What does a rising documentarian see when he comes to St. Louis from Tokyo? ‘A divided city’ | St. Louis Public Radio

What does a rising documentarian see when he comes to St. Louis from Tokyo? ‘A divided city’

Jul 15, 2016

When Jun Bae, originally from Tokyo, Japan, first came to Washington University, he didn’t come to make documentaries. And then the protests in Ferguson following the police-shooting death of Michael Brown happened. Because of that, Bae, now a graduate of the university, entered into the world of photojournalism.

What he saw? “A divided city,” Bae told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter. Bae said he sees this division in schools and resources that are divided unequally, but most blatantly in the look of the city itself.

“It’s a city rich in history and it has been going through a lot of changes,” Bae continued. “For someone who didn’t know a lot about St. Louis, the city is most understandable for me to see it is a divided city because of the way it changes visually.”

Now a rising documentarian with an entry in this year’s St. Louis Filmmaker’s Showcase, Bae has become a fixture in the visual make up of St. Louis himself. He has two entries in the festival: one, a documentary short called “Exodus,” which focuses on the neighborhood impacted by the future NGA facility in north St. Louis.

Related: A church in the proposed NGA footprint: Congregation says goodbye

The other, a documentary profile of the man who first exposed Bae to the history and reasons behind St. Louis’ division: Bob Hansman, a beloved architecture professor at Washington University, who takes students on bus tours of the city to help them understand. The 74 min. documentary is called “Bob’s Tour: Understanding What We Don’t See.”

“He takes a look at [the city] not just as something you can see on the surface,” Bae said. “He goes through historical relevance over time.”

Bae’s work as a documentary filmmaker in St. Louis is defined by the perspective of an outsider-looking-in, something Chris Clark, the artistic director of Cinema St. Louis, said is an important perspective for the St. Louis Filmmaker’s Showcase.

Chris Clark and Jun Bae.
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“I’ve grown up here and other St. Louisans we sort of just accept it as the way it is and forget about what once was,” Clark said. “Jun comes in from a different perspective, not even from this country, and looks at things that are really glaring and in your face.”

That’s in line with the mission of the showcase as a whole, running July 17-21, which only requires the films have some “strong St. Louis connection.”

“My hope for the documentaries that I’ve been doing is to make people rethink about where they live in,” Bae said. “A lot of times, if you grow up here, you get used to the things you see in the city. From my perspective, a lot of the things that I see are eye-opening and shocking. I wanted to convey that and give a new perspective to the people who live here.”

Related Events

What: 2016 St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase
When: July 17-21, 2016
Where: Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Blvd,, St. Louis MO 63130
More information.

What: St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase Presents "Bobs Tour - Understanding What We See"
When: Monday, July 18 at 7 p.m.
Where: Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Blvd,, St. Louis MO 63130
More information.

What: St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase Presents "Doc Shorts 2" including "Exodus" 
When: Sunday, July 17 at 4:15 p.m.
Where: Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Blvd,, St. Louis MO 63130
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.