'Dear Chaemin' by NLN graduate Cyan Bae receives awards in (inter)national film competitions

6 september 2021

We are very proud of our Non Linear Narrative graduate Cyan Bae, who has won the Grand Prize in the Asian Shorts competition at the Seoul International Women’s Film Festival and the Leiden Shorts 2021 National Award Competition with 'Dear Chaemin'. Both competitions run earlier this month and the juries have expressed their admiration for the powerful and original work of Cyan Bae.

Dear Chaemin

Cyan Bae graduated from the Master Non Linear Narrative with the film 'Dear Chaemin' in 2020.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of video letters are sent to the director’s sister in Seoul. Should we want to return to the ‘old normal’? The autofictional film juxtaposes the Korean and Dutch contexts of contact tracing, biopolitics, and crowd control practices, each of which intensifies the stigmatization and violence against queer communities and people of Asian descent.

Jury reports

23rd Seoul International Women's Film Festival

Commentary for the Asian Shorts:

The Grand Prize in the Asian Shorts Competition at the 23rd Seoul International Women's Film Festival goes to Director Cyan BAE's Dear Chaemin. It is a work that evokes the lines of the boundaries or divisions for those of us currently in Korea through a letter from a director sent from another country. This film was like a train rushing towards us.

In a resolute and powerful tone, the story is told in the form of a letter, along with various footage, about the violence created by the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The film's virtues — or deftness in weaving the lives of society and individuals, excellent recognition of its subject matter, powerful rhythm, and mystique -- reminded the audience powerfully of the problematic areas of the Covid-19 situation. Therefore, the film won the support of all the juries.

Leiden Shorts

Jury statement Leiden Shorts National Competition (Dana Linssen, Sarah Blok, and Julian Ross):

With animation, narrative films and experimental films, this year’s National Award Competition at Leiden Shorts demonstrated the spectrum of possibilities that cinema has to offer and how Dutch and Netherlands-based artists and filmmakers are making the most of it. While we enjoyed diving into all films in the line-up, our decision on which film to grant the National Award was unanimous.

Exploring the themes of gender, identity and surveillance, this film tapped into the tradition of letter films but also offered something new to it, through its unique three-channel and vertical screen format. While it addressed the current pandemic with remarkable precision and originality, what struck and moved us was the generosity of the filmmaker for giving voice to her inner thoughts in such a direct, open manner.