Screening of Kimjongilia disrupted in Seoul!

An outdoor screening of Kimjongilia (2010) was disrupted numerous times last Monday by 4,000 liberal opposition protestors outside of Seoul City Hall.

The screening was put together by South Korean university students trying to encourage citizens to save prisoners out of the North Korean prison camps.  Some prisoners in particular that the students were protesting for the North Korean government to bring back is Shin Sook-ja and her daughters, who had been imprisoned there after moving there (to receive “free medical care,” which they were told as lies).

Kimjongilia is a documentary that tells the story of 12 North Korean defectors before and after they had escaped from from Kim Jong-Il’s dictatorship.  I got the pleasure of meeting N.c. Heikin, the lovely director of the film in New York earlier this month.  I had been wanting to meet her ever since I found out about the film, which traveled the film festival circuit from 2009 to 2010 (World Premiere was at Sundance).

The protestors at the screening tried to stop the screening by throwing water bottles at the outdoor screen and at the people who were supporting the event.  By the third attempt to screen Kimjongilia, one of the protestors cut the electricity supplying power to the projector.  They are still investigating the exact reason behind why the protestors decided to interrupt the screening, (which had been planned months ahead) but an article in the Joongang Daily News states that the brawl that occurred that night is living proof of the contrasting views of North Korea that still exists in South Korea today.

When told about the protest that occurred, Heikin responded on Facebook, “This is really incredible. I hope no one was hurt. I am amazed that so many more people would support KJI then condemn him. Unbelievable.”

Though chaos broke out, I give much praise and love to the 7 passionate souls who fought to expose the truth and harsh conditions that prisoners live through in North Korea and to N.c. Heikin for moving the hearts of people living thousands of miles away.  If anything, this ruckus has encouraged to open more dialogue about the film and the issues of the prison camps, right?

Sources:

http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2940613

http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2011/08/22/2011082200118.html?outlink=facebook

“Drive safe friends / make lots of good films…”

were the last words I heard from Graham Leggat.

I’m truly sad to say that Graham passed away two nights ago at the age of 51 after battling cancer for 18 months.  He was the executive director at the San Francisco Film Society and a dear friend.  I don’t get along with and like everybody I meet, but Graham’s genuine passion for life, a sense of community, and people were so transparent that I found myself falling under the spell of Leggat… which turned into a short but unforgettable friendship.  He has supported Mike, me, and the whole LiTTLEROCK crew so much with our journey the past year.

We miss him so much…

and we will do just what his last statement said to do: keep making films while embracing every day as a precious gift.

There will be a memorial service held for him in San Francisco at the end of September, and his farewell letter to the public when he announced his departure from the Film Society can be read at sffs.org.

Condolences can be sent to: inmemoryofgraham@sffs.org or c/o Jessica Anthony, SFFS, 39 Mesa Street, Suite 110, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129.

Cat Lovers, New York Singers/Dancers, and San Francisco Indie Film Supporters:

Some announcements I’d like to make:

1.  My friend Anais Hinojosa is looking for a home for her cat.  Her landlady just gave warning of eviction if the cat is not gone within a week.  If anybody is interested of or knows anybody who can care for a cat, let me know at atsuko.okatsuka@gmail.com.  If you know of a cat pound that doesn’t exterminate, that information would be greatly appreciated as well.

2. Calling San Francisco!

Mye Hoang’s (Artistic Director at San Diego Asian Film Foundation) boyfriend, filmmaker Dave Boyle is looking for extras to be in his new film (sequel to Surrogate Valentine) tomorrow at the Roxie Theater from 11 am- 5 pm.  If you’re in the area and have time during those hours, they could really use the help!  Just show up at the theater.  There are some parts that they’ll be assigning to people as well if interested.

3.  Calling New York!

My talented friend Ayana Hampton has brought her musical/theater/dance show (THE MORNING AFTER SHOW) to New York, which will be showcased from September 11-18 and she still needs dancers/singers (male and female).  If you’re interested in performing and being seen at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, (where the show will premiere) contact Ayana at ayanalive@gmail.com.

Information about tickets can be found here: http://www.nuyorican.org/calendar.php

Thanks all!

Atsy

Filmmaker Magazine Shows Love

By  in News
on Friday, August 12th, 2011

Tonight at the HSBC offices in midtown was the IFP’s Independent Film Week launch party. Attending were participating filmmakers, several of our 25 New Faces, and many folks from the New York production community. But flying in from L.A. were Mike Ott and Atsuko Okatsuka, whose Littlerock — winner of the Filmmaker-sponsored “Best Film at a Theater Playing Near You” Gotham Award — premieres today at Cinema Village. Read Ray Pride on the movie here, and then check out the film. It’s highly recommended.

Free North Korea!

I’m hosting this event taking place next Sunday, August 21st.  If you’re just going to lounge around that night, come to this free screening!

Email me if you have any questions:  atsuko.okatsuka@gmail.com