Jeju Special Self-Governing Province has completed producing the video archives on the life history of Jeju women, created for Jeju women’s cultural content development project, and started broadcasting them on terrestrial television.
From August 19th through the end of October, Jeju Province is broadcasting Jeju Women: Her Story, a documentary about the lives of 10 Jeju women in their 80s, on Jeju MBC.
The documentary features the lives of next-door neighbors who strived to fulfill their roles in their respective fields and became the foundation for community development in the middle of Korea’s turbulent modern history.
It embodies the lives of women in their 80s who were born during the Japanese colonial period, experienced the April 3 Incident, overcame poverty, and spent their middle age as leaders of educating children and developing Jeju.
Director Koh Heeyoung, the interviewer of the documentary, is a Jeju native and became well known as the director of the award-winning film Breathing Underwater at the 17th Jeonju International Film Festival. In these short autobiographical videos of Jeju women, director Koh captures how they overcame the limitations of the times by tracing their dramatic lives in Jeju with her delicate perspective.
As a Jeju woman herself, director Koh has met and recorded the lives of many Jeju women, making her the perfectly qualified moderator for this production. She also had a direct hand in the process of recruiting the10 Jeju women. She took up the role to listen closely to their stories and bring out what they had inside. Koh’s presence was absolutely critical to recreating the life of Jeju women in short 10-minute videos. As she met the women and listened to their stories, she looked into how their lives unfolded.
“Through asking common questions, I tried to find out what was shared between the lives of Jeju women. I’m trying to figure out ‘how’ their lives became what they were. The questions I asked were ‘If there is a time machine, would you want to go back to the future and why?’ and ‘When do you feel that you have the DNA as a Jeju woman?’ When I asked those questions, they gave me great answers and made me realize that all this hard work is worth it.”
Her work has been highly praised for interpreting the historical and social significance of their lives and raising awareness on gender equality in accordance with the project’s intention.
The Jeju women for autobiographical videos were selected in consideration of regionality, rarity, diversity, and age by an expert TF team. By region, there are six residents from Jeju-si, including Jocheon-eup, Aewol-eup, and Gujwa-eup, and four from Seogwipo-si, including Namwon-eup and Jungmun-dong.
They had a wide variety of occupational backgrounds as well, such as a nurse practitioner, a chang/minyo singer, a market merchant, a master craftswoman of Jeju green soybean paste, a veteran from the Marine Corps, a 4·3 survivor, a farmer in the middle-mountainous region, and a haenyeo.
“The life of Jeju women will present ways to make the world a better place,” said Lee Hyun-suk, director of Jeju’s gender equality policy. “I have all the respect for Jeju women who have struggled fiercely throughout their lives,” she added.
The 10-minute documentaries will be aired 10 times every Thursday night at 11:20 pm.
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