South Korean Ferry Disaster: Feature Film Halts Production Amid Mounting Criticism
The crowdfunding initiative for 'Sewolho' has been mired in controversy.
A feature film about the 2014 South Korean ferry tragedy has been put on hold, with the crowdfunding initiative, central to the financing, being stopped.
The film, called Sewolho in Korean after the name of the ferry, had been due to go into production for an April 2018 release in time for the fourth anniversary of the accident. Golden Gate Pictures was set to produce with filmmaker Oh Il-kwon at the helm and actors Lee Chang-min and Im Sung-min among the castmembers.
Several documentaries have been made about the tragedy, which claimed over 300 lives and has had a nationwide shock effect comparable to 9/11 in the U.S., particularly as the majority of victims were teenage students. Sewolho was due to be the first feature project on the accident.
Crowdfunding site Keedari Funding, however, has temporarily halted the financing initiative for the film. The site had been aiming to collect 100 million won (about $90,000) through April 30 and had accumulated 2.4 million won (about $2,200). In a statement released on March 24, Keedari noted complications in the production process as well as respect for the victims' families that are still in mourning as reasons for ceasing the funding project.
There had been mounting criticism over the film, as it became known that victims' families and related organizations had not been thoroughly consulted. Keedari said it has asked the director to address this matter and to clarify other aspects of the production, including the synopsis.
Meanwhile, the capsized Sewol Ferry was finally salvaged in a massive, $72 million operation that lifted the 6,000-ton vessel out of the water. Officials hope to find the reason why it sank and recover the bodies of the nine missing passengers.