WINNER – Best Feature-Length Documentary - IDFA, 2011
In cinemas 22 June 2012 in the UK, Q&A with Yi Seung-Jun on June 23
"An elegant and moving documentary... a real joy" Screen Daily
Yi Seung-Jun's second feature "Planet of Snail", which won the prestigious Best Feature Length Documentary prize at IDFA, is a lyrical and gentle story that deftly touches on the world of disability. Out in UK cinemas 22 June 2012 courtesy of Dogwoof, "Planet of Snail" is an unique, refreshing, often funny film that demystifies what life means for people who live with physical impairments.
The film focuses on the relationship between Young-Chan (Jo Yeong-chan) who is deaf-blind and describes himself as a 'snail' because he only uses his tactile senses and his wife Soon-Ho (Kim Soon-ho) who has a spinal injury. They communicate by touch – gently tapping on each other's fingers, and navigate the trials of daily life with slow, tender shared experiences; the changing of a light bulb is an hour-long, methodical process. But Young-Chan and Soon-Ho will not be together forever and she will not always be there as his eyes and ears to the world, the couple needs to learn the painful process of navigating life without each other.
Young-Chan comes from the "Planet of Snail". Dwellers of this tiny planet are deaf and blind, and call themselves 'snails' because they rely only on their tactile senses, and communicating by touch.
When Young-Chan came to Earth, there was nothing Earth offered him. Worse was that nobody understood his language. When he was desperate, an angel walked into his life. Soon-Ho is a woman who knows what loneliness is about and where Young-Chan's deeply rooted pain comes from. She soon becomes an inseparable part of his life. She is a wife, a soul mate and a window and a bridge to the world for him. Each mundane moment of every routine day becomes tender shared experiences whether it be the hour-long process of changing a simple light bulb, hugging trees and smelling pine cones on the threshold of spring, or the feeling of raindrops landing on the skin. Young-Chan also discovers an amazing world under his fingers. Since he learned to read books with braille, hopes and dreams began to grow in Young-Chan's heart. He dreams of writing a book. However, Soon-Ho worries about Young-Chan's future because she cannot always be there for him as she is suffering from her own problem of spine disability. The couple now needs to learn how to survive alone. While Soon-Ho uneasily spends her first day alone waiting for his return, Young-Chan goes out for the biggest adventure of his life.
Book your tickets at ICA, http://www.ica.org.uk/33196/Film/Planet-of-Snail.html
Jo Yeong-chan (Featured Talent)
My name is Young-Chan and I am deaf and blind. Luckily, I was not born like this. I was able to learn to speak and remember what I have seen before I lost vision and hearing. Unlike many of my handicapped friends, I refuse to be satisfied with what life I have been given. I believe I must have a lot of potentials not discovered yet. My dream is to write a book that no one has ever written before: A snail's encyclopaedia-the world through the eyes of a blind and deaf man
Soon-Ho is my wife. I haven't actually seen her with my own eyes but I know she is the most beautiful woman in the world. She has become my lifeline ever since she came into my life. She is my arms and legs that take me to school, to the gym, to the sea and everywhere I want to go. She is the eye and the ear of me that sees, hears and translates for me. I cannot live a day without her and feel sorry for that I cannot do much for her while herself has spine disability and often gets sick.
I come from planet of snail where people communicate by touching each other. We call ourselves "snails" because we cannot hear or see and our lives are as slow as the snails. Now I live on earth where time runs so fast which makes me hard to follow the life of the earthmen. When I first came to the earth, I was desperate because there was nothing I could do. However, an angel came into my life and I discovered a beautiful world that I can read under my fingers. Everything around me started changing. Hopes started replacing despairs and I started challenging for my long delayed dream. Now my heart is full of hope and I know there will be so much more I can do in this world: The reason for my life.
Yi Seung-Jun is one of Korea's emerging directors in the world documentary scene. Among a dozen TV length documentaries and shorts, Seung-Jun directed "Children of god" (2008), a story about the children living in the crematorium of Nepal, which has travelled the world including Hotdocs and is being distributed worldwide. His interest in filmmaking has always focused on the life of, so called the unseen minorities, which has become his signature style of filmmaking. With his new feature length documentary 'Planet of Snail' Seung-Jun teamed up with world class creative talents from literally all over the world including a Lebanese editor and a Finnish sound designer let alone the international funders and broadcasters. Yi's experiments on this ambitious project in every aspect of filmmaking broadened his view on documentary as a filmmaker.
Kim Min-Chul was born into a family that runs a record shop, a video rental store, and a photo shop altogether in a-bit-of-everything store in a small village of Korea. Thanks to the rich cultural environment of the family business, the country boy spent his teenage with American pops and Hong Kong noir films while watching his father developing black and white negatives in his kitchen turned dark room. He worked for film and TV productions to survive whilst living in Amsterdam studying communication management. After a number of jobs including party promoter, literary agent and running a one-man production, he is now an independent producer based in Seoul and Amsterdam while mixing and crossing not only genres but also media and industries. Min-Chul's producer filmography includes Park Bong-Nam's 2009 IDFA mid-length competition winner "Iron Crows".
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