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Korean Academy of Film Arts

2009/04/10 | Permalink | Source

Welcome back.
Producing a feature film costs a lot of money and time.
So most film students are limited to producing shorts.
But a film school here in Seoul is running their curriculum differently to prepare the students as much as possible for the real world of cinematic arts.
Yoo Dal is in the studio to tell us more.
[Reporter : ] Hello, Kiho & Sunhee.
The Korean Academy of Film Arts has an advanced program for feature films and animations.
And the students enrolled in this course are required to produce feature movies which are fit for the screen.
The purpose of this program is to train the students intensively so they can contribute to the development of the Korean film and animation industry.
Arirang was able to visit the school and see the students work on their projects.
I was also invited to take on being an actress but without any lines.
Why don't we take a look.

Korean films have crossed many borders showcasing their innovativeness and charm on the world stage.
A number of Korean movies have been recognized internationally for their quality and popularity.
In accordance with the forward momentum of the film industry discovering and training the next generation of filmmakers has become a priority.
One film school is taking the lead.

The Korean Academy of Film Arts plays a big role in educating and preparing moviemakers for the industry.
Now in its 25th year the school has become very influential after producing talented individuals who have led the Korean film renaissance.

[Interview : Park Ki-yong, Executive Director of KAFA] "For the past 24 years, we have produced around 460 graduates. More than 80 of them have debuted as feature film directors. Currently, most of the graduates are working actively in the film and animation industry".

Heavy emphasis is placed on intense hands-on-training rather than on the study of film theory.
I was invited to take part in their cinematography class.
All I had to do was sit down but the students were busy using lighting and photography techniques to transfer the screenplay into visuals.
The classwork can sometimes be tedious but the students have great drive.

[Interview : Kang Sang-hyeop, Cinematography major] "When I see notable alumni, I think I should follow their example. I hope to develop a unique style of filming through mixing my own style with what I have learned here. I'd like to take after the strong points of notable alumni. My ultimate goal is to become a cinematographer who has a distinct style".

[Reporter : Reporter: Yoo Dal] "This school has established itself as one of the leading centers of film education in Korea. And the students here work very hard hoping to make a breakthrough as filmmakers".

Students of the Feature Film Advanced Program are shooting a scene for their movie right now.
Filming started in early March but they are already in the final stages.
When completed it will be submitted to domestic and foreign film festivals.

[Interview : Ryu Hyeong-gi, Feature Film Advanced Program student] "A 24-year old woman is the main character. She steals from a supermarket to get money for a plastic surgery. Right now, we are getting ready to shoot a scene in which the woman meets her friends and asks her for some money".

Despite their hectic schedules, the aspiring filmmakers find some time to celebrate the birthday of a fellow student.

Film directing and cinematography majors in the Advanced Program are required to produce two movies a year.
The intense curriculum prepares the students for the field.

Limited budgets and tight filming schedules are difficulties the students have to overcome but they still do their best.

[Interview : Kim Hyeon-ok, Feature Film Advanced Program student] "Since we're on a low budget, financial problems can arise. Sometimes I'd like to shoot the scenes in a certain way but I have to give up. So I need to communicate a lot with the director. But I always feel like I could do better with the technological aspects of the film".

Since the keystone project of students at the Korean Academy of Film Arts is to produce a feature-film for screening at theaters the students are very determined.

[Interview : Ryu Hyeong-gi, Feature Film Advanced Program student] "It's my first feature film so I'm constantly thinking about how I can portray my thoughts and views most effectively in the movie.

Unlike other film schools in Korea this school started a production training program giving students a chance to produce original feature films not just shorts.

[Interview : Park Ki-yong, Executive Director of KAFA] "We thought their was a limit to simply teaching feature film production. After a long period of preparation we started the advanced program in 2007. The program educates students to produce high-quality feature films and animations".

The first students who participated in the Advanced Program produced three feature films and one feature animation which are enjoying much success.
"The Story of Mr. Sorry", won the "Shin Dong-hun Animation Award" for this year.
"Members of the Funeral" won two awards at the Pusan International Film Festival last year and was invited to the Berlin Film Festival.
"The Day After" received the NETPAC Award at Berlin.
One of the former students told us what was behind their success.

[Interview : Baek Seung-bin, Director of "Members of the Funeral"] "Since we were the first students of the Advanced Program the teachers and the school staff were both worried and excited. We were able to produce a film that we can be proud of thanks to their devotion".

The success of graduates serves as motivation for a fresh batch of students taking part in the Feature Animation Advanced Program.
In the studio they are in post-production for their upcoming animated film.
They receive external support from the faculty and experienced professionals to complete the film.
But there is one thing that springs from within the students -- originality.

[Interview : Park Jae-ok, Feature Animation Advanced Program student ] "Animated films have distinct characteristics. Regular films try to portray reality but animated ones can be imaginative. So I'd like to produce animated films that are very creative".

[Interview : Park Ki-yong, Executive Director of KAFA] "Now that I've done this twice, I'm more confident. But I think we need to fix the production system we have in place. If we fix it, I'm sure we will have very good results".

Providing opportunities for budding filmmakers who will become leaders of the Korean movie scene is a responsibility that the Korean Academy of Film Arts takes very seriously.
As the school continues to train students to master the craft of moviemaking the rest of us can look forward to seeing the results on the silver screen.

It's great to know that these students are given the chance to do what they love.
But how are the films financed[Reporter : ] Yes the students are extremely fortunate because they don't have to worry about financing their films.
Of course they pay tuition but it is relatively inexpensive.
The school gets money from the Korean Film Council which receives funds from the government.
Now they don't have multimillion dollar budgets but they're adequate to cover their capstone projects.
And with all that support and experience hopefully they will be able to bring new life and perspective into Korean cinema after they graduate.
New life and perspective surely the Korean movie industry need those.
Thank you for that report.
[Reporter : ] My pleasure.

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