Being in Korea and attending Asia’s largest annual film festival was at times conflicting in terms of the age old question, what to do? what to do?… On the one hand you have access to so many new and exciting films and filmmakers that you feel the time you are there will never be enough to do it all. Now the other hand… YOU ARE IN KOREA!!! For Paola and I the other hand won many more times… and if I had to break it down it was the food. We wanted to try it all (although we drew the line at food that was still breathing, and there was lots of it!) By the age of 12, I was cooking for my entire family, including 5 siblings. My parents worked all day and my oldest sister Marta, who probably would have done it, among other things was epileptic, so the stove was not the friendliest place for her! So, by default, or rather as I see it, by fortune I learned and now love to cook. So being in Buson invigorated my passion for cooking. Dishes I want to experiment on my loving husband Joe are the octopus w/ onion (killer-hot) dish we had at the seafood market, the rice & veggie roll, the pancake-like dish (I sadly left without tasting) and naturally we’ll do all the sides, including the boiled purple/sweet potatoes and lots of soju! I was close to heaven, film and food. The love affair with cinema boils down to (no pun intended) “People & World”! I saw a very touching documentary Winds of Sand/Women of Stone that transported me to Niger. I was in utter awe of the lives and traditions lived by these women… some wanting to break free, other trying to hold on. The intensity of their lives forced me to examine my own. Not because it was the greatest film I ever saw, but because it was simple and grounded, as grounded as the women it followed. As a filmmaker the privilege to travel and meet fellow artists from all over the world is not something I take lightly… especially after years of bearing witness through cinema the hardship so many people endure simply to make it to the next day. I am forever present and grateful. After the Q&A at our first screening we had a chance to meet some of the people in the audience, some filmmakers, others local film lovers. After brief introductions, I couldn’t keep track of all the places they were from. All this to say…the world is huge, fortunately cinema makes it yours!
p.s. I heard and wrote down the basic ‘hello’ & ‘thank you’ in Korean so many times, but for the life of me, it did not stick!