Asian Cinema Fund 2018

2017 Asian Network of Documentary (AND) Fund

Project Dear My Genius
Category BIFF Mecenat Fund
Project Dear My Genius
Director KOO Yunjoo
Country South Korea
Director's Profile KOO YoonJu was born in Incheon, South Korea. She was a gifted child in science inventing robots, but ended up studying English Literature and Communication in college. She is 16 years apart from her little sister. Taking care of her little sister’s education, her interest in the field of education grew. She worked in the programming team at Seoul International Youth Film Festival for 2 years and worked as a director and cinematographer for a documentary project Why We Have to Go to University for college student at EBS (Korean National Education Broadcast) in 2014. Dear My Genius is her feature debut film.
There are three genius-related women in my family; Genius maker, Genius wannabe, and an Ex-genius. I’m the Ex-genius who used to study science and as a teenager participated in the NASA camp in the U.S. That’s all in the past now; I became the typical example of a slacker with a quarter-life crisis now. My little sister, the Genius wannabe, lives a busy life filled with extra classes Monday to Friday. The Genius maker is my mom, the motivator of our family. She is a veteran mother, but the result of all her previous efforts with me confuses her. As a person who experienced the rigorous education system firsthand, I have many things to tell them. I try to save my family from its obsession with educational success. Sometimes I am frustrated by a truth that I can never deny: every mother wants their child to live a better life than they themselves did, and that’s why my mom pushes her baby daughter. I wonder why all mothers and kids are not happy to live a ‘non-guaranteed better life’.
Director's Note
The future that my little sister wants is a ‘successful life’ after becoming a gifted child and doing extra studying. That was what I wanted, too. But so far, having that title as a gifted child did not necessarily add up to the success that I wanted. Also I learned that being ‘successful’ does not always mean a happy, rosy life. I started to think about my own definition of a happy life when I escaped the big education system. In Korea, everything is about competition and being better than everyone else. It’s just about surviving in a jungle. But if everyone wants a ‘happy life’ in the end, there is a need for a serious consideration about the education today, because it makes people feel numb about how to really live one’s life to the fullest. If I can share my story as well as my family’s story, and the stories of my friends, I think it can help change what the educational system in Korea has forgotten or simply ignored about. This, I believe, can contribute to facilitating for the next generation to dream a happier future.
Still Cut