For Immediate Release
February 23, 2012
Contact: Renie Wong
Hawai'i Peace and Justice
“Jam Docu Gangjeong” Film Shorts: A Jeju Island Village Struggles with the Imposition of a South Korean/U.S. Naval Base
Documentary Film Shorts “Jam Docu Gangjeong” premiering for the first time in Hawai‘i will be shown at The ARTS at Marks Garage on March 17, 2012 6:30-8 PM in a free screening co-sponsored by Hawai'i Peace and Justice in collaboration with Hawai‘i Women in Filmmaking and DMZ Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina. Light refreshment will be offered.
Banned from theater showings for 40 days by the Korean Film Commission, Jam Docu Gangjeong just recently received approval (January 31st) for showing in South Korea. Although Jeju was named an “Island of Peace” in 2005 by the South Korean government and listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site, the Korean government has pushed ahead with plans to build a huge naval base in Gangjeong Village for the use of both the South Korean military, as well as US naval warships and destroyers.
The island is home to a unique dialect and culture off the tip of South Korea, but also presents a microcosm for the tragic legacies of the Korean War. Residents of Gangjeong Village have put up peaceful resistance to the base construction, but faced brutal suppression by the police and mainland military, and been heavily fined for the "obstruction of governmental affairs." For the villagers, the naval base threatens to disrupt not only the reef ecosystem, and the way of life by elderly haenyo (women divers), but to destroy the social fabric of the village, recalling the scars of the Korean War and Jeju’s treatment during that period. While the ostensible justification for the base is the North Korean threat, the implications for a shifting geopolitical balance in the region is that the US would gain access to a base in proximity to China.
For Docu Jam Gangjeong, eight independent filmmakers in South Korea responded to the situation by making short films about the people’s struggle over the course of 100 days. The filmmakers present an array of stories from their time living among the villagers and capturing the beauty of the threatened coastline.