Korean Film Festival Canada: Exploring sleep, dreams, and the body

A look inside the Montréal-based, non-profit and artist-driven Arts East West’s annual gathering for films, media arts, and more from Korean, Asian Canadian, pan-Asian and Asian diasporic artists.

Rachel Cheng

Rachel Cheng

May 28, 2024- Read time: 3 min
Korean Film Festival Canada: Exploring sleep, dreams, and the bodyJenny Lin, one of the artists whose work can be found at the 11th edition of the Korean Film Festival Canada. | Photograph: Rachel Holly Cheng / @rachelhollycheng

It’s been over a hundred years since film has become a medium to record slices of life, draw audiences into stories, and capture our imagination.

Today, moving images are all around us: on our social media feeds, ads while waiting for the metro, and on the screens we split between work and leisure. At its most banal, it’s a cat video on our phone, and its most poignant, it’s moving images that translate unspoken corners of our psyche.  

This idea of film as an extension of the body and a medium for expressing interiority are behind this year’s Korean Film Festival Canada (KFFC). Hosted in collaboration with McGill’s Moving Image Research Lab’s project, Sociability of Sleep, the theme is “Arts & Technologies: Sleep, Dream, and Body.”

Running from May 22-31, 2024 across multiple locations in Montreal, the festival features a variety of current and past films from Korean and pan-Asian filmmakers in Canada. This year, the festival has launched a series of multidisciplinary events that go outside of celluloid and include a workshop and networking event for Asian Canadian artists and a zine workshop.

Video: Rachel Holly Cheng / @rachelhollycheng

Translating dreams into paper

On May 28 from 1 to 5 p.m., the KFFC team is collaborating with artist Jenny Lin and Sociability of Sleep to host a workshop called Dreamzine. Taking place at the Plateau feminist art centre, Ada X, the workshop invites attendees of all backgrounds and experiences to share their dreams—literally, like the kind that happens during the third of our life we spend sleeping. 

Jenny Lin has been intrigued by sleep and how dreams often don’t make sense but can be so powerful, so much that we may feel compelled to talk about them or deduce their meaning. During the beginning of the pandemic, they put together a series of comics depicting dreams that they had, which was published into a book called Pandemic Dreams.

Jenny Lin. | Photograph: Rachel Holly Cheng / @rachelhollycheng

During the workshop, Jenny will lead participants through a process of dream recall, writing, drawing exercises, and then making their own mini zine. The event is free and those interested can register online.

Photograph: Rachel Holly Cheng / @rachelhollycheng

Films from Asian filmmakers

Of course, the KFFC also features a series of screenings, including The Pregnant Tree and the Goblin (2019) by newer filmmakers Kim Dongryung and Park Kyoungtae, and established director Jeong Jae-eun’s Take Care of My Cat (2001). 

Highlighting Asian films since 1996

The KFFC was founded in 1996 by Mi-Jeong Lee to celebrate and share films of Korean and other Asian-identifying filmmakers. Over the years, the festival has worked with institutions like the MOMA in New York, the Smithsonian Museum, the Jeonju International Film Festival, the Canadian Film Institute, and the Cinémathèque Québécoise.

The KFFC explores different themes each year, with the mission of strengthening cultural diversity and giving space to voices that are often not at the table when we’re talking about Canadian film or film in general.

Volunteers at the KFFC. | Photograph: Rachel Holly Cheng / @rachelhollycheng

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