The annual DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival (DMZ Docs) will open this week, expanding its subjects to more issues of national concern: overheating competition for college entrance, the aging society, judicial justice, poverty and environmental problems, organizers said Wednesday.
DMZ Docs has maintained a focus on issues such as peace, life and communication, while drawing attention for its venue in Paju, just south of the demilitarized zone bisecting the two Koreas, which is the world's largest remaining legacy of the Cold War.
"Ping Pong," a nonfiction film by British director Hugh Hartford about elderly competitors in the World Over-80s Table Tennis Championships, will open the 4th festival scheduled to run from Sept. 21-27. The characters include an 81-year-old who has only a week to live but dreams of winning a gold medal, and an 89-year-old who overcomes Alzheimer's disease through ping pong training.
This year's event also boasts a larger lineup: 115 documentary films from 36 countries, up from 101 films from 30 countries last year.
It will close with the winner of the international competition section.
There will be a performance of Maksim Mrvica, a Croatian pianist popular among young people for his powerful performances, during the opening ceremony set to be held on Thursday at the Dorasan Station, a train station just 700 meters south of the inter-Korean border.
Works by photographer Kim Joong-man featuring the daily lives of people living in a Korean village within the DMZ will be displayed during the festival period, according to the organizers.