Private Project

After the Sewol

On the 16th April 2014 South Korea was changed as a nation. After the days, weeks and months that followed the Sewol tragedy, the country became undone, untrusting and more divided than we have ever seen in its history.

‘After the Sewol’ explores the changing faces of this nation through the eyes of two British film makers. They talk with relatives of the victims, rescue divers and activists about their struggles and battles since this tragic accident happened and embark upon a journey to uncover how this accident came about, looking deep into Korean history about why no action was taken to prevent it in the first place.

This journey takes them all over Korea, meeting an older generation struggling to create a safer place for their children to live in and a young vibrant generation fighting for a corrupt free society.

But, all of them searching for one thing, the truth about why the Sewol victims died.

  • Matthew Root
  • Neil George
  • Neil George
    While they Watched
  • Matthew Root
  • Neil George
    While they Watched
  • Matthew Root
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Documentary, Political, Social
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Korea, Republic of
  • Country of Filming:
    Korea, Republic of, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Korean
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Matthew Root, Neil George

Matthew is a sound designer turned director who has worked on numerous productions since moving to South Korea in 2011. In Korea, Matthew has worked with clients such as Reebok, Angle Magazine, The Daegu Compass, and The Discovery Channel.

In 2014 Matthew worked as a DP for a feature documentary about the disputed islets of Dokdo.

Neil George is the producer and director of the award-winning film ‘After the Sewol’. He was born and raised in Exeter, England and has been living in South Korea since 2011 teaching film production at a media university as well as producing documentaries related to Korean society.

The producer and director of over 100 TV programmes for Sky in the 2000’s he took the decision to move to Korea when offered an opportunity to teach documentary production at a media university near Seoul and has been there ever since.

After moving to Korea he took great interest in the society and culture and found a passion for human rights film making. He produced the award-winning film, ‘While they Watched’ (2014/15), a film about North Korean defectors and after this he 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 has now spent the last 2 years working on ’After the Sewol’ and ‘Crossroads’ his latest film related to the Sewol tragedy.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The reason we wanted to make this documentary is because we both remember so clearly about how it affected us as expats living in south korea.
Matt became addicted to news stations as he followed any progress that was being made with the rescue operations. However, due to the conflicting information which was being broadcast, we both became very confused about this news and im sure we were not the only ones who felt this confusion.
Since the sinking of the sewol ferry there has been numerous informative documentaries about the cause of the sinking, but few of them have touched on the effects this tragedy has had on the people who lost their loved ones.
We wanted to make a documentary that educates about the changes people go through when undergoing a great trauma in their lives.
As expats who plan on staying in South Korea we felt that we should give something back to the country that has taken care of us, rather than ignoring the struggles that the citizens have gone through.