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Cinema Guild snatches US Rights to Korean Disability Love Story ‘Planet of Snail’

Cinema Guild snatches US Rights to Korean Disability Love Story 'Planet of Snail'

The Cinema Guild has acquired all U.S. distribution rights to Seung-jun Yi’s “Planet of Snail,” which took the took the top prize at last year’s IDFA.  The film follows Young-Chan who is both deaf and blind as he falls in love with a woman, Soon-Ho.  The film documents the blossoming of their love afffair.

When the film premiered at last year’s IDFA, Indiewire’s Peter Knegt sat down with Seung-jun for an interview, a film Knegt called the best documentary he saw at IDFA.

The full release follows:


New York, NY —The Cinema Guild announced today the acquisition of all US. distribution rights to Seung-jun Yi’s award-winning documentary “Planet of Snail,” an achingly beautiful journey into a silent world where love and touch are all one needs to survive. The deal was negotiated by Ryan Krivoshey of The Cinema Guild with Catherine Le Clef of CAT&Docs. “Planet of Snail” will open theatrically this summer.

Young-Chan has been deaf and blind since childhood. As he puts it himself, “In the beginning there was darkness and silence, and the darkness and silence were with god. And when ‘I’ arrived, they came to me.” Young-Chan has no idea how to participate in the world until he meets Soon-Ho, who also has a physical handicap. He marries her and learns to communicate with the outside world through her. By softly tapping each other’s finger, they can understand one another; it is sometimes as if they are tenderly playing a piano.

This documentary follows the couple in the same gentle tempo as Young-Chan moves through his life. We see them replacing a light bulb together, receiving friends, working on a theater piece, reading a book, and gliding on a sleigh down a mountain. These everyday scenes are accompanied by a poetic voice-over by Young-Chan, in which he reflects on his existence without sight and hearing. He feels like an astronaut, but that doesn’t mean he is without a sense of beauty in the world. This becomes palpable when Young-Chan touches the bark of a tree, runs his hand through sand, or brushes raindrops on a window pane with his fingertips.

“Watching ‘Planet of Snail’ is a mesmerizing experience. It’s that rare work that has the power to change the way you see your world,” commented Ryan Krivoshey. “We look forward to sharing it with U.S. audiences who I’m certain will be as enchanted as we were the first time we saw it.”

Seung-jun Yi is one of Korea’s emerging directors on the world documentary scene. Among a dozen TV length documentaries and shorts, Seung-jun directed “Children of God” (2008), a story about children living in the crematorium of Nepal, which has played numerous film festivals including HotDocs. For “Planet of Snail,” Seung-jun filmed Young-Chan and Soon-Ho for over two years. It premiered at IDFA, where it won the Best Feature-Length Documentary Award, and will play other festivals throughout the spring and summer.

The Cinema Guild is a distributor of independent, documentary and foreign films. Recent releases include Bela Tarr’s “The Turin Horse,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” and Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz’s “The Interrupters.” Upcoming releases include Alex Rotaru’s “Shakespeare High,” Robbie Pickering’s “Natural Selection” and Hong Sangsoo’s “The Day He Arrives.”

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