Last week the IDFA Spotlight Award at the DMZ International Documentary Film Festival went to the project Grounding by the South Korean filmmaker Minji Ma.
Sexual violence survivor’s trauma causes their body’s time to return to the past. Unwanted memories resurface, a sense of reality is lost, and the feeling of helplessness emerges. ‘Grounding’ is a trauma treatment technique in South Korea that helps patients return to the ‘here and now’ by sensing their feet on the ground. The gripping project Grounding explores this technique and sees survivors, female artists, and a filmmaker unite in solidarity to create a fictional world in which they can process the past, regain the sense of the present and dream for the future through filmmaking.
“The award goes to a project that shows how survivors of sexual violence are trying to return to their daily lives through a new form of therapy," says IDFA Bertha Fund’s Melanie de Vocht, who gave out the award at DMZ. “Director Minji Ma approaches this universal and important topic, set in a South Korean context, in a highly original and thoughtful way. Filmed in an intimate fashion, she follows two women preparing themselves, while they visualize what they would do if they would run into their perpetrator."
Director Ma: "We are very excited to get this award. In the early stage of the production, there was one thing we kept asking ourselves: can the film genuinely help the protagonist's life? We are still trying hard to find the answer to it. We hope that IDFAcademy, which we will be part of this year, will help us delve into documentary filmmaking and come up with fresh ideas."
Producer Heejung Oh adds: “This project is an experiment to find a purpose not only for sexual violence survivors but also for us as young filmmakers: exploring if filmmaking can make changes. We are sure IDFAcademy will provide us with a safe space where we can explore this with fellow filmmakers.”
Grounding is produced by Heejung Oh through Seesaw Pictures and is currently in the production stage.