K-Pop Stars, Artists Promote Jane Goodall's Biopic in South Korea

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Jane Goodall

Singer Lee Hyori, filmmaker Yim Soon-rye and composer Younghi Pagh-Paan stepped up to support the peace icon

Jane Goodall visited South Korea in time for the local theatrical release of her biopic Jane's Journey here on Thursday, meeting with local artists to promote messages of hope and peace.

Directed by Lorenz Knauer, Jane's Journey traces the 80-year-old's life, beginning from how she leaves for Africa with the singular aim of studying wild animals at age 23 without a college degree, to her rise as one of the world's most prominent primatologists and icons of peace.

"I am very happy that this film came to Korea. I want to meet as many people as possible in Korea, but that is not possible, so I am glad that this film can reach out to many Koreans," said Goodall on Monday during a Q&A session with Yim Soon-rye, an esteemed Korean woman filmmaker (Whistle Blower) and animal rights activist. The talk took place following a film preview at a Seoul theater.

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"It's an honor to be able to sit next to someone I respect so much," said Yim. "I've already read about the things in the film but seeing them again in audiovisual form was great. It shows the power of cinema and I hope many people will watch the movie."

K-pop icon and activist Lee Hyori, who met Goodall in 2011, has also been supporting the film.

"I met Dr. Goodall for the first time in 2011 when I had just began taking part in activities for animal rights and environmental protection. My beliefs got in the way of opportunities as a celebrity [for endorsements, etc.]. I was worried that perhaps I was a bit rash in becoming involved with these things, but Dr. Goodall greatly inspired and encouraged me," she said in a local promotional video for Jane's Journey.

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After meeting with local environmental organizations operated by her foundations, Goodall gave a lecture during a public event on biodiversity hosted by Ewha Womans University on Tuesday. Actress Yoon Jin-seo (Oldboy, Secret Love) was spotted among attendees, while Younghi Pagh-Paan, a prominent Korean classical composer and the first woman to become vice president of a German university, composed a piece dedicated to Goodall. Under the baton of Professor Sung Ki-sun, the Ewha Philharmonic Orchestra premiered "Lebensbaum II fur Kammerorchester (Tree of Life for Chamber Orchestra)."

"The high notes represent heaven and the lower notes stand for the earth, and the ones in the middle are the inhabitants in between heaven and earth — people, animals and plants," said Pagh-Paan about her music. "I was greatly moved and inspired by Dr. Goodall's books."

"In music, poetry, art and nature — they all have common roots in that they always have something very mysterious that we will never fully understand," said Goodall following the premiere, ending her speech with her signature chimpanzee howl, which means "good night."

Jane's Journey opens in Korean theaters via AUD while her new book, Seeds of Hope, hits local bookstores on Thursday.