festival

Jecheon International Music and Film Festival, Korea: Celluloid, Souls, and Lots of Hot Peppers

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Jecheon International Music and Film Festival Poster with Drying Green Onions
This has been a difficult blog post to write.  Not that the subject matter is hard, it is more that the experience in Jecheon was one of the moments that put my life, and my work into perspective.

There will be other posts and images from my short time spent in Korea, but this entry will focus on those people that I came in contact with and helped me to see more deeply into myself and to the artistic work of others.

Our little film KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx opened the door for me to visit Korea and reason with other souls from across the planet.  I was treated with respect for being a humanistic artist. I sometimes loose touch with from time to time, but the great people and the organizers of the festival helped it all to come into sharp focus.

Each of the foreign guests were assigned a bilingual (or even trilingual) volunteer to help them with interacting with those that could not speak Korean, and with any matter related to the festival and beyond.  My fabulous host was, Minju.

My Most Amazing Volunteer and Me

 

I might as well say this now, and I am sure I can speak for the others at the festival that the core of 12 interpreter/volunteers took our foreign guests communal experience at the festival.  The drivers, hosts, guides, and all hustled to make their guests feel at home.

I arrived and Minju met me at Inchon Airport and we set off for the three-hour drive to Jecheon.  The first night I decided to check out the Boogie Nights outdoor event, this is where I met some of the other directors later that night.  They quickly became known as the three brothers, Guillermo from Uruguay, Rodrigo from Argentina, and Matti from Finland.

Minju and David took me to the outdoor film and concert event and ordered up some of the food stall treats before entering the venue.  In proper Korean culture David scooped the fresh sweet Makori rice beer for me, and I retuned the favor.

David Serving a Cup of Fresh Makori

It wasn’t until the next morning that I would begin to feel my family grow with the addition of these filmmakers.

Director Rodrigo Vila, with Volunteer Eunbin and a Korean Portrait

Alena, who is the subject of the film Appasionata, approached me at breakfast.  I was a bit surprised that she knew who I was and wanted to talk a bit about Japan.  I felt a connection with her almost immediately and knew that I had to see the documentary that was directed by Christian Lambart.

 

Next, Guillermo, arrived at the table with a bombilla, a gourd, and a bag of mate herb.  In his joyous nature he went on to instruct me on the proper brewing techniques to make a gourd of mate tea.  Rodrigo, jokingly told everyone at the table that it was Guillermo’s personal stash of marijuana.  Which we all replied with a round of laughter.

Guillermo in front of his Poster for, Solo

 

I discovered that both Appasionata and Guillermo’s Solo were screening that day, and once arriving at the MegaBox Theater, Minju, booked tickets for me.  Our film screened with the shorts followed by a question and answer session with a professional interpreter.

The City of Jecheon, Korea

 

Appasionata was so moving.  Alena’s gift is opening her heart to the world.  She could be playing a piece of Bach or talking with her parents, she spoke truth from her heart.  I was so moved at one moment in the movie.  The scene hit so close to my home in Japan that it pierced my heart, and the tears streamed down my face.

This film was followed by the drama Solo.  A moving look at one man’s struggle to reconnect with the musician within himself that he let grow cold so many years ago.  I was surprised that such a thought provoking film could come from the young man that was keeping us all laughing at breakfast.

I related to the film because it is a struggle for me to keep in touch with my inner artist.  I never would have seen either film or met the directors if it wasn’t for the JIMFF.

Matti, Christian and Rodrigo after the Screenings

 

 

Christian Kicking back at the after Hours Party by the Lake

 

Alena and I went to the evening screening of the silent film The Kid Brother starting Harold Lloyd and accompanied by the amazing Philip Carla.  It was a great cathartic release to laugh communally with Alena and the rest of the outdoor audience. Carla’s live scoring took the event to the highest level of art and entertainment.

Philip Carli Conversing with Us

After the film, Alena, Philip, Matin I and sipped on some beer and talked into the night drifting between wine, music, Fukushima, and gardening.  It felt wonderful to be surrounded by culture and just to be able to reason.

Martin In Conversation

 

 

Elena Deep in Thoughtful Conversation

I was speaking with Hana about the incredible time I was having and told her that it was hard to believe that the directors were in competition for a prize.  She responded saying that she had never seen the foreign guests become so friendly and hanging out together s

Guillermo Opening a Bottle of Makori for Elena

In addition to the wonderful international directors the Korean staff were fantastic.  They made all of our time in Jecheon so special.  The translators, the helpers, drivers, were superstars in their own right.  I cannot thank them all from the bottom of my heart!

I could go on, but all things must come to a conclusion.  The festival has reignited my artistic passion.  I even began to shoot some video while wandering around the countryside.  Being surrounded by such beautiful souls reached far beyond time space and the bounds of culture.  I feel that my family was with all the wonderful people I encountered.

tof Krysztof Enjoying the MakoriEnjoying the Makori

I thought I had given up on art changing the world nestled between the hills and the lake I rediscovered art’s power for change even if it is only one soul at a time.

