Exclusive Interview with Cho Jae-hyun & Jin Mo-young | DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

By Sally Sun

DMZ Stands for ‘Demilitarized Zone,’ and that is exactly where the host of Hallyu World, Hye-soo went to this year. In the latest episode of Hallyu World, join Hyesoo on a journey to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the only one of its kind, and mark a brand new chapter for documentaries.

The DMZ was created in 1953 from the Korean Armistice Agreement between North Korea and South Korea. It is the only one of its kind in the world. Serving as a buffer zone, it is about 4 km wide and 240 km long. This is a no-man’s land with plenty of tragic memories of war and division.

It is in this highly restricted area, off-limits to all but those with special permission, that the 9th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival is held. Here, Hyesoo met with two filmmakers: Jin Mo-young, and Cho Jae-hyun.

Mo-young is a rising star director recognized for his highly acclaimed documentary “My Love, Don’t Cross That River.” In the interview, Mo-young talks about his first experiences at the film festival, “I had been producing TV programs back then, and ‘My Love, Don’t Cross That River’ was my first time bringing a full-length documentary to the big screen. Many people loved that film.”

He also talked about his new film, “Old Marine Boy” which was selected as the opening film for the festival. “Old Marine Boy” is the story of a North Korean defector. Ten plus years ago, he took his wife and children, and they escaped to South Korea on a boat. This is the story of Park Myongho… To provide for them and bring them out of hardship, he must put on his wetsuit and make a living catching seafood underwater.

When asked about the messages of the film, he said, “…if you look closely at the story, it is very heartwarming, and it’s about the basic elements—family, love, and the role of a father. And through all of that, I wanted to again convey a message to the public about not giving up and keep pushing forward in our lives and even when life gets difficult.”

After winning the Best New Actor in Theater around 1992, Filmmaker Cho Jae-hyun has played roles from all walks of life, from beggar, thug, hooligan, to his later roles as policeman, doctor, teacher, as well as Jeong Dojeon, one of the founding characters of the Joseon Dynasty honored for his meritorious services.

When Hyesoo asked about the design of the poster for the festival. Jae-hyun said, “This photo was chosen for the poster to promote the film festival, because last year, a lot of big changes took place in Korea both domestically and internationally. Maybe the sunlight in the photo is a symbol for peace, salvation, and hope. And as for the young girl on the poster, maybe we see our own image in her.”

At the end of the interview, Jae-hyun concluded by giving his greetings to the audience, “Many things have happened this year. I hope the end of the year will draw to a fruitful conclusion for everybody, and that in the upcoming new year filled with hope, may you all have lots of blessings!”


 

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