The 5th Ulju Mountain Film Festival (UMFF), held in the mountainous county of Ulju in the southeastern city of Ulsan, South Korea, was spread for nine days, from 23 October to 1 November 2020.
As the only mountain film festival in the country, UMFF aims at presenting important contemporary mountain films from all over the world. Also, it has tried to function as a platform to showcase the trends of current mountain culture. Another goal is to search and show various landscapes where people live along with nature. There are trials and conquests, cravings and adventures, challenges and failures - and also successes, conflict and coexistence.
Because of the prevailing pandemic situation, this year’s edition had over 120 nature and adventure themed international films and documentaries shown via just two kinds of screening platforms - online streaming and drive-in screenings. First, the festival ran online streaming of 128 films from 43 countries on its website during the event. And then there was an in-person drive-in screening of 14 shorts and features at the Yeongnam Alps Complex Welcoming Center .
Twenty-six of the submitted films from 18 countries were selected for the international competition section, which was divided into three themes - Alpinism & Climbing, Adventure & Exploration and Nature & People.
This year’s NETPAC Award section had 11 Asian films. The winning film was a debut work, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, by Bhutanese director Pawo Choyning Dorji. The film wonderfully and movingly captures the journey of a young urban teacher who grows as he searches for the meaning of real happiness in his relationship with innocent rural students. Set in Bhutan with its beautiful natural beauty, it is not only an excellent Asian film exploring life’s meaning but a remarkable mountain film dealing with the value and beauty of nature.
Jo Ji-hoon (Jury Chairperson)