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DMZ documentary festival to go ahead on-site despite pandemic

The 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival poster (Courtesy of festival organizers)
The 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival poster (Courtesy of festival organizers)

The 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will take place this month on-site as planned, but in a significantly scaled down form amid the COVID-19 pandemic, its organizers said Wednesday.

Asia’s largest documentary film festival will run Sept. 17-24 in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, just north of Seoul. The festival, which was originally scheduled to take place at three screening venues, will now be held only at the Megabox Baekseok branch. Audience numbers will be limited to 50 people per screening.

While DMZ Industry, a support platform for documentary filmmakers, will convene as planned, all other on-site events and outdoor screenings have been canceled.

“We have discussed social responsibility and the role of our film festival as we monitored the changing COVID-19 situation,” the organizers said. “We will devote our efforts to carrying out the festival’s fundamental role of providing the documentary filmmakers with a chance to showcase their films and communicate with the audiences, while doing our best to secure the public’s safety and comply with the sanitization measures inside the venue.”

The festival opening ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the Megabox Paju Book City branch with a small number of guests, and the event will be livestreamed on Naver TV.

Opening the festival will be director Kim Jung-in’s “A Long Way to School,” which follows the conflict that unfolded in 2017 between parents of disabled students and residents opposed to the building of a special school in a western Seoul neighborhood. 


“A Long Way to School” (Courtesy of festival organizers)
“A Long Way to School” (Courtesy of festival organizers)

The DMZ International Documentary Film Festival marks the second time a major film festival in Korea is being held exclusively offline since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in January. The second PyeongChang International Peace Film Festival was held offline in June.

Meanwhile, tickets for the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival will go on sale Sept. 8 on the festival’s official homepage at www.dmzdocs.com.



By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)

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