South Korean Film Festivals for Mobile Cinema: Sites for Cultural Translation or Vehicles for Segyehwa?



The growing international and trans-national practice of making films with mobile, nonprofessional cameras find new means of exhibition and novel routes to distribution in online screening venues, but primarily at dedicated or supportive film festivals. This paper investigates how such film festivals function as sites of cultural translation of moving images in South Korea. This dynamic has evolved from a somewhat passive reacting to
external cultural influences, to become a vehicle for expressing the official South Korean government’s policy strategy of segyehwa (Shin, 2005; Kim, 2005): of turning outwards to the world to express contemporary notions of South Korean national identity. I draw on case studies from two film festivals in South Korea during 2011: Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) and Seoul international Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival (SESIFF). As venues for innovative cinematic practice, they foreground
contemporary South Korean society’s influence in the use of mobile phone and Digital SLR cameras as filmic apparatus, indicating the take-up of new methods of film production and exhibition that negotiates a complex dynamic of socio-cultural translation of moving images.


Film festivalsMobile cinemaSegyehwaTrans-nationalTrans-culturalCinephilia
  • Issue: 6
  • DOI: 10.18573/j.2014.10283
  • Published on 1 Nov 2014