This summer reserved something special for me. Right when everyone was waiting for the schools and universities to close so that they can run to the beach, I couldn’t wait for my next big trip to Korea.
Whenever someone asks me about the chances the Olympia International film festival and Camera Zizanio have given me, I always start my narration from 2005, when Kalman Czibolya invited me to the “Zoom to Europe and the world” festival in Hungary. That was when together with other people from our festival I met among others the Korean director and professor Wangtae Lim.
And here we are today, after 2 invitations in the past which I couldn’t accept, I said “yes” for DINFAC 2012, taking place in the DIMA university of South Korea.
I might have had the luck to take part in many festivals so far, but this was the first time I traveled so far away. One interesting detail is that not only was I flying on my own, but I was also the only Greek to be there. Of course that was not something to discourage me, on the contrary I got even more excited by the idea of cooperating exclusively with people with different nationalities to mine.
After spending many hours on the plane, I got transferred from the airport to the student dormitories in DIMA by two volunteers from the university. There, the first person I saw was professor Wangtae Lim, who had been waiting for years to meet me in his country instead of somewhere in Europe, where we always met. From that moment and on, I started meeting so many people: from England, California, Australia, Thailand, China, Vietnam and, of course, Korea.
The festival’s schedule had a specific structure, which made it pretty demanding regarding time and energy. From the very first day we were separated into groups of approximately 6 people, together with a Korean group leader for everything we would need in terms of technical help, gear and Korean language of course! After taking some direction, shooting and editing lessons and being given the needed equipment, each group had 2 days to make a short film, about three minutes long.
I got even more excited after the competition results came out, since our group managed to get the first prize in the international films category with the film “Long Haul”. And, frankly, that was the best piece of work I have personally done during all these years. I would never say it was because we had the best scenario or because we were smarter than others. In fact, every single film was totally admirable. I do believe, however, I was pretty lucky to be in this group and cooperate with those teammates. Not only were they all very talented, but there was also some sort of strong bonding between us. During the whole week, there hadn’t been a single moment that someone felt superior to others or we quarreled. We were always together, a strong and happy team, from the beginning till the end. And at this point I would like to thank all of them: Ben, Geo, Cassandra, Dong and of course our group leader who we used to call “Jack” (it was his idea introducing himself like that so that we don’t get all messed up with the Korean names).
I definitely owe a big “thank you” to the Olympia International film festival and Camera Zizanio, once more, for two main reasons this time. One, of course, is that without the chances they have given me, I would have never been able to experience all I have, make friendships all over the world and be invited to Korea. Reason number two, is for the knowledge I have conquered. On the one hand, my interest and curiosity for the world of film making and on the other Zizanio News, a workshop I have been helping with for years, made me learn a lot, theoretically and practically on every different stage of film – making. That was something I already knew, but in Korea, where all other participants were students in film or art schools, I realized I was capable of doing what everyone else could do, too.
Finally, I cannot help but mention the director of “Skopelos foundation for the Arts”, Jill Somer (who I had worked with in the past), since she was the one who came in contact with DIMA and thought it would be a good opportunity for me to go. Unfortunately, given the hard times Greece is going through, no other student from the Skopelos film festival was able to join us.
So that was my experience from DINFAC 2012 and my first trip to Korea, which, as a country, took me by surprise – in a very good way. This is something that also suits the perfectly arranged daily schedule we had, since everyone was punctual and the volunteers willing to help the participants were amazing. I wish other kids, younger than me, with love for cinematography, also go through such amazing experience. Why not in Korea. Besides, a piece of advice I would like to give, especially to the parents, is that they have nothing to be afraid of: we are all a big family. Our Festival’s family.
Thank you Mr Nikos, thank you Wangtae.
Best International Film DINFAC 2012