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Seolmundae Halmang - an animated characterCanadian Lucas Green visits Jeju for animation project
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승인 2013.07.01  13:36:40
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▲ Image by Lucas Green

Seolmundae Halmang, Jeju’s creator goddess, is still working her magic. Canadian animator Lucas Green was brought under her spell and recently visited Jeju to scout locations - “they don’t even exist on maps anymore” - for his animation of the larger-than-life deity.

Green first arrived on Jeju in 2008, having heard of the island’s charms from Korean housemates back in Canada. It was the first step in his current journey.

“I came and rented a scooter...the weather was perfect and I fell in love with it...it was that perfect combination of the exotic island and also that rustic edge,” said Green.

▲ Image by Lucas Green

Two years later in 2010 he decided to up sticks and move to the island to teach English, at which point his understand-ing of Jeju’s culture deepened.

“At that time I found out about the Seolmundae Halmang myth and it grew on me....everything about this island is a little bit larger than life...the mountains are bigger, the goddesses are bigger,” said Green.

Green is a professional animator cur-rently producing motion graphics for The Knowledge Network, a public service broadcaster in Canada. After returning to Canada he was “racking his brains” for a project to undertake and nostalgia for Jeju set him on course. He now works on the animation at evenings and weekends.

▲ Image by Lucas Green

“It started out as a personal project. I really just wanted to make something... but as I started to research and learn about the culture of Jeju and the lan-guage, that really got my interest,” he said.

Green was drawn to the humility of Jeju’s mythology - larger than life, but down to earth.

“[Seolmundae Halmang is a] hard-working, roll-up-your-sleeves giant lady...everywhere there are places that exist because [of her]...apparently she had bad porridge and diarrhea and that made one of the oreum...I probably won’t be including that,” joked Green.

Green has been impressed with the help he has received since starting the project: Jeju National University lecturer Jenie Hahn - another “hardworking, roll-up-your-sleeves lady” - first introduced Green to the myth and has provided indispensable help to the Canadian. Branksome Hall Asia also opened up its recording facilities, gratis.

▲ Image by Lucas Green

Having never made an animation running five minutes before, it is taking longer than planned.Green had hoped to enter it in this year’s Jeju Women’s Film Festival in September, but is now looking at next year.

“When I started I gave myself a year. This is the longest animation I have ever done...it is very time consuming...a minute is a lot of animation and this is running about five minutes now. I think it might take longer than that but I don’t know,” he said.

In addition to coming to Jeju to find locations for the animation, Green also enlisted the help of local actors and actresses to perform the roles. Keen to preserve Jeju’s traditions, local dialect was used throughout.

▲ Image by Lucas Green

“I thought if I could use the animation to promote the local language and culture it could come full circle and I could atone for my sins as an English teacher,” Green joked.

Part of this atonement meant compiling versions of the Seolmundae Halmang myth and settling on a representative version. With so many versions - “every village has a story” - it was no easy task.

“I’m trying to stay as close as possible to the tone of the story, but there is so much material out there...it would be impos-sible to fit it all into one coherent nar-rative...so I am making a story arch that tells the story of the myth but also [introduces Jeju].”

▲ Image by Lucas Green

It has led to a deep appreciation of how the stories represent Jeju culture.

“She is such a big influence on how Jeju islanders view themselves as inde-pendent people...they describe different periods in time and different cultural motivations...some are more raw and some are more polished,” he said.

Gathering sources from locals, the internet, and even children’s books, Green spent three months doing research before settling on a rough outline. One of the most difficult decisions was the image of Seolmundae Halmang, herself.

▲ Image by Lucas Green

“There are a lot of different versions of what she looks like...in Jeju dialect “halmang” means grandmother, but in this sense it is an honorific because she’s a goddess, so there are a lot of people who insist that she isn’t an old crone, but [as an] ancient being who made Jeju, she should be old..”

Despite using Jeju dialect in the production, Green was mindful of making the animation accessible to all. To ensure this, he kept the script minimal with much of the story being told through gesture.

“I want it to be mostly non-verbal...I really want to showcase the Jeju lan-guage but I don’t want it to rely on subtitles.”

▲ Image by Lucas Green

Once finished, Green plans to enter the animation for festivals outside of Korea.

“I want to promote the film outside of Jeju...there is a big market in Canada for short animations...so that is the long-term goal...really I just wana make something and get it under my belt,” said Green.

To contact Lucas Green, email lucas.art.green@gmail.com


Seolmundae Halmang Animation Test 1 from Lucas Green on Vimeo.

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