LAST LETTERS. A short documentary

Posted on Dec 12, 2016

On the 16th of April 2014 a ferry en route from Incheon to Jeju Island in Korea capsized. 304 out of 476 passengers and crew members died in this tragic accident. This short film follows eight families that lost loved ones that day, and explores the physical and emotional spaces that the tragedy left behind. The film juxtaposes documentary and fictional elements. It shines a light on this still unsolved tragedy and shows the isolation the families feels while they pose for an incomplete family portrait.

More than 2 1/2 years have passed since the Sewol ferry tragedy, which took place on the 16th of April 2014. This day has marked a black day on the Korean calendar ever since for many people. Korea has not been the same again.
Many of the remaining family members of the victims have become engaged in activism due to dissatisfaction with the Korean government and how they handled the tragedy. Nine of the victim’s bodies have never been recovered while the government failed to retrieve the shipwreck to carry out a full investigation. Many people in Korea, not just those affected directly by the tragedy, have many questions about the circumstances of the accident and who should be held responsible for the loss of so many innocent lives. Several Korean filmmakers have tackled the Sewol disaster to examine how this could have happened. And since these documentaries are investigative, I felt I would rather like to create something from a different point of view.

As most of my work is inspired by space and architecture, the living spaces of the remaining family members became the focus of this film. I also wanted to make a documentary film with fictional elements and more of a poetic approach, which hopefully speaks to the families instead of stirring up their anger with hard facts. I hope that this is a film which could bring them some measure of peace in relation to their lost loved ones.

I really hope that this film speaks to the families, but also makes a bigger international audience aware of this dark day in Korean history. This is something the families, who have been abandoned by the Korean government in their search for the truth, are really hoping for.

(Nils)