Thanks all the filmmakers, mountaineers, and relations for their kind support for the 8th Ulsan Ulju Mountain Film Festival. This year, 20 films are selected for the International competitive section, 13 films are for Asian competitive section, and 14 films are for the Audience award of Mountain section. The following are the winners of the international and Asian competitive section selected by all judges, including the Youth Jury, through deep consideration and heated discussion.
France, Switzerland | 2022 | 89min | Documentary | color
USA | 2023 | 110min | Documentary | color
Finland | 2023 | 82min | Documentary | color/black and white
UK | 2022 | 53min | Documentary | color
USA | 2021 | 71min | Documentary | color
Spain | 2023 | 74min | Documentary | color
USA | 2023 | 30min | Documentary | color
Japan | 2022 | 109min | Documentary | color
Korea | 2023 | 12min | Animation | color
UK | 2018 | 26min | Documentary | color
ReviewGripping, skillfully combining a documentary narrative of dramatic events with a note of poetic (a la Tarkovsky), mysterious affirmation of folk wisdom, fate and nature. Paradise is beautifully shot in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions. The film portrays the struggles of the inhabitants of a distant Siberian land - called “control zone” - to cope with the elements of a harsh nature and wildfires. The local people, despite being accustomed to a difficult and simple life, must also live respecting the powerful forces of nature and adjust to the dramatic climate change consequences. The film presents an amazing and sometimes nerve-wrecking story that shows, with extraordinary sensitivity and lyrical narrative, the life of this Yakutia community in the face of a daunting challenge: the “Dragon” wildfires. It stirs the soul.
ReviewThe film shows the power of climbing, which is the foundation for positive transformation. Its creators introduce us to the world of a Palestinian community of young people living under Israeli occupation. We accompany them during climbing trips and social meetings. We witness building relationships, overcoming sports challenges and, most importantly, building self-esteem. A true story that helps us understanding a little more about the tense everyday life in the West Bank. A story to which life added a dramatic postscript.
ReviewBeautifully shot and poetic, the director manages to successfully combine various techniques like film photos and clips from stationary cameras to create a simple but evocative and touching elegy of nature and life in accordance with its strict laws. The relationship between the protagonist and ‘his’ lynxes is portrayed with sensibility and shows how far a man can go to reconnect to the animal world, while humanizing the lynxes and their individual personalities. The film presents an exceptional portrayal on this disappearing species and simultaneously captures the uniqueness of the protagonist called Lynx Man. In the end, the director delivers a special and surprising story of one man’s extraordinary bond with nature, while also conveying the tension, excitement, and humor surrounding his obsession with a rare and vanishing animal species.
ReviewDespite challenging winter shooting conditions, this film masterfully contrasts a tiny figure of a human against a vast ice wall, effectively conveying the anguish and pain of the climber through overwhelming visuals. For masterful craftsmanship and skillful film narration, but also for fully taking up the challenges posed to the creator by a mountain film - being part of the filmed adventure, exposing oneself to all mountain dangers.
ReviewThis meticulously composed documentary beautifully captures the inspiring life story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to conquer Mount Everest. It delves deep into her journey as a women's rights activist striving to break gender, racial, and religious barriers - far more than just a simple mountaineer while incorporating various sources and interviews to portray the history of Nepal and Himalayan mountaineering. Particularly, the reminiscences of Pasang's daughter about her mother makes the audience feel her affection for the mother she never knew as a child, evoking a heartfelt emotion and making the film a profoundly moving and exceptionally well-crafted work.
ReviewThe film depicts a world where nature, humans, disease, and animals are organically connected, but in the world, right and wrong can't be defined from a human-centered perspective. It is the portrayal of us surviving through the pandemic.
ReviewIt is a sublime portrait of a man who journeyed through fames and setbacks and becomes a transcendent being who understands himself better.
ReviewFor embodying the humility in facing the quiet power and vast challenges of the mountain
ReviewThe film reminded me of Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. It portrays the selfless nature of a mother who gives everything for her child, symbolized as a tree - one of the elements in nature. Furthermore, it conveys that nature, like a mother, generously provides its resources to humans. The film encouraged me to contemplate the commonalities between nature and mothers and to reflect on the often-overlooked treasures in my life. We can easily assume that the tree mother in the story would tell us that love is about giving without expecting anything in return, highlighting the common thread of generosity and sacrifice between nature and mothers for those under their care. I have chosen The Tree's Home as the winner, hoping it inspires gratitude in our society for the unnoticed blessings we receive.