▲ Seated from left, Park Chong Won, Ahn Sung Ki, and Shin Young Kyun, speaking with students in the auditorium of Namwon Elementary School, on July 29. Photo by Kim Hyo Jeong
Though small, Namwon Elementary School dreams big and is nurturing its students to do the same. Some may even become movie directors and film stars.
The Dream Tree Film Art Camp, which was designed to provide cultural experiences to elementary school students during summer break, was held from July 27 to 30 at Namwon Elementary School, in Seogwipo City. The camp was hosted as a collaboration between the Shin Young Kyun Arts & Culture Foundation and Korea National University of Arts (KARTS).
Throughout the four-day camp, 65 students learned to write scripts, use cameras, scout for locations, design, and the art of the movie poster, all with the purpose of creating their own films. In six teams, the students shot music videos, melodramas, horror shorts, and even documentaries and commercials.
And on the final day of the camp all their hard work was screened for local residents.
The Shin Young Kyun Arts & Culture Foundation, which was established on a 50 billion won (US$44 million) donation from famed Korean film actor Shin and opened Oct. 5, 2011, helped create this camp to foster the love of film with younger generations.
“The purpose of the foundation is to find talented movie industry workers and inspire children to be creative,” said camp coordinator Yoo Sung Hee. “In that sense, Dream Tree Film Art Camp is most suited to the vision of the foundation.”
On July 29, the third day of the camp, actors Shin Young Kyun, Ahn Sung Ki, and Park Chong Won visited Namwon Elementary School.
“Creativity is the key to every single job in the 21st century,” Ahn Sung Ki, the foundation’s executive director and celebrated Korean actor, told The Weekly. “I know that not all students will work in the movie industry ... I just hope that the students improve their creativity by working together as friends.”
▲ Hands on filmmaking class. Photo by Kim Hyo Jeong
▲ Photo by Kim Hyo Jeong
In 2008, as part of a central government initiative, Namwon Elementary School was designated as an “Art Flower Seed School” by the Korea Arts & Culture Education Service, and has received 100 million won every year since to add any particular art form to their curriculum. Namwon chose film.
And their decision has paid off. In the past three years, Namwon Elementary School has been awarded the grand prize at the Korea Youth Film Festival twice, in 2009 and 2011. Yoo said that the foundation selected Namwon Elementary School for this project because of its passion towards film and the fact that it has overcome its geographical isolation to pursue the craft.
The Weekly spoke with celebrated actor Shin Young Kyun about the camp and the foundation of his namesake.
“I am 85 years old,” said Shin. “This is a rare chance [for me] to meet this many young children. After seeing these children, I truly feel that I did something good for society.”
Kim Ga Young, a fifth grader at Namwon Elementary, dreams to be a director one day. “For the past four years, I learned how to shoot a film from scratch. Working as a director, I found out that it is very hard to lead people,” she said.
Another student in the same grade, Lee Hyae Ji, may not want to go into the business, but said, “It is still great fun to hang out with my friends and discuss stories. I especially feel great happiness whenever I finish a piece every semester. So far, I have made three movies.”
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