Silk Screen is proud to announce the winner of the RAGS Foundation People’s Choice Award for the 2013 Film Festival. It is Two Weddings and Funeral(South Korea).
The People’s Choice Award is sponsored by the RAGS Foundation, which is a non-profit organization started by Sridhar and Gunjan Tayur.
All films [except opening, closing night, and short films] were eligible to win the prize.
First Place Winner: Two Weddings and a Funeral
South Korea, 2012
Directed by:Kim Jho Gwang-Soo
Starring: Kim Dong Yoon-I, Ryu Hyeon-kyeong, Jeong Ae-Yeon
Awards and Screenings: Busan International Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival
Two Weddings and a Funeral’sdirector, Kim Jho Gwang-soo, is one of South Korea’s few openly gay public figures, and uses his films as a platform to explore the lives of gay individuals in a society that largely frowns upon same-sex relationships. Kim uses his 2012 production to follows the life of the painfully shy, gay doctor Min Soo’s relationship with his partner, Suk, as they try to hide their relationship from family members and friends while still maintaining their love for one another. But the director doesn’t just follow male same-sex relationships, but also delves into the daily life of a gay female obstetrician – Hyo Jin – who works in the same hospital as Min-Soo. Like Min Soo, Hyo-Jin also has trouble reconciling her sexuality with Korean society, especially as she and her partner (played by Jeong) desire to adopt a son. In order to hide their sexuality and fulfill Hyo-Jin’s desire for a son, Hyo-Jin and Min-Soo marry, with plenty of antics and poignancy blended into later scenes. Close to the film’s end, a good friend of Min-soo’s is discriminated against because of his sexuality, leading Min-soo (and the audience) to wonder – does happiness and acceptance mean that you must live a lie?
A truly revolutionary film, Kim Jho Gwang-soo’s Two Weddings and a Funeral encourages not only acceptance of homosexuality in a largely disapproving global society, but offers a model from which people can learn to love themselves and others for who they are.
Second Place Winner: The Thieves
South Korea, 2012
Directed by:Choi Dong-Hoon
Starring:Kim Yeon Seok, Lee Jung-jae, Kim Hae-sook, Jun Ji-hyun
Awards and Festivals: Hawaii International Film Festival, Hae-suk Kim won Best Supporting Actress at the Grand Bell Awards (Korea’s Oscars)
Coupling high comedy with elements of Ocean’s Eleven and Reservoir Dogs, Choi Dong-Hoon’s The Thieves follows an eclectic group of cat burglars and upper-echelon thieves as they attempt to steal a diamond necklace from or a Macau casino. Along with the diamond heist plot, Choi interspersed the narrative with a reunion of ex-lovers and ex-partners in crime; a mother-daughter duo who are polar opposites; and a mysterious gangster known for doing away with all who cross him. As with any good caper film, the players’ individual agendas and betrayals lead to a series of hilarious antics, and leave the audience wondering just who will get away with the diamond necklace.
Honorable Mention: Foreign Letters
USA, Israel, Vietnam, 2012
Directed by:Ela Thier
Starring:Noa Rotstein, Dalena Le, Jade Gurman-Chan, Daniel Bahr
Festivals and Awards:Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival ( 2013), Utopia Jewish Center, Rosh-Pina Cinematheque, Nasville International Film Festival, Busan International Children’s Festival
Set in the United States in the 1980’s, Ela Their’s Foreign Letters is a semi-autobiographical account of two girls – Ellie, whose family fled from Israel, and Thuy, a Vietnamese refugee – whose shared backgrounds and mutual desire for friendship lead to a deep bond. Yet as the girls grow older and try to adjust to life in the United States, their friendship begins to fray – Thuy focuses more on her academic studies, and Ellie interprets this as Thuy purposefully distancing herself from Ellie. After the relationship reaches its nadir, Ellie realizes that she must find her own path in life and accept herself for who she is, allowing her to finally reconcile her friendship with Thuy. In the film’s final scenes, as we see Ellie writing a letter to an old friend in Israel, the audience is left with a simple yet poignant message– nothing can tear apart true friendship. Not only does the film explores the issues faced by immigrants adjusting to a new lifestyle and culture, Ela Thier’s Foreign Letters is an innovative coming-of-age story and a testimony to human goodness and friendship.