LEE Chang-dong is the legendary South Korean filmmaker. LEE was the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the 13thAsian Film Awards. He won the Best Director Award at the Venice Film Festival with his third feature film, Oasis in 2002. His fourth feature, Secret Sunshine (2007) earned its lead actress, JEON Do-yeon, the Best Actress Award at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in 2007. His next work, Poetry (2010) won the Best Screenplay Award at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival in 2010; LEE’s following feature Burning (2018) was based on MURAKAMI Haruki’s short story “Barn Burning” won the FIPRESCI award at the Cannes Film Festival.
Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion of the 15th Asian Film Awards?
Greetings, everyone! I am filmmaker LEE Chang-dong serving this year as jury president for the 15th Asian Film Awards. Last year, the ceremony had to be held online because of the COVID pandemic, but I am happy that this year we are able to hold the ceremony in Busan in a hybrid format, both online and on-site, and I would like to extend my congratulations on this event.
What are your impressions on being the jury president this year?
Asian cinema has been growing dynamically every year, with many brilliant and outstanding works. The nominations this year show great creativity. Together with the other judges, I will enjoy watching these films, advocate and support them. Thank you.
As the jury president, do you have your own criteria for judging the works that have been nominated?
I don’t have any particular judging criteria. If you look at the films that have been nominated, there are works by young emerging directors, and there are works by directors who have made films for a very long time and have already received international acclaim. Rather than specific criteria, I believe that films which express the power of the cinema itself, its originality, and other such qualities will win the jury’s favor.
As a representative filmmaker from Asia, how do you see the future of Asian cinema?
Asian cinema, as you know, is growing fast now. We see the growth both in the Asian audience’s passion for cinema as well as the determination and passion of filmmakers. And it seems that not only critics but also the public in countries outside of Asia, including the United States and Europe, are beginning to take more interest in Asian films. At this very important juncture, the film industry unfortunately, has had to hold its breath and wait a while due to the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, beyond Asian cinema, the medium of film itself seems to be at a crossroads, making us wonder how it will change in the future. In that sense, I believe it is time to contemplate together about the kind of breakthroughs that Asian films or the cinema itself will find going forward, and what new strengths they will gain to meet the future audience.
We’re curious about how you’ve been doing as well. The pandemic must have brought about a lot of changes, so how are you faring?
I am sure that for many filmmakers, not just me, it has been difficult to make films for the time being due to the pandemic. But all the same, I am writing a script and preparing for my next film.