24 November, 2014

“Sanda” (Surviving) Screening and Discussion Big Success

by Sanda Toronto Committee

A diverse group of more than 60 attended a unique film screening and discussion event at the North York Civic Centre last Saturday. The event started with Korean folk drumming which revved up the crowd, continued with an 83-minute film called Sanda (Surviving), and carried on a well-participated discussion which extended the program for 20 extra minutes. More than 40 people from the Civic Centre walked together in the rainy evening to a Korean restaurant a few blocks away.

Filmmaker Mi-re Kim is a Korean activist who made Sanda, about middle aged workers at South Korea’s information and communications giant Korea Telecom, KT. Hae-gwan Lee is a labour activist who worked at KT for many years. Both came to Toronto for ten days for this film screening and meeting with Toronto-based activists, scholars, concerned citizens and students.

Many people who watched the film stayed at the Council Chambers and engaged in discussions with Kim, Lee, commentators from Toronto, and with MC Min Sook Lee, the award winning Toronto-based filmmaker. Mingling over Korean popped rice that was made locally, with fair trade organic coffee and “ethically wild crafted herbal tea” also made a difference from many other public events. The facility was staffed by CUPE Local 79 staff who did an admirable job managing the technical requirements of the event.

Political economist Greg Albo (Social Science, York University) and feminist labour activist Naureen Rizvi (Telecommunications Sector Director of Unifor) delivered commentaries on the film and shared their theories and stories of social justice and labour situations and activism, especially those involving the information and communications sector. Amongst the audience were former KT workers who shared their own stories of victimization of the so-called “structural adjustment” by KT. One former worker was so upset watching the film that he had to exit the room, haunted by his own experiences as a KT worker.

“Sanda” Screening and Discussion
SANDA features a group of Korea Telecom (KT) workers, who have gone through hell and high water and are now in middle age. Forced into “voluntary” early retirement by KT, they refuse to take it and are transferred to branches far away from home. They travel the 3-4 hour daily commute, and are assigned to ridiculous tasks they can hardly cope with and are ostracized by coworkers. All these are part of the “weeding out” plan KT carries out, especially on workers who have been involved in the labour movement. Taking it as a challenge to their dignity, however, the workers rise to fight back!

“According to the recent OECD data, South Korea’s suicide rate has remained the highest among OECD countries for 10 consecutive years,” says the filmmaker Mi-re Kim. “Furthermore, for workers in their fifties, the annual rate of suicide has been soaring. I believe the major causes of these tragedies are tied to the oppression of labour rights in South Korea”, she said.

In terms of labour rights in Korean community, Kim says we should monitor the leading companies that insidiously target their unionised employees and threaten those who are active in their unions. “The stories in the film, SANDA, are not only about issues concerning Korean telecommunication workers, but for all of us who want to strengthen labour rights in today’s increasingly oppressive corporate world,” Kim concluded.

Professor Greg Albo who is with the Centre for Social Justice in Toronto and the online publication The Bullet emphasized how ‘information and communications technology (ICT) sector captures so vividly the contradictions of new technologies introduced under capitalism. If we can afford to access them as consumers, powerful means of communication, gathering information, of an expression of personal freedom and empowerment. But in the sphere of production and work introduced under the authority relations of capitalism, without input from workers, and under the competitive pressures for the valorization of capital to increase profits, ICT comes to be quite the opposite – technologies of social inequality, workplace tyranny and political oppression. Our unfreedom at work and our limited democracy.’

Unifor Director Naureen Rizvi, a former Bell worker, highlighted the importance of daily activism and recognizing everyone’s roles in making changes: “We need to have this discussion with the international community, we need to also remind ourselves how powerful we are in implementing change because we are not just workers ourselves that are exposed to these violations, but we are also consumers of these products and services, we are also investors that hold stock in some of these publicly traded companies – we have a lot more power than even we recognize sometimes and we need to use it to bring together change.”

The Saturday Sanda Toronto event was emceed and interpreted by three Korean women documentary filmmakers: Min Sook Lee, Heejoo Yoon and Khema Young-Hwa Cho, who also write, teach filmmaking and create multiple genres of art in the spirit of community and social justice.

Frank Saptel, the founder and a board member of the Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF) that hosted this event was thrilled – not only with the attendance and the two local Korean folk drumming clubs Pichojuné (Faculty of Music, University of Toronto) and Sorimori, which energetically and loudly opened the event, but also with the depth of the discussion and meaningful connections made across people in Toronto from diverse cultural, political, organisational and national backgrounds, Canada, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, India and beyond. “It was a rare opportunity to look at workers’ conditions in South Korea and engage in discussion about it in Toronto,” he said. Saptel is soon visiting South Korea for the sixth time and looks forward to reconnecting with activists there. He hopes to see CLiFF instituted in South Korea in connection with South Korean labour media activism. Many migrants and Koreans contribute to a vibrant media activism.