 

Special shout outs to JIMFF staff:

 

Hana, for dealing with a multitude of technical projection issues for my crew.

Yoonsun, for my many emails back and forth, and for organizing our helpers.

Jinsu, for finding our doc at the SXSW Festival, and leading me to Korea.

Phoebe, for sharing with me her collection of shaved ice pictures.

Kim, for being the man!

Hailie, for meeting a DVC girl in Jecheon.

Eunbin, being a great host!

Sohee, providing a great dinner with all the filmmakers

Heejung, welcoming me with open arms and heart.

David, for being a great guy, and serving the good Makori wine.

Minju, she made my time not only in Jecheon, but also in Seoul so extra special.  I feel like I have adopted her as my niece.  Thank you so much for all that you did for me in your country!

I wish all the staff the best of luck in the future.  I apologize if I left anyone out.  You all are rockstars!

 

The filmmakers:

Rodrigo Villa, www.cinema7.com, director Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America

My Argentinian brother!

Guillermo Rocamora, director, Solo

For teaching me how to make proper mate, and his moving film Solo.

Matti Kinnunen, director, www.periferiaproductions.fi . Miss Blue Jeans

My other brother from Finland, hope to see you in Tokyo soon.

Christian Labhart, www.rinkercommunications.ch , director Appassionata

For creating a film that moved my heart and touched my soul.

Martin Le Gall, www.avalonfilms.fr director Pop Redemption

for the lovely late night conversation and beers!

Krzystof Gierat, Juror and director of the Krakow Film Festival www.krakowfilmfestival.pl 

 

The pianists:

Alena Cherny, www.alencherny.ch

One very special woman.  Thank you for sharing your life and the makori.

I hope very much that we can create art together.

Philip Carli, www.philipcarli.com

For bringing back part of my youth and for some stimulating reasoning.

 

As usual this is more of a beginning than an end.  There is always more 2 come.

My Shabbat Morning Hike

The Last Sunset over Lake

Accidentally on Purpose

Monday, July 26th, 2010

We wanted to go to one of my favorite Nepali spots in Chiba on Sunday, little did we know that there was a summer festival happening in the city of Ichikawa.  So, we were pleasantly surprised to be able to walk around the food stalls after we filled up on curries and momos.

I really dig the way the food booths just glow at night.  They take on this surreal ethereal quality.  The banners are aglow with colors that only appear in the twilight hours.

I look forward to hitting up and exploring more festivals as the summer heats up.

Cup Ice Blast

Streak of Masks

Chocolate Banana Head

Bag-O-Juice with a Straw

Ta Kushi

Going Bananas in the Park

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

There was a little festival happening in my neighborhood.  A nice sign that the weather is warming and that the summer festival season will be upon us.  Time to grab your spare change to grab some food, and take in the delights at the festival.  Get some okonomiyaki, baby castella, and kebabs.  There are so many smells and flavors fill the senses.

Shaved Ice on a Sunny SIde Day

Eat, Nibble, Nosh

I Like Chocolate Covered Bananas

Hot Baby Cakes

Stay On Target

One Last Festival

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

I awoke to hearing the sounds of a festival drift in though my open windows.  The day was gorgeous. Sunshine filled the sky and warm dry air kept the house cool.  I decided to hop on my mountain bike and track down where the music was coming from.  There are 3 or 4 shrines and temples in the neighborhood and I knew that one of them must be putting on a little festival.

It was happening at a little shrine about 7 minutes away on bike that was packed with people this Sunday afternoon out to get a bite to eat and enjoy the sunshine.  Colder weather is suppose to follow by the middle of the week.  It was a grand time, and I chilled for a minute in the sun.  I am not looking forward to those long winter nights, so I’ve got to enjoy it while I can.

Getting it to Go

Cotton Candy All By It's Self

Okonomiyaki

Candy and Octapus

Little Kasai Festival Part II

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

The two night Minami Kasai festival continued on Sunday night.  There was dancing, singing, and lots and lots of eating.  The cotton candy stand had a line that was as along as a summer afternoon shadow.

The colors all seem to open up and reveal there true intensities at night.

Colors for the mind, body and soul.  Until the next year.

Oh, Banana Me

Pull the String !

Making Okonomiyaki

A is for Ame

Three Lanterns

The Little Festival Around the Corner

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

The drums came wafting in the open windows last night.

The evening cooled and the windows in the house were all open to let in the night breeze.

Following the sound I went around the corner to the elementary school that was having their bon adori

dance festival.  All people young and old in the neighborhood came out to eat, dance and be with each other.  Unfortunately, my battery died so pics are limited.  I do believe there is one more night so I will head back.

Step Up, Win a Prize

Bag Juice

Carnival Motion

Trees and Glow

Copyright 2007© m2c LucidCommunication - Jacob Schere