Hong Hyosook is Director of the Asian Network of Documentary (AND) and Asian Cinema Fund (ACF) at Busan International Film Festival. She presents the new call for doc projects which will be closed on 10th May and she speaks about doc production in Asia.
Can you present yourself ?
I was born in 1968 and was majored in French Language at Chung-Ang University. I was a founder of Women Film Group and worked at the representative of Seoul Visual Collective. As a documentary cinematographer, my works include “Doomealee, A New School is Opening”, “On-Line: An Inside View of Korean Independent Film”, and “Reclaiming Our Names”. Since 1997, I have started to work at Busan International Film Festival as a staff and is currently its programmer for Wide Angle Section. At present, I am holding also the post of director of Asian Cinema Fund (ACF).
What is the main purpose of AND? When has it been created? How many doc projects you have helped and funded?
Launched in 2003, the Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund is a loose coalition of film festival organizers committed to supporting the production and distribution of Asian documentaries. Its members collaborate to build and strengthen the network among Asian documentary filmmakers, while the administration and oversight of AND are being managed by Busan IFF. We’ve supported 82 documentary projects so far. The Fund has witnessed many outstanding achievements from them. They have been presented at many international film festivals, received great responses from audiences, and have had theatrical releases.
What are the conditions to present a project to AND? How many projects you will select?
AND fund supports cinematic feature length documentary. Made-for-TV documentary is not eligible. The number of projects and amount of support will be adjusted according to the caliber of the submissions. You can find more information at http://acf.biff.kr.
Can it be a coproduction with Europe?
For the fund grant itself, project must be directed by Asian documentary filmmaker, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be coproduction. But we are seeking out more chances to help them and coproduction with Europe is definitely in one of our supporting topography.
This year you have a new initiative a new fund grant ‘DMZ Fund’. What is the target? What are the conditions to apply?
In 2011, AND is launching a new fund grant in collaboration with DMZ Korean International Documentary Festival (aka. DMZ DOCS). DMZ Fund is created to support Asian film directors who plan to shoot stories in and about conflict areas, with an emphasis on communication and peace settlements. In order to apply for DMZ fund, candidate project must be eligible for AND fund criteria and also contains above-mentioned stories. AND is now taking submissions until May 10 at http://acf.biff.kr.
Why did you make the partnership with DMZ? What is DMZ?
As you may have heard about DMZ (Korean Demilitarized Zone), it is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. Through half-century, it has been a symbol of grief and yearns for reunification. In this aspect, DMZ can be the perfect and meaningful place we can clearly spread our message for peace. The DMZ DOCS is the first attempt in Korea as an international documentary film festival under the theme of Peace and Communication. Through its strong tie with the DMZ DOCS, AND hopes to explore more diverse opportunities for documentary filmmakers in Asia.
How do you see the evolution of doc production in Asia? Do you believe in Asian coproduction?
We are currently noticing the number of documentary production is increasing and its themes and focuses are getting more diverse in Asia. Asian countries share sort of similar historical backgrounds which I find more promising in coproduction among Asian countries. For example, these days you can see many cases of international coproduction between Korea, Japan and China.
Do you believe in Europe Asia doc coproduction? How can Europe help more Asian doc producers and productions?
Asia and Europe have different approaches, point of view and production methods in documentary filmmaking. It surely will not be easy to work together. However, that also means we can learn from each other – Asia learns Strength and virtues of European documentaries, vice versa.
What is the last doc from Asia you specially like? And the one from Europe?
I liked “Peace” (Kazuhiro Soda/Japan&Korea&USA) and “Family Instinct” (Andris Gauja/Latvia). Peace dragged my attention by introducing universal themes on peace with a very small story but in a very delicate way. Family Instinct was interesting dark tragic-comedy.
AND / ACF website
Interview by mail on 5/5/2011