Every year, on the second Thursday of November, South Korea is put to the test. More than half a million senior high school students take part in the National University Exam, better known as the Suneung. The exam will not only determine where the students will attend university, but ultimately their status in Korea’s hierarchical society. The competition is fierce—even with near-perfect scores, only 0.01% of applicants are accepted into these widely respected institutions.
In this joint production between Korea and Belgium, directors Wooyoung Choi and Steven Dhoedt follow three students preparing for the Suneung. The lengths to which the students and parents will go for this test are extreme, and their dedication and sacrifice is unparalleled. The role of the media is significant, providing a continuous stream of coverage on exam day. A documentary on the pursuit for perfection, Reach for the Sky will keep viewers at the edge of their seats, as they feel the students’ gut-wrenching pressure to achieve excellence and earn their place in society.
Steven Dhoedt & Choi Wooyoung
Steven Dhoedt is a Belgian director, producer and cinematographer. In 2003, he founded a production company Visualantics, specializing in creative documentaries, fiction and new media. Focusing on current affairs and subcultures, his work has screened at several international film festivals.
Wooyoung Choi is a freelance director from South Korea. He has worked on over 15 big television productions and directed his first feature-length documentary Soul Performance Gut in 2007, which received critical acclaim. His first international documentary, Here Comes Uncle Joe, was released in 2010.
Busan International Film Festival 2015