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Connecting cultures through film with the Swedish Korean Film Festival 26-29 August

You might think that Sweden and Korea have little in common, but the organisers of the Swedish Korean Film Festival are seeking commonality and understanding, bringing these two cultures together through art.

This year, the Swedish Korean Film Festival offers a whole host of short films including one of our favourites by director Johannes Nyholm called Las Palmas which involves a one-year-old girl and marionette puppets – carnage ensues! Best of all, they are giving you the ability to watch their line-up wherever in the world you are, without any of the dramas of geo-blocking!

We got to speak to the organisers behind the festival to learn how the concept came about and where one might find a connection between the two countries!

This is the second outing for the Swedish Korean Film Festival – how did the idea initially come about for you?

I guess there is no better genre than a movie that frankly reflects various aspects of society within such a short time. ‘Swedish Korean Film Festival’ took its first step in order for the people of two countries to have an opportunity to experience the films where the two countries’ culture is dissolved.

My colleagues and I are fond of Sweden. We are currently staying in Sweden because we want to introduce Korean culture to Sweden. We produced the ‘Swedish Korean Film Festival’ by wishing that this film festival can help the people to have a good understanding of the two countries and each other, because basically what we want is to know Sweden better and also for Swedes to know Korea better.   

The film festival is packed with short films rather than full-length ones since we sensitively consider copyright issues found in the film industry as it is conducted online. Even though the prepared films might not be able to prominently give a strong impression that can hit you in the head, we hope that audiences can enjoy the fresh views of young screenwriters from Korea and Sweden without much cost.

(Answered by Jinhee Kim, Cultural Attaché)

What we want is to know Sweden better and also for Swedes to know Korea better.   

Where do you think the connection comes between the two countries? 

The two countries do not seem to have a deep understanding of each other because the two do not have particular connections in culture or economy and even they are geographically located in a great distance.

Koreans tend to understand Sweden under a large category of Northern Europe such as Nordic design, Nordic mythology, and Nordic happiness index. Meanwhile, Swedes perceive Korea as a small country located between China and Japan in Northeast Asia.

We anticipate that the understanding between Korean and Sweden will gradually deepen as economic and cultural exchanges have been increasing lately. My colleagues and I also working hard on that too.

Come to think of it, many similarities actually can be found between Korea and Sweden including love for nature, respect for tradition, the pursuit of a frugal life, and sincerity that overcomes economic difficulties. Although Korea is recognized as a young and dynamic country that has achieved cutting-edge technology during Industry 4.0, Korea has a long history of more than 5,000 years ever since it was established on the Korean Peninsula.

Many similarities actually can be found between Korea and Sweden including love for nature, respect for tradition, the pursuit of a frugal life, and sincerity that overcomes economic difficulties.

I hope the two countries will expand their connection points by experiencing each other’s culture.

(Answered by Jinhee Kim, Cultural Attaché)

A snapshot of some of the short films featured – you can read more by following the link HERE

Tell us about what you have planned for your future festivals?

We have not specifically planned next year’s event yet. The size of the film festival might be able to grow but I suppose the operation will be similar to this year.

We dream of the 10th anniversary of ‘Swedish Korean Film Festival’. By then, there can be a hundred films, like 50 Korean films and 50 Swedish films.

We hope this film festival will grow to become a genuine film platform where aspiring young film directors from the two countries can meet audiences for the first time and many meaningful interactions for the two countries’ film artists can occur. 

It would be interesting if the audience of this festival today can later participate in this film festival as a movie director or a screenwriter around the 10th anniversary.

(Answered by Jinhee Kim, Cultural Attaché)

We hope this film festival will grow to become a genuine film platform where aspiring young directors from the two countries can meet audiences for the first time and many meaningful interactions for the two countries’ film artists can occur. 

What Swedish movies have you enjoyed discovering this year?

The Swedish film that personally impressed me at this year’s festival was Jerry Carlsson’s Shadow Animals. I liked the visual beauty and directing method that emphasized the unique feeling of the film. Also the way the characters behave in the film remains in my mind for some reason. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I won’t comment further on this part.

Jerry Carlsson is one of the directors participating in the live session of the festival. I am very excited to see what he is going to say.

(Answered by Harin Lee, Administrative officer)

Jerry Carlsson’s Shadow Animals is creepy, potentially darkly comedic, and bizarre! Am absolute must watch!

The Swedish Korean Film Festival starts today and finishes on the 29th August – find out more on their website HERE

Feature by Alex Minnis

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