[Consumerwide_Jinil, Kang Reporter / Yohan, Bok Reporter] Some films do not only touch us, but also tell us things we are not aware of or blinded to, and propose us particular directions. Sura, whose documentary film will be released in the coming June, seems to be in such a category. This film calls out to see "the beauty of coexistence", which means protecting the environment and life is just as important as protecting our life by telling the story of 'Sura mudflat', the last mudflat of the Saemangeum mudflats. It is one of the best films of all time for ethical, eco-friendly consumers with consumption-values.
On April 25th 2023, the premier of the documentary film Sura (director Hwang Yoon) was held at the Daehan Theater in Chungmuro, Seoul. It was hosted by the Seoul branch of the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union(KTU) and the 'Hwang-young-gwa Saeng-myoung-eul Ji-ki-neun Gyo-sa-mo-im' (this meeting takes a part in the environmental subcommittee of KTU, which means: 'a group of teachers, who protect the environment and life'.)
The film, Sura, covers issues of the mudflat, which is going through changes caused by the Saemangeum project, which is known as one of the largest development projects since Tangun (Go-joseon), and the ecosystem in the area. Earlier, the director Hwang had given up making a documentary film about mudflats. Later on, he gets to meet Dongpil Oh, an ordinary carpenter, who has been observing birds in the Sura mudflat area and recording them, by chance. Director Hwang starts to take images on camera of a snipe, a black-haired seagull, and a white-footed farmer crab that miraculously survived in the dry Sura mudflat, with Oh Dong-pil and his undergraduate son, Oh Seung-joon. Hwang discovers hope that the mudflat is not over yet, and it has a potential to restoration in the filming process. So, he appeals for restoration of hope in a gentle yet powerful way.
During talks with audiences on that day, which was taken after the film premiere, director Hwang shared the backgrounds of this film production.
"I was almost forgetting the film tape which I took decades ago full of enthusiasm for Saemangeum. Just like a twist of fate, there were plenty of street signs with Saemangeum (Saemangeum 00) on them when I moved to Gunsan. I felt almost running away questioning about why I moved. But then, one day, I met Oh Dongpil by divine providence. When I first spoke to him over the phone, he introduced himself as a bird-watcher in a mudflat. When I asked him which mudflats are still remaining and if any birds have survived, he answered that there are mudflats, and birds are coming. Then, he told me to come and check them out myself.
In October, 2015, when I went to Sura mudflat, I saw a globally endangered species, a spoonbill. It would still have been surprising to me even if there was one single of them survived. Nevertheless, miraculously, I found myself watching 150 of them chasing after fishes. A thousand emotions had crossed my mind. I was regretful about how I'd been trying to forget about them while they were surviving on their own. I had mixed feelings of sorry, gratefulness, and hope thinking about the local citizens. Ordinary people without much money, had been pouring out their own expenses to record the story remaining in the area. Without hesitation, I immediately started filming. At that time, I didn't think it would take seven years. After all, it became a film."
And "I think culture and art are completely competent as educational materials. That's because, through the film, it can demonstrate the beauty and vitality of a mudflat in a very realistic way. I hope many people will come to watch the film 'Sura' for the sake of life restoration. Saving a mudflat leads to saving us, humans. I perceive that it becomes beautiful only when nature and humans coexist."
Meanwhile, the film 'Sura' will be officially released to theaters on June 21, 2023. Prior to this, director Hwang Yoon is raising funds to screen in more theaters, up to 100 theaters. It is to stand against the reality of independent art films, which in films are uneasy to hold even a few theaters.