The 23rd SIWFF Awardees
SIWFF Best Feature Kim Min-young of the Report Card LEE Jae-eun, LIM Jisun
SIWFF Special Jury Award Outcry and Whisper WEN Hai, ZENG Jinyan, Trish McADAM
SIWFF Best Director
This year's film festival was held in the midst of the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. We’d like to express our respect and gratitude to the directors and the production staff of the films that were produced, each with its own unique stories, at a time when all our lives have gone through significant changes.
A total of 12 films (five documentaries and seven feature films) delivered different sets of subject matter and themes from their own perspectives to us. It was very difficult to choose just a few of them for the awards. The jury had to argue for a long time about the new and brilliant attempts, and the exquisite cinematic achievements of the films that each one of us had to stand by.
The Discovery section of the Seoul International Women's Film Festival is a competition-based one and, in particular, the awards were to be given to the first or second films made by female directors. We mainly discussed the brave attempts of the directors, how well they expressed and completed their own stories, and how new their perspectives were. As jurors and spectators, it was a very intense experience and enjoyable for us to talk about how much we were inspired by the bold new stories and the timely, sharp-eyed films.
The film Kim Min-young of Report Card, directed by LEE Jae-eun and LIM Jisun, was selected for SIWFF’s Best Feature Award this year. It was also the most mentioned film during the discussions by the jury. Although the film is about a certain period in a person’s life cycle, a theme covered in myriads of films, we highly praised the fact that it captured the relationship of friends in a subtle yet accurate way from the director's point of view, and it was recreated with today’s modes of narrative.
Outcry and Whisper, directed by WEN Hai, ZENG Jinyan, and Trish McADAM, was selected for SIWFF's Special Jury Award this year. The film piercingly captures the movement of the contemporary era by confronting the political situation, the personal records within society, and the many faces of those who resist, and it won the heart of the jury. The SIWFF Best Director Award was awarded to two films, quite a rare case. Instructions for Survival and Destello Bravio were chosen by the jury in anticipation of the directors’ next works.
Instructions for Survival, directed by Yana UGREKHELIDZE, is an achievement that surpasses any form of persuasion in terms of the film’s approach to an individual's life, vividly revealing the violence inflicted by a discriminatory society.
Destello Bravio, directed by Ainhoa RODRÍGUEZ, provided a totally different cinematic experience through its audacious application of sound and image. It became extremely difficult for the jury to distinguish between the superiority of the two films in its final judgment. So we decided to give this year’s SIWFF BEST Director Award to both directors.
Most of all, while watching the films submitted, the jury was able to contemplate the issues and events that permeated us even in the days when we could not meet or communicate face to face, but we were able to find comfort in and look at each other. Once again, we sincerely thank all the films and their makers for giving us this precious opportunity, and we would like to congratulate the winners.
Second Prize 1021 ROH Young-mee
BNP Paribas Award Special Scholarship YANG Yoon-jung
Audience Award Maria&Beyonce SONG Yechan
- Commentary for the Asian Shorts -
The Grand Prize in the Asian Shorts Competition at the 23rd Seoul International Women's Film Festival goes to Director Cyan BAE's Dear Chaemin. It is a work that evokes the lines of the boundaries or divisions for those of us currently in Korea through a letter from a director sent from another country. This film was like a train rushing towards us. In a resolute and powerful tone, the story is told in the form of a letter, along with various footage, about the violence created by the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The film's virtues — or deftness in weaving the lives of society and individuals, excellent recognition of its subject matter, powerful rhythm, and mystique -- reminded the audience powerfully of the problematic areas of the Covid-19 situation. Therefore, the film won the support of all the juries.
The winner of the Second Prize is ROH Young-mi's 1021. The film 1021 visualizes how the images, texts, events, and stories surrounding us are consumed. The flat world of two-dimensional halftone dots built by the film is the world of our experience that is consumed meaninglessly. We present the Second Prize to 1021 for perfecting the means of how its idea is delivered to the audience.
The winner of the BNP Paribas Award is Special Scholarship, directed by YANG Yoon-jung. Special Scholarship delves deep into the reality of our society where individuals have to prove their destitution and poverty in an already miserable social situation, and even compete for it. The film is a work depicting the fine expressions of the two female characters who need to prove themselves, be qualified for, and compete for their poverty.
We would also like to make a special mention of Kim Young-jeong's Melody. The film Melody is a work of visual expression of an interview that coordinates the notes of those living their lives with their own lines beyond the ridges of prejudice related to schizophrenia. We make a special mention of this film in the hope that we will all be able to follow that voice. Thanks.
Jury of the Finals
KIM Bora, KIM Sookhyun, and MOON Ka-young
SAMJINPHARM Grand Award Harmony with Upstairs YANG Sunmin
SAMJINPHARM Award 30 Decibel LIM Hyo-ryun
- Commentary for I-TEENS -
Let Lips Do What Hands Do is a film that sees this era twistedly through the eyes of a teenager in a quite sensuous way. At the same time, the film is a gem-like piece that expresses the sexual desire of a teenage woman in witty images. In addition, Kidult, which focuses on the situation of a friend who may be in a situation different from that of the director herself, asks a question in a calm but sharp manner. In the end, the director expands the question to include everyone, including herself, instead of objectifying one object. We would like to applaud the director's sincere attitude.
After a long discussion, we decided to give the SAMJINPHARM Award to director LIM Hyo-ryun's 30 Decibel and the SAMJINPHARM Grand Award to director YANG Sunmin's Harmony with Upstairs. 30 Decibel shows the sincerity of looking into oneself through the process of recognizing the static and noise inside oneself. We believe it to be a work of courage and perseverance for its formalistic attempts such as the use of sound. We wish to see the director's next film and are sure she will continue her cinematic attempts and experiments in the future.
Harmony with Upstairs is a work of thoughtful and delicate direction that starts with the feeling of isolation of a character exposed to the subtle violence of everyday life. It ends up connecting two women with a song at an appropriate distance through a wall in a situation where the wall and the ceiling physically disconnect the two characters. The director’s deliberate direction makes us look forward to her next work. The film delivers the message that an encounter with someone who can reveal the ‘real me’ is a precious experience in life along with the trembling sensation caused by that encounter. We believe that the trembling of that experience was successfully delivered to the audience. We would like to congratulate the two awardees, and say thank you to all the directors of the I-TEENS section of the 23rd Seoul International Women's Film Festival.
Jury of the Finals
KIM Hyunmin and PARK Sohyun
Pitch & Catch
Megabox Award A long night Screenwriter HEO Ji Eun, Screenwriter LEE Kyoungho
Ock Rang Award Queer CAN Dance Director LEE Jiyoon, Producer Nungcool
Pitch&Catch Award Last Mission Director LEE Ho Kyong
SIWFF Award Life Unrehearsed Director BANPARK Jieun, Producer KIM Dahyoung
Velocity Award Your Neighbors Director KANGYU Garam, Producer KIM Hwa-beom
Post Fin Award ‘Poetry on Land’ by the Grandmother Landscape Architect Director JUNG Dawoon
Audience Award Becoming an Activist Director PARK Marisol