Send to

DMZ Docs brings message of peace, coexistence

Sept. 10, 2021 - 13:58 By Lee Si-jin
Director Yang Yong-hi’s mother prepares samgyetang for her future son-in-law in “Soup and Ideology.” (DMZ International Documentary Film Festival)

The 13th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival kicked off Thursday at Megabox Paju Bookcity in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, with a tearful story from director Yang Yong-hi.

Festival director Jung Sang-jin (left) and Paju Mayor Choi Jong-hwan announce the opening of DMZ Docs Thursday at Megabox Paju Bookcity in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. (Paju City)

“Aiming to promote peace, coexistence and life as a key message, DMZ Docs has slowly become the largest festival of its kind in Asia, promoting promising projects and documentaries to a wider audience,” festival director Jung Sang-jin said during the opening ceremony.

The festival returned to in-person screenings this year and is following the social distancing guidelines.

The opening ceremony was followed by a Gayageum performance by Park Soon-a and by the world premiere of Yang’s “Soup and Ideology.” Park and Yang are both members of the Zainichi, or ethnic Korean, minority in Japan.

The film centers on Yang’s mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and shares her personal stories about the uprising on Jeju Island that started April 3, 1948.

The documentary presents three scenes with boiling-hot samgyetang, a Korean ginseng chicken soup. When Yang brings her boyfriend home to ask her mother’s permission to marry her, the three gather around samgyetang prepared by the mother. The director quotes her mother as saying, “Although our ideologies are different, let’s eat together.”

Sixty of the participating 126 documentaries from 39 countries are vying for prizes in four categories -- Korean features, Asian features, international features and shorts. The films will be screened at the Megabox Baekseok branch in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, during the festival period.

DMZ Docs has developed a streaming platform called VoDA to provide greater access to the participating films amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Short for ‘Vision of Documentary Archive,’ VoDA will serve as the documentary streaming platform for domestic and foreign projects even after DMZ Docs,” festival director Jung said Thursday.

The festival runs through Sept. 16, and the winners will be announced during the closing ceremony.

By Lee Si-jin (