Video: Tony Rayns Introduces Director Park Kiyong

News category: Blog

Veteran independent filmmaker Park Kiyong will be arriving in London on Sunday 11th November to present and answer questions at a screening of his film Camel(s) before sitting down for a special 'In Conversation' event with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns. Park will return just once more during the festival for a screening and Q&A of his latest work, Old Love on Monday 12th.

Ahead of his visit to the festival we sat down with Tony Rayns, programmer of this year's Indie Firepower strand, who shared a few words about director Park and his career. You can take a look at what Tony had to say in the video above.

For further insight into Park and why he was selected as the focus for this year's Indie Firepower, here's an extract from Tony's introduction to the strand from the LKFF 2018 brochure:

These are strange days for independent filmmakers in Korea. Last year’s change in government from a right-wing administration obsessed with silencing and punishing its critics to a left-liberal administration which is trying to right past wrongs has left some indie directors uncertain how best to move forward. This is clearly not the time for agit-prop or righteous indignation, but there are still plenty of social issues to be addressed – so the left is still searching for new positions and new ways to engage audiences. Meanwhile the graduates from Korea’s many film courses are negotiating other questions. The mainstream film industry is more powerful than ever and is overwhelmingly focused on entertainment and escapism. Should newly trained directors bend to the industry’s will or try to find ways to make more personal work within the system? Such decisions can be life-changing, so they really do matter.

This year we’re screening the three fiction features made across twenty years by Park Kiyong, who faced exactly the same questions in the late 1990s. Park graduated from the Korean Academy of Film Arts in the late 1980s (it was then Korea’s only film school) and did numerous odd jobs in the industry before making the non-mainstream Motel Cactus for the company Uno in 1997. The film attracted a lot of attention at home and abroad, but everything he’s made since has been done independently, including a suite of documentaries, an experimental short and two more fiction features, Camel(s) in 2002 and Old Love in 2017. The documentary subjects have ranged from the effects of a major earthquake in New Zealand to the lives of Korean-Chinese in both Korea and China, but his fictions are quite homogenous: they all deal with short-term sexual relationships, albeit in rather different ways. Park has combined his filmmaking with extended periods of teaching: he was in charge of his own alma mater KAFA for five years, and is currently training directors-to-be at Dankook University in Seoul. In other words, he’s face-to-face with a new generation which has to make the same choice he made himself nearly twenty years ago, between adapting to the film industry’s requirements and taking an independent route.

Park Kiyong will be our guest in London this year, and we’re looking forward to hearing his insights into the joys and sorrows of independence in today’s Korean film culture.