Hae-gwan Lee, the former president of KT New Union and current spokesperson, self-funded a good portion of his expenses for his ten-day visit to Toronto this time. “I realized again that the structural adjustment in the information and communications industry is the global issue. I hope the Sanda Toronto event helped many more people in more countries understand the serious social problem of laying off workers for the excuse of technical advancement,” said Lee. Sanda Director Kim said, “it was great to meet many labour activists and progressive scholars in Toronto and we will stay in touch and work together in the future.”

Kim and Lee are now on their way to return to their tireless activist and labour filmmaker life in South Korea, with many more faces in their mind from Canada.

Photos from Sanda screening and discussion, and meetings related:

Sanda Toronto was part of the 6th Annual Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF), co-sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Korea (CSK), University of Toronto, and the Collaborative Program in Workplace Learning and Social Change (WLSC), OISE/UT, Unifor (the largest private sector union in Canada), Hope21 (Korean progressive network in Canada) and the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF).

647 527 6848 (Yukyung Kim-Cho, Korean/English)
416 579 0481 (Frank Saptel, English)   416 528 4541 (Choongho Park, Korean)

“Sanda” (Surviving) Toronto – Korean labour documentary screening and discussion

“Sanda” (Surviving)
Toronto – Korean labour documentary screening and discussion

Saturday, 22 November 14:00–17:00.
North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers.
5100 Yonge St, Toronto, Ontario M2N 5V7

Directed by Mi-re Kim, an award winning Korean documentary filmmaker, SANDA (Surviving) is the story of Korea Telecom (KT) workers forced into “voluntary” early retirement by KT, they refuse to take it and are transferred to branches far away from home. Traveling 3-4 hours daily, assigned to ridiculous tasks they can hardly cope with and ostracized by co-workers, however, the workers rise to fight back! Continue reading


Hello to all Location Co-ordinators,
here are the ballots for voting for CLiFF Best-in-Festival. Please download and print enough to give to your audience members so they can vote. Instructions are on the ballot.
This is a generic Ballot to suit any Location. All audience members have to do is write in the names of films they have watched and then give them a score from 1 – 10.



한국 다큐멘터리 “산다” 2014 캐나다 국제 노동 영화제 (CLiFF) 초청

05 November, 2014, For Immediate Release

2014 캐나다 국제 노동 영화(CLiFF) 주목할 만한 영화로

한국 다큐멘터리 <> 초청

  • 11월 22일(토), 오후2시 ~ 5시
  • 노스욕 시빅센터 카운슬 챔버스 (5100 Yonge St. Toronto, ON M2N5W4)

살기 위해 일하나? 일하기 위해 사나? 란 질문을 던지며 한국 근로자들의 삶 속으로 들어간 다큐멘터리 영화가 토론토에 온다. 2014 캐나다 국제 노동영화제 Canadian Labour International Film Festival(CLiFF)는 주목할만한 영화로 한국 다큐멘터리 영화 “<산다: Surviving>”를 선정하고 토론토에서 한인커뮤니티를 주 대상으로 하는 상영회를 별도로 연다.

“산다”는 한국의 통신 서비스 대기업에서 근무하는 기사들의 삶과 투쟁을 다룬 것으로 레미콘 노동자들의 이야기 <노동자가 아니다>(2004), 일용직 건설노동자들의 현실을 담은 <노가다>(2005), 이랜드 비정규직 여성노동자들의 510일간의 투쟁을 기록한 <외박>(2009) 등 노동문제에 깊이 천착해 온 김미례 감독의 4번째 장편 다큐멘터리다. 김감독은 “8,90년대 노동자 대투쟁의 경험이 있는 중년의 정규직 노동자들이 명예퇴직이라는 이름으로 강요되는 퇴직, 이 선택의 기로에서 떠나거나 복종하지 않고, 유쾌하게 저항을 해나가는 이들. 나는 여기서 패배 이후 남겨진 이들이 어떻게 살아가며, 어떻게 삶을 지켜나가고 노력하는지 영화로 만들어 보고 싶어졌다.” 라고 제작동기를 밝혔다. 한국의 자살률이 OECD국가 중에서 가장 높으며 50대 자살률이 해마다 증가하는 이유를 한국의 노동인권 탄압과 노동운동의 무력화의 연관성에 대한 깊은 고민이 감독을 이끈 것. “산다”의 이야기는 한국의 대기업 통신사만의 문제는 아니라는 것이다. 영화는 대기업뿐만 아니라 한국 사회와 기업현장 전반에서 정교하게 일어하는 노동인권탄압의 문제에 대해 주목하고 공감할 필요가 있음을 보여준다.

