From tragedy to Fiesta : DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

Leading documentary festival in Asia, The DMZ Docs is promoting the message of peace through the artistic but honest lens of a documentary.

North and SouthKorea are separated by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which acts as a buffer zone between both nations. Even though it is a popular tourist area, it has been a symbol of the war that separated the two nations. In hopes to inspire peace, Gyeonggi Province, Paju and Goyang came together to establish the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival.
Proclaiming the message of “Peace, Life, and Communication” this festival was created to transform the DMZ from a symbol of conflict and division, to one of hope and peace. Due to the history of the DMZ, there is no better location for promoting the message of peace through featuring human stories through the artistic but honest lens of a documentary.
The screenings are open to the public, along with a variety of performances and educational programs to further allow more visibility into the documentary film-making industry.
The DMZ International Documentary Film Festival has grown into a leading documentary festival in Asia, by not only screening documentaries, but also by supporting endeavours like planning, development, and post-production with subsidies for up and coming filmmakers.  The Planning and Development Fund selects Korean and Asian projects in the planning and development stage to support (up to 20 documentary projects), paving the way for Korean and Asian productions to build their quality.

History
The DMZ International Documentary Film Festival, also known as DMZ Docs, was launched on October 22-26, 2009 and screened 74 films from 35 countries. DMZ Docs showcased the latest domestic and international documentaries in the competitive and non-competitive categories.
Participation from local and international documentary filmmakers has continued to increase every year. Since its inception, the event has grown and garnered more international interest, with the 11th edition of the show screening 151 films from 46 countries.
Korea Docs Night on 11th DMZ Docs
Program
The programs consist of various categories of competition, International, Asian, Korean, Short and Youth categories. Other parts of the program focus on special awards for outstanding documentaries. In the international category, the issues tackled by the documentaries are so versatile, from the mundane to the truly shocking cases of human suffering.
The Korean category presents documentaries dealing with various aspects of the Korean culture and society. Subjects dealing with problems in the socio-economic level, minorities, multicultural families, environment and tragic accidents. There is also a special section presenting documentaries about North Korea, North Korean refugees, their lives and stories of conflict, peace and hope.
The Asian documentaries category includes documentaries from Asian filmmakers, aiming to bridge the cultural gap and promote better understanding and insight into the diverse cultures.
After the festival, DMZ Docs also holds more free public screenings of the documentaries throughout the Gyeonggi Province, Paju and Goyang, to encourage growth within the community, and promote its message of “Peace, Life and Communication''.

Jury
The 1st edition of DMZ Docs featured three members of the jury on their panel and with the increase of categories and awards, the jury group has increased to reflect the event’s growth. The 11th edition had three jury members per category namely International, Asian, Korean, Short and Special awards categories. The diverse jury consists of Korean and international film-makers, industry experts, documentary production and distribution company owners etc. who make the selections of the winning documentaries.

Awards
Awards are bestowed upon the winning documentary in their specific competition category. The 1st edition of DMZ Docs only included the White Goose Award, Special Jury Award, Audience Award and Jury special mention awards. As the event progressed in the last decade, more awards categories were added to match the ever growing documentary participation from all over the world.

     Grand Prize/ White Goose Award (Cash prize - 15 Million KRW) : Awarded to the best film in the International Competition category.
     Special Jury Award  (Cash prize - 7 Million KRW and trophy) : Awarded to  the second best film in the International Competition category.
     Asian Perspective Award (Cash prize - 10 Million KRW) : Awarded to  the best film in the Asian Competition category.
     Best Korean Documentary Award (Cash prize - 10 Million KRW) : Awarded to the best film in the Korean Competition category.
     Special Jury Award : Korean Competition Category (Cash prize - 5 Million KRW) : Awarded to the second best film in the Korean Competition category.
     ADF Feature Documentary Award (Cash prize - 10 Million KRW) : Awarded to a feature film dedicated to the expression of the Korean culture or multicultural society in the (International/Asian/Korean) Competition category.
     ADF Short Documentary Award (Cash prize - 5 Million KRW each) : Awarded to two short films in the Asian and Korean competition category.
     Youth Competition: Best Youth Documentary Award (Cash prize - 1 Million KRW each) : Awarded to best creative and exceptional movies in the youth films category.
     Brave New Docs Award (Cash prize - 3  Million KRW) : Awarded to a Korean document with an excellent theme.
     Beautiful New Docs Award (Cash prize - 3  Million KRW) : Awarded to a Korean documentary with excellent aesthetics and visuals.
     Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award (Cash prize - 3  Million KRW) : Awarded  to a Korean documentary with a new perspective.
     Audience Award (Cash prize - 3  Million KRW) : Awarded to a favourite film selected by the audience.
     DMZ Arts Contribution Award (Cash prize - 500,000 KRW) : Awarded to an artist whose Korean film was chosen for its achievements in various categories.
Increasing popularity of DMZ Docs 
11th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival: Continuous Growth
DMZ Docs have initiated many platforms to help the documentary industry’s growth. With the DMZ Docs Pitch, DMZ Docs assists up and coming documentary projects with production and investment opportunities, creating a platform for them to pitch their projects. DMZ Docs Match is a business meeting platform which organized 1:1 meetings to connect the industry key players and bolster the documentary industry and productions in Asia.

DMZ Docs has also created another platform, DMZ-POV to enable critics to voice their opinions on the screening documentaries.

DMZ International Documentary Film Festival has launched educational programs 'DMZ Todak Todak for Youth' and 'Youth Documentary Production Workshop for Youth' catering to youths who wish to hone their skills as a future documentary director.


The 12th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival is scheduled for September 17-24 2020. [Check out more details on the offical DMZ Docs website]

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Gyeonggido-Korea (경기도): From tragedy to Fiesta : DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
From tragedy to Fiesta : DMZ International Documentary Film Festival
Leading documentary festival in Asia, The DMZ Docs is promoting the message of peace through the artistic but honest lens of a documentary.
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