SIWFF, the organizers added feature-length domestic and international film competition categories, with eight international films and five domestic flicks competing in their respective categories. Already-existing categories are the Asian short film and video competition, documentary Ock-Rang, Pitch & Catch and I-Teens awards.

Alongside the film screenings, conferences on gender issues are to be held. A conference on feminism in films will be held on June 4 at Yonsei University and one about strategies on achieving gender equality in the movie industry will be held at Ehwa Womans University on June 5.

In addition, presentations on the aforementioned three topics will be held at Megabox from June 2-4. 

A poster for the 20th Seoul International Women’s Film Festival (SIWFF)

German filmmaker Monika Treut will talk on topics ranging from her movies and women’s rights to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement. Events featuring director Jeon Go-eun of “Microhabitat,” Lee Kyoung-mi of “Crush and Blush” and actress Lee Young-jin are also planned.

Lee Young-jin was selected as the promotional ambassador and “feminista” for the event, citing her acute awareness of the sensitive but critical issues.

A tribute to the recently departed Choi Eun-hee will take place in the form of a screening event of her films “One-sided Love of Princess” and “The Girl Raised as a Future Daughter-In-Law.”

The 20th anniversary encore exhibition will feature films and documentaries that have been featured in past editions of SIWFF, including “Forever the Moment,” “Helpless,” “Grape Candy” and documentaries “We Are not Defeated” and “The Empire of Shame.”

The festival will kick off with an opening ceremony at the Oil Tank Culture Park in Mapo-gu, Seoul on May 31, and will continue until June 7.

For more information, visit www.siwff.or.kr.

By Yoon Min-sik