Interview with Filmmaker MingYeong Jo (ARROWHEAD HILL, THE 66 YEARS FROZEN IN TIME)

ARROWHEAD HILL, THE 66 YEARS FROZEN IN TIME played to rave reviews at the September Female Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

South Korea is in a truce. The 1950 Korean War has lasted more than half a century. In the 1950s, the Korean War was fought with guns, knives, tanks, and landmines. Now, it is proceeding with the ever-deepening cultural differences and conflicts between the two Koreas, the history of separated families who can’t meet while living in the South and the North, the sad family remembered for the death of their father and brother, and the ever-deepening cultural differences and conflicts between the two Koreas As such, the Korean War continues. This documentary began with the question ‘What war am I going through in Korea?’

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

To be exact, documentaries about the ongoing Korean War are still ongoing. Part of it, ‘Arrowhead Hill, 66 years frozen in time,’ took a year. It was a short documentary, so there were not many scenes to film.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

The Korean War continues.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Finding and filming the arrowheads was the hardest part. Arrowhead Hill is close to North Korea, so ordinary people cannot access it. We received permission to shoot from the Korean military and the United Nations Command (UNC) through several stages. But on the day we decided to shoot, we didn’t find the remains because it rained. In addition, if they were happy to get permission, the permit was revoked due to sudden changes in the international situation and the mood between South and North Korea.

And I was worried about how to talk about the tragedy in one sentence, “The bodies of many soldiers are buried in the ground.” This seems like a very simple sentence, but because it implies many meanings: victory and defeat, war and peace, life and death, joy and sorrow.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was very surprising and touching. I almost cried when I saw people talking a lot of emotions and thoughts in person. They told a wide variety of stories, including story plots, scenes, music, articles, and opinions on the subject. I listened very carefully to their story, and looked at their expressions. And once again I thought it was really proud and happy to make this documentary. The writers who participated in the documentary also said they were “very moved” or “thank you” after watching the feedback video.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

‘The remains have been unearthed. The buried soldier’s son is alive’ began with a simple article. When my son, who had been waiting for his father for decades, died, it was noticeable that he was a gray-haired old man who was older than his father. I went to see the dead soldier’s son on the day the buried soldier’s belongings returned to his family’s arms. Contrary to my thoughts that I would cry aloud expressing my exasperated feelings, the expression of my son, who was embracing his father’s belongings, was blank. He looked dumbfounded. His expression inspired me a lot. His face was more than just expression of his personal experience. His face was the face of countless people who had to go through a sad history. It contained the tragedy of war as it was.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I have a wide variety of stories. It is a pity that Korean films and documentaries are not widely known to the international community.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Very accurate and concise. Very good

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I like Korean songs released before K-pop. In the 1960s and 1990s, K-pop has poetic lyrics and lyrical sensibilities. And I enjoy listening to tango and jazz. But above all, it is the sound of nature that gives me strong inspiration and lasting peace, and comforts me exhausted by various thoughts. The song of birds, the voice of the wind, the movement of the waves, the dance of rain. Write this sentence down and I just made a YouTube channel! ‘cozy moment’s sound’. Oh my God!

I would like to introduce you to my favorite everyday sounds-peaceful music.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I am a victim of sexual violence at work. I’ve been having a very hard time for years. A terrible moment’s scene shattered my life. Trauma syndrome, panic disorder, self-esteem decline, distrust of human beings, anger at society… But I live every day believing that the current experience will make me stronger. I want to produce a documentary about the horrors of sexual violence in public spaces. It wasn’t the assailant that hurt me the most. It was a harsh system and company colleagues (who turned away from victim). I believe documentaries and writings have the power to make the world a little warmer. I want to leave a very honest record of victim of sexual violence at work.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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