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Fiction ㅣ JEONJU Lab: Feature Length

Tree in the Garden

KANG Jiwon
Korea 100min 4K Color/B&W Fiction
Production StatusPre-Production
Goal of ParticipationCo-production, Financing
Production budget400,000,000 KRW
Budget Required392,000,000 KRW
Secured budget JEONJU International Film Festival[JEONJU Lab First Fund Grant] : 5,000,000 KRW · Self-funding[-] : 3,000,000 KRW
LOGLINE

Jungwon wants to plant a tree on her family gravesite for investment purposes while wishing to retire early, but she doesn’t want to see her father living in front of it.

SYNOPSIS

Jungwon is a young landscape architect, but she’s thinking about quitting her job. With the money she has saved, she is preparing to spend the rest of her life planting and selling trees. She worked hard to achieve her dream, even studying for the relevant majors and getting certifications, but all she’s left with is insomnia and alcohol dependency as a result of it. She’s overwhelmed by the ridiculous request from an old man who wants her to find the tree he saw as a child, and as the money she saved gets closer to her goal, her mind starts racing. Initially, she doesn’t even think about it, but she can’t stop wanting the estate that belongs to her family. She made estimates and even organized a trip to check it out, but she can’t bring herself to enter her father’s house, which is just below the family gravesite.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

The saying goes that you shouldn’t see just a tree but a forest, but people are too busy trying to make a living to see even a tree. This is why camping and mountain climbing are popular hobbies, and tree farming for investments is so appealing. What did I have to live for? The reason people find it so comforting to look at trees is that sometimes they see themselves in trees. It’s the same for a tree on the side of the road, or a person walking down the street, that has left their home and is busy trying to survive. We live in a 'garden'. A lot of things just seem 'natural', but nothing is natural except the existence of humans and trees.

INTERVIEW
What inspired you to start this project?
First of all, I should talk about Sound Garden by Cha Jae-min, which I saw at the Seoul Museum of Art in early 2020. Interviews with female psychiatrists were mixed together, and it seemed as if the pain of trees being cut off and uprooted was conveyed to me as well. I think I brought in my situation at the time since I had to endure the pain of leaving the place where I lived. Afterward, the short story I wrote based on the emotions I felt at the time was the beginning of Tree in the Garden. At first, the focus was only on the process of a training tree becoming a street tree, so the main character was also a young couple studying to pass the bar. However, I could not find clarity regarding the reason behind eventually finding the tree, and the script remained at a rather superficial stage. It was thanks to my early resignation from my job that the framework of the story was formed in its present state after about three years. Although I consoled myself by telling myself that it was a company I did not want to work for, I was plagued with money problems that I could never avoid. While handing my resume elsewhere, I looked for investment schemes that could start with small amounts in my spare time, and this process led to tree investment schemes. Looking at the script I wrote earlier, I seemed to have found a simple answer to the question of the reason behind eventually finding the tree. This led to the Tree in the Garden.
Is there any scene or emotion you want the audience to remember after watching this movie?
Perhaps because of the sense of feeling the subject of trees gives out, Tree in the Garden might seem as though focusing on one's growth at first glance, but on the contrary, trees and people never grow on their own, was the core of the story. Being a similar age to the main character, Jeongwon, I am also having a hard time telling what growth itself is, and the focus was on describing the frustration of a person who considered themselves an adult. Perhaps it was due to my personal conviction that nothing is more alive than frustration. Jeongwon (Garden), which is also the title, is surely a space where people and trees coexist. All the while many of the things that we consider garden seem to be taken for granted, there is nothing that can be taken for granted but the presence of people and trees. It is said that even old trees over 100 years old cannot last a month if they are moved recklessly. If you apply this to a person, the fact that nothing can be taken for granted may be more relatable. Nevertheless, I hope it is a film where you can experience the feeling of being still alive, watching the flowers blooming and then the leaves falling with the main character, Jeongwon.
DIRECTOR
KANG Jiwon
He grew up in Hanam, Gyeonggi-do, and majored in Media and Communication at Gachon University. While in school, he made five short films, including Excluded (2020), and after graduating, he worked as an assistant director on four feature films including Archaeology of love (2021).
WallWallWall (2018), The Red Table (2019), Excluded (2020)
CONTACTkgkg0611@naver.com
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