제5회 DMZ국제다큐멘터리영화제 최우수 한국 다큐멘터리상 수상하였고 2014 아시아 태평양 스크린 어워드 최우수 다큐멘터리 영화 부분 후보에 올라있을 만큼 기대를 받고 있는 작품으로 제18회 부산 국제영화제, 제10회 두바이 국제영화제, 서울독립영화제 2013 등 국내외 유수의 영화제 다큐멘터리 경쟁부분에서도 큰 관심 속에 상영되었다.

이번 특별 상영회는 토론토 대학 한국학 연구소, Workplace Learning and Social Change(OISE), 노조 Unifor, 한인진보네트워크 희망21, 토론토한국영화제(TKFF) 등 토론토 현지의 여러 학교와 단체들의 후원으로 진행되고 있어 다양한 토론토 한인 관객들의 참여가 기대된다.

영화 상영 후 이어질 관객과의 대화에는 김미례 감독과 함께 영화 속 인물인 KT 새노조 이해관 대변인이 직접 참석해 영화에 나타난 한국-캐나다의 노동인권 문제에 대해 대화를 나눌 예정이다. 또한 이민숙 다큐멘터리영화 감독이 “산다” 특별상영회 사회를 맡아 진행한다. 토론토를 기반으로 노동인권, 환경문제, 젠더 등의 주제를 영화로 다뤄온 이민숙 감독은 캐나다에서 손꼽히는 다큐멘터리 감독 중 한 명으로서 ‘호랑이 정신(Tiger Spirit)’으로 제24회 제미나이 최우수 다큐상을, ‘진짜 거친 녀석들 (The Real Inglorious Bastards)’로 2014 Canadian Screen Award for Best History Program을 수상한 바 있다.

11월 22일 (토) 오후 2시부터 노스욕 시빅센터 카운슬 챔버스 (5100 Yonge St)에서 상영되며 자세한 내용은 CLiFF 누리집, 페이스북(Facebook) 페이지 (영화”산다”, Doc”Sanda-Surviving”), 트위터(Twitter @labourfilms)등을 통해서 확인할 수 있다.


이 보도자료와 관련하여 보다 자세한 내용이나 김미례 감독과 이해관 대변인 혹은 이민숙 감독의 언론 인터뷰를 원하시면 아래 연락처로 연락 주시기 바랍니다.


한국어: 최 진 (647-461-4919 /
영 어: 프랭크 삽텔 Frank Saptel (416-579-0481 /


Toronto Programme – Please download

Attached is the Programme Booklet for the Toronto screening. The main Toronto screening will be at:

Saturday 15 November, 2014 and Sunday, 16 November, 2014
Carlton Cinema, Auditorium #8
20 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 2H5
Phone:+1 416-598-5454
TIME: 1:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Location Coordinators – Nav Sidhu, Sara Jaffri


Poster Template for Location Co-ordinators

Hello to all Location Co-odinators,

thanks again for hosting a CLiFF Location and being part of this national labour education collaborative effort. Participating in CLiFF is a powerful way to spread the message of workers and worker justice through the powerful medium of film/video. We appreciate your solidarity.

Some of you have been asking for a poster template and here it is. The files are in MicroSoft Word and RTF formats. If you have any trouble using the files, please let us know. We are also attaching the header graphic and the Wheelchair Accessible logo.

In solidarity

CLiFF 2014 Board of Directors

RTF FILE Generic Poster CLiFF 2014
DOCX File Generic Poster CLiFF 2014

Wheelchair Logo

CLiFF banner 

SANDA – Special Screening

CLiFF is proud to have a special screening of Sanda, the story of Korea Telecom workers

Sanda (Surviving)
Mire Kim. Korean with English subtitles. 93:00. Korea.
Sanda chronicles the daily lives of a group of middle-aged workers in Korea Telecom, revealing that sometimes living can be reduced to scraping by. This timely documentary also serves as a window into the labour movement in contemporary Korea.


Co-Sponsored by CLiFF • HOPE21 • Munk School of Global Affairs, Centre for the Study of Korea at the Asian Institute, University of Toronto • Workplace Learning and Social Change, OISE/University of Toronto • Toronto Korean Film Festival

Saturday, 22 November, 2014
Council Chambers, North York Civic Centre,
5100 Yonge Street, M2N 5V7 Toronto
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location Coordinators – Choong-ho Park, Jihye Chun, Jin Choi, Yukyung Kim-Cho, Kiran Mirchandani

There will be a panel discussion and a Q&A with the filmmaker, Mi Re Kim after the screening.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC • (Wheelchair accessible)