Writing to Reach You
- Director Neil P. George
- Year 2021
- Country South Korea
- Duration 23 mins
At least 82.4 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 26.4 million refugees, around half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people, who have been denied a nationality and lack access to basic rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom of movement.
At a time when 1 in every 95 people on earth has fled their home as a result of conflict or persecution, understanding the refugee crisis has become important than ever.
Writing to Reach You is a short documentary exploring the lives of 4 refugees living and trying to find new lives in South Korea.
The 4 refugees, who come from very different backgrounds and countries share their lives before and after coming to Korea, in search of a better place in which to live.
I have always lived by a simple golden rule in life, the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated. When I started to produce a series of films about refugees in Korea I did not consider how deep this issue is rooted within the society. The issue was not just about the Yemeni refugees who came to Korea seeking asylum in 2018, it went a lot deeper than that, but at the heart of it was a simple question; Can we allow ourselves to turn a blind eye to these growing human rights issues that are taking place all over the world and sometimes right next door?
In producing Writing to Reach You, i wanted to explore refugee situation in Korea in greater detail. I wanted to talk to other refugees who came to Korea in search of a new place to call home and how they felt about living here.
In producing this film I wanted to try and shed some more light on the refugee issue in Korea and around the world, so they can be treated like human beings, have basic human rights and access to things that most of us take for granted every day. And ultimately I hope people can start to understand and feel more empathy towards the plight of refugees all around the world.
Neil George is a film professor, producer, and director of several award-winning documentary films. He was born and raised in Exeter, England and lived in South Korea from 2011 to 2021 teaching film production at a media university as well as producing documentaries related to Korean society.
After moving to Korea he took great interest in society and culture and found a passion for human rights filmmaking. He produced the award-winning film, ‘While they Watched’ (2015), a film about North Korean defectors and then went onto to co-direct and produce the film, ‘Beyond the Picture; The story of Sohn Kee Chung’, a film about Sohn Kee Chung, the marathon runner who won the 1936 Berlin Olympic gold medal and the only gold medalist, to date, to never hear his own national anthem played whilst standing on the podium.
After completing this in late 2015 he moved onto produce and direct the award-winning documentary, ‘After the Sewol’ (2016) and spent over 5 years working on ’After the Sewol’ and his second film related to the Sewol tragedy, ‘Crossroads’. In 2018, he started a new project, in association with the UNHCR, ‘Our Journey’, which is a series of films exploring the stories of the Yemeni refugees who came to Jeju island seeking asylum and the factors behind why they escaped their country. After finalising this project he worked on a second documentary, "Writing to Reach You". He is currently living and working in Dubai teaching film production at a media university as well as working on various projects related to human rights.