For the past three years, I have been documenting the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster in South Korea and its aftermath through photographs and video. This event, in which more than 300 people lost their lives, started out as a personal tragedy for those affected and subsequently turned into a national movement to challenge the government. My work on this project began as a video journalist for Agence France-Presse (AFP), but eventually became a more personal exploration of the responsibilities of individuals and the general public to keep government from abusing power.
Infused throughout the film are poetic and observational documentary methods that show moments of resilience where individual parents and families come together and form a new community. The Sewol ferry families have been in the forefront of the protests that lead to series of anti-government efforts. This movement later was instrumental in uncovering corruption in the government, which contributed to the South Korean president's impeachment in 2017.
As a filmmaker and photographer, the story I am telling resonates with audiences outside South Korea. By documenting families' mourning processes along with young democracy in action, I've encountered hundreds of thousands of people on the streets in peaceful protests demanding answers to the ferry disaster.