On Saturday, I attended the Golden Bell Festival at the Korean Canadian Cultural Centre in Toronto, where my short film “Dawn” was being screened as part of their Film Festival. The purpose of the Golden Bell Festival is to encourage education around North and South Korean peace and unification issues, through a one-day event involving a quiz competition, film festival, fun games, Korean product giveaways, and of course, Korean food! :9
There were 4 films being screened at the festival, and mine was up last. I remember being really nervous during the screening because I didn’t know how the audience, ranging from grade school students to halmeonis, was going to react to my experimental and quirky little film.
Fortunately, the audience seemed to like the film and I ended up winning first prize! I received a very pretty plaque and a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera, awww yeahhh!! Second prize went to Simon and Amy (“North Korea: We Are Not So Different”) and third prize went to Mingu Kim (“Toronto: The Land of Hope”) — congratulations!
Making the film was quite an adventure :’P After doing a few hours of research into North and South Korean military uniforms and the Joint Security Area of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, I only had a day to put together the props and set, shoot the raw footage, and edit and upload the film, after which I had to head directly to another shoot (episode 9 of Canadian Doenjang!), before coming home again to submit the link to the festival organizers. It was a bit crazy, but I had a ton of fun and learned a lot about Korean history, politics, and culture through the project.
You can check out the behind-the-scenes footage below. I think I started making the props around 11pm on Tuesday, September 30, and finished shooting around 4pm the following day. Editing the film was relatively quick — only 2 or 3 hours!
This was the inaugural year for the Golden Bell Festival, and it was a big success due to the hard work of the Executive Committee members — Robert, Yunjae, David, and Dave — the Team Directors and volunteers (shoutout to Alison, whose Facebook post was the reason I submitted a film! :D), and the many students who studied hard and came out to participate in the quiz competition. Big thank you to all you wonderful people who made this amazing event possible!