Skip to main content
Browse by:

Film Screening: "Sura: A Love Song" (2023)

Still images captured on a film strip showing people recording and taking measurements in a field; descriptive text (film title, date, time, location, screening sponsors)
Thursday, April 18, 2024
7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Lindsay Addison (Audubon North Carolina), Jieun Cho (APSI), Margaret McKean (Political Science); moderated by Hae-Young Kim (AMES)

Filmmaker Yun HWANG began making a documentary about tidal flats in the Saemanggeum estuary, on the West coast of South Korea. Her work came to a halt in 2006 with the completion of the Saemangeum seawall, the world's longest man-made dyke and the first component of a massive land reclamation effort.

Ten years later, Hwang moved to Gunsan and learned about the Saemangeum Citizens Ecological Group, a local civic organization that has conducted ecological surveys in the estuary for over 20 years. Sura, located in Gunsan, North Jeolla province, is the last remaining tidal flat in the Saemangeum estuary. Hwang was surprised to discover the area is teeming with fauna and resumed work on her documentary, chronicling the beauty of this endangered space.

From the director:
This film is the story of citizens who do not yield to the violence of the government project and resist by the act of recording. This is also about the "memories" of people who cannot forget the beauty. The moment I heard the story of a man who can't forget the group dance of the shorebirds, the wonder, the longing, and sense of loss he must have felt overwhelmed me. That's what drove me to make this film for 7 years. In this world where the beauty to remember is gradually disappearing, we record today, believing in the power of memories and records.

"This film is a love song sung by people who love the beautiful tidal flat. The ending credits include the names of various living creatures in Sura, such as Saunders's gulls and little terns. Sura residents in the film include a mother bird protecting her baby in the strong wind. The mother bird's love may be no different from that of our parents." - Kim Sun-ae, The Korea Times

Expert panel:
Immediately following the film screening, panelists will discuss the ecological impacts of large-scale development projects:

Lindsay Addison, Coastal Biologist, NC Audubon Society
Margaret McKean, Professor Emerita of Political Science, Duke
Jieun Cho, Postdoctoral Associate, APSI

moderated by Professor Hae-Young Kim (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke)