BUSAN, South Korea – Filmmaking is not an exact science. Most aspiring auteurs would be the first to tell you that it is a painstaking, trial-and-error process that forces their creative vision under hard scrutiny. There is no proven formula for what makes a film great, there are only the guided rules of “screenwriting 101” to ensure that your film doesn’t end up an incoherent mess (and still, people like Michael Bay manage to construct chaotic nonsense like Transformers 2).
Filmmaking is an art form in which, if successful, one’s own creative perspective is translated to an audience in an entertaining, and hopefully thought-provoking manner. While the vision for such a piece may come from a solitary individual, be it a writer/director, it is also important to understand film as a collaborative process. That is why the integral component of any amateur film is found in a willingness to work with others and accept ideas to allow a rich and organic evolution of the process. There is so much captivating potential when it comes to amateur film, and as it turns out, we have the opportunity to undertake such a journey this week.
Beginning this Thursday, August 26th, and running through to Sunday, August 29th, people will have the opportunity to attend the First Annual Busan Expat Film Festival. This showcase of amateur filmmakers who hail from all over the globe is a FREE event, offering up a diverse range of films from countries such as Bangladesh, Sweden, Germany, Korea, Japan, Turkey, the U.S.A. and Canada.
The festival is being held at the C+C Art Theater in Jagalchi, playing host to films ranging from feature-length works of fiction to documentary short-subjects. Given that this is the first time Busan has seen a collective of expat amateur filmmakers being handed their very own festival, it is essential that they muster as much support from the expat community as possible. I, for one, would love to see a tremendous turnout for the screenings this week, as it could signify a need for the festival to expand and continue on into the years ahead. If a keen sense of passion is displayed for this rather small event, doors could be opened to even more hopeful filmmakers in the future.
Now, as for the films themselves, I myself have had a rather pleasant surprise upon the discovery of this little gala unveiling. About a year back, I had the fortune of running into Tim Paugh, a fellow Canadian who was calling for assistance on his short-film project entitled “Hotel Story”. At the time I was eager to work with him, but I ultimately concluded that there wasn’t much that I could offer from a creative standpoint. I touched base with him in several meetings, and had the honor of providing feedback on the rough draft of his very intriguing script. It was regrettable that I opted out of his production, but I was certain that Tim already possessed a refined creative vision for his film, drawing inspiration from several revered world auteurs (not the least of whom was the great Wong Kar Wai from Hong Kong).
For about a year since that last meeting, I had often found myself wondering how Tim’s film was coming along, and whether or not he had managed to complete it. Astonishingly, my answer comes in the form of this week’s festival, as Paugh’s “Hotel Story” is one of the films being screened. I think “sprinting” is the word I’d use to describe the speed at which I’ll be heading to Thursday’s screening. As if the words “Film Festival” weren’t enough to rope me in, I now have the esteemed pleasure of seeing Tim’s hard work come to fruition.
While “Hotel Story” may have ingrained a sliver of personal interest for me, there are many other notable films on display.
Snail – Promises to be a poignant little tale about a man who quits his job to embark on a journey to Tibet, the outcome of the journey and his resolve are unknown.
Five – Looks to be an astute insight into five Korean children who are adopted by parents from five countries. A social parable about the stigma surrounding adoption, the film promises to take a hard look at the demands placed on these children to embrace their Korean heritage.
Seoul Women Happiness – Judging from the synopsis, it could be a documentary-style feature examining the differences between Eastern and Western relationships.
In addition to this varied offering, there are nine more films being screened, a total of fourteen in all. For a complete list of the films and their respective screenings, check the Busan Haps information page, as well as the Facebook group for all of the details. I can’t stress enough the importance of good expat community feedback for this film festival, something that may not even see a second year should the interest be sorely lacking. It’s okay to put down the beers for one weekend and take the time out to support the expat filmmaking community. You may just find yourself utterly blown away by the sheer level of talent on display.
For more info on the film fest you can find a schedule here. For Detailed maps go here.