THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, the first US-financed
feature to be shot in North Korea with a local cast and crew
The annual Korean American Film Festival New York (KAFFNY) proudly celebrates its seventh edition as the only artistic program of its kind in New York dedicated to the Korean War and North Korea in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
"Most Americans know little about the ‘Forgotten War’ even with almost 6 million US soldiers being sent there to Korea,” explains founder Dave Kim. ‘The country only enjoyed two years of freedom after thirty-eight years of Japanese colonial rule. With the start of the Korean War in 1950, Korea became a global battleground for outside communist and capitalist philosophies, further dividing a nation of homogeneous people. It set the tone for all modern wars fought by America, even to this day, where the definition of victory is no longer clear. This year’s KAFFNY program explores how the reverberations of this war are still felt to this day and how they are explored in the medium of film.”
"Five of our main program’s feature-length fiction and documentary films explore the “forgotten history, the continuing impact of the Korean War, and relevant North Korean subject matter,” says artistic director Susie Lim. “Emphasis is being given to intergenerational and multi-perspective dialogue created through the films, recognizing the specific value for deeper critical engagement, dialogue in diverse points of view concerning the history of the Korean War vis å vis current views of North Korea.”
KAFFNY opens with the unique pairing of critically acclaimed short MEMORY OF FORGOTTEN WAR by Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem with the New York premiere of the feature-length documentary SEEKING HAVEN by Hein S. Seok. Opening night remarks will be made by renowned scholar of Korean history at Columbia University, Charles K. Armstrong.
On Saturday, October 26, KAFFNY presents shorts and features further reflecting on the Korean War and North Korea including the New York premiere of LETTERS OF PYONGYANG by emerging Korean Canadian filmmaker Jason Lee, and the world premiere of FADING AWAY by Christopher H.K. Lee, a seven-part documentary based on rare archival footage and the powerful recollections from a Korean War orphan who fled North Korea to the South as a thirteen year old – in addition to other refugees and former soldiers sharing their memories with sons, daughters and grandchildren. Making its East Coast premiere on closing night is the feature film OTHER SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN, the first U.S. – North Korean co-production by first-time screenwriter and producer Joon Bai, himself a Korean-American Korean War refugee, and directed by In Hak Jang. This film was entirely shot in North Korea, with a North Korean cast and crew.
Also on Saturday, October 26, KAFFNY pays special tribute to Dong Sin Hahn, the pioneering Korean film curator who co-curated and organized the first U.S. retrospectives of Im Kwon-Taek and Kim Ki-duk at the Museum of Modern Art in 2004 and 2008 respectively. Kim Ki-duk’s ADDRESS UNKNOWN will be screened in honor of her memory, and speaks powerfully to the impact of Korean War.
The annually returning shorts competition highlighting new Korean American and Korean talent includes the US premiere of Byoung-gon Moon’s SAFE, awarded the Palme d'Or this year at Cannes. KAFFNY’s Shorts Incubator program brings together a range of works by more emerging local directors.
KAFFNY’s inaugural Visual Arts section will feature artists working in film, video and new media in a two-part exhibition (October 15 - November 23) at The Sylvia Wald & Po Kim Gallery, a nonprofit organization founded by the Korean American artist Po Kim and his wife, American artist, Sylvia Wald. Opening receptions will take place on October 23 and November 13. A number of artist talks will be scheduled. For further updates regarding the exhibition, please visit www.kaffny.com and http://waldandkimgallery.org/.
Originally founded in 2006 as the Korean American Shorts Film Festival New York, KAFFNY has evolved into one of the most prominent and innovative film, music, and art festivals focusing on the Korean Diaspora and Korean-American experience. Each year KAFFNY continues to recognize and support new filmmakers and artists, placing emphasis on the diversity of content, form and perspective in its programming. KAFFNY's slate of works culls together domestic and international feature film premieres as well as a dynamic cross-section of works by established and emerging filmmakers from all over the world. Concurrent with the festival program, KAFFNY further extends the reach and message of its featured artists through discussions and special events.
KAFFNY venue: Village East Cinema (189 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10003)
Partnering venues: SBD Gallery (125 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003) and Sylvia Wald & Po Kim Gallery (417 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003)
Visit www.kaffny.com for program updates and final schedule