Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2014 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Life as a Stranger
Category BIFF Mecenat Fund
Project Life as a Stranger
Director KIM Sung-min
Country Korea
Director's Profile Kim Sung-min majored in documentary film direction at Korea National University of Arts. From 2012 to March 2014, he worked as assistant director on Wind on the Moon, the latest film by director Lee Seung-joon, who directed Planet of Snail (2012). Since the autumn of 2013, Kim has been working on Life as a Stranger, the director's first feature documentary, by meeting with parents of and organizations related to missing children.
When a child goes missing, everything eventually becomes the responsibility of the parents. Since his daughter, Jun-won, went missing on April 4, 2000, Choi Yong-jin has kept his own records of the investigation. This year, Yong-jin resolves to do everything he can to get to the bottom of this missing person case, first by meeting again with his daughter's friend, the last person to see her, and listening to the friend's memories of the day Jun-won disappeared. Meanwhile, Jeon Gil-ja has been searching for her missing son for 41 years. After a major blow-up with her second son who is in long-time discord with her and who wants her to stop looking for his older brother, she accompanies the National Police Agency's regular missing persons search team, despite her son's efforts to dissuade her from doing so. While chasing after tips and related witnesses, all connected to his investigation notes, Yong-jin feels helpless, as if he will never find the truth about Jun-won's disappearance. One weekend, Yong-jin hikes up a mountain in his hometown, Seorak-myeon, where he always used to hike with Jun-won when they wanted to spend some peaceful time together. On that day, he receives a call from someone. It's a call from a parent of a recently missing child, asking for Yong-jin's help.
Director's Note
Would the world take notice of us if even more children went missing? A mother has been looking for her missing son for 41 years, and a father has chased after the traces of his missing daughter for the past 14 years. The world considers cases of missing children to be a misfortune that does not easily happen, and brands the lives of parents who refuse to give up on their children as being full of false hope. But, with unimaginable effort, such parents live on, on the edge of despair, and keep going for the sake of their missing children. This documentary shows the lives of parents who gradually become isolated from the world as they search for years for their missing loved ones. It also attempts to face up to the problem of missing children, which our society has neglected for too long.
Still Cut