The Japan Foundation in Manila, through its annual film festival Eiga Sai, brings a talk on film production in Japan and the Philippines, as well as a film screening featuring a story about a Korean family residing in Japan, to the University of the Philippines Film Institute (UPFI) on August 16 to 17.
“Yakiniku Dragon” offers its viewers a look into the vigorous life of a Korean community in the 70s era Japan. In the outskirts of Osaka, in a squatter settlement on government property, a Korean family runs a barbecue restaurant. With a wife, three daughters and a son, the father Yong-gil lives with bravado but is gradually bombarded by the tides of the times.
Award-winning playwright and director Chong Wishing brings his successful theater production to the big screen. “Yakiniku Dragon” is a play made in collaboration between the Seoul Arts Center and the New National Theatre Tokyo. It has received numerous theater awards including the 8th Asahi Performing Arts Awards Grand Prix, the 12th Tsuruya Nanboku Drama Award, the 16th Yomiuri Theater Award for Best Play and the 59th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts.
The film, produced in 2018, marks his first feature film as a director. It features a cast of leading Japanese and Korean actors including Mao Inoue, Yoko Maki, and Kim Sang-Ho. Yakiniku Dragon was the opening film of the 19th Jeonju International Film Festival, a festival dedicated to independent films worldwide that supports freedom of expression in cinema.
As a third-generation Korean living in Japan himself, his life experiences reflect prominently in his works. Chong was born in July 1957 in Japan and studied in the Department of Arts of the Yokohama Movie and Broadcasting College. In 1993, he won the 38th Kishida Prize for Drama for his play “The Terayama”, wherein the same year he branched out into film, and his movie “All Under the Moon” (1993) won the prize for Best Screenplay from both the Mainichi Film Competition and the Kinema Junpo Award. He published a collection of essays Andreas’s Hat in 1995 then bagged several awards for his movie ‘Begging for Love” (1998), including the Kinema Junpo Awards, Japan Academy, and the First Asia-Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay. He also won the 2001 National Arts Festival Grand Prize for his TV drama “I’ll Be Eighteen Tomorrow” (2001).
Director Chong will be in Manila for a series of events during the 22nd Japanese Film Festival or EIGASAI screening of Yakiniku Dragon at UPFI. Together with film producers Toru Emori and Hirotake Sasaki, he is scheduled for a Director’s Talk on August 16, 2 p.m. and August 17, 4:30 p.m. at UPFI Cine Adarna.
They will also take part in a talk and roundtable discussion on film production in Japan and the Philippines together with award-winning producer-director Prof. Giancarlo Abrahan for select UP film students and filmmakers, to be held at UPFI Videotheque on August 16, 1:30 p.m.
Screenings of “Yakiniku Dragon” and other festival entries at UPFI from August 14 to 17 are free of charge.