After The Sewol – The Story of The Tragic Sewol Ferry Disaster

During my last stint working in South Korea I met a guy named Matt, who hails from the same neck of the woods in England as me. Matt is a movie/documentary director, and is currently putting together a film about the horrific 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, in which 304 people died in tragic circumstances, most of them school children.

Like all indie creatives Matt needs some help to tell this unimaginably painful story, and I’m sharing his words and images here in order to help him reach his goals and share the tragedy with the world.

A Trailer

Background (배경)

On the morning of April 16, 2014, the South Korean passenger ferry, Sewol, capsized and sank  en-route from Incheon to Jeju Island. The majority of the 476 passengers were High School Students. Of those passengers, 304 of them died in the tragedy. The world paid attention to a nation in mourning.

In the weeks following the tragedy, bodies were slowly recovered for burial. Today 9 bodies still remain trapped inside of the sunken Sewol ferry.

The families of the victims and members of public have campaigned for the sunken ferry to be lifted from the ocean floor. It being there insures that the bodies remain uncovered and the incident un-investigated.

It is believed that without a full investigation many questions and issues are unanswered and unresolved in an incident that shocked an entire nation and caused the death of hundreds of children.



The Sewol

What are we raising money for?

So far we have undergone countless hours of filming for this project, which have been funded from our own pockets. However, we are now trying to raise money to complete this feature documentary.

100% of the funds will go towards expenses such as:

  • Travel costs.
  • Accommodation.
  • Food.
  • Equipment rentals.

Whilst most of the production equipment is owned by the crew, we still need funds to pay for items such as, media storage drives and extra batteries.

Funds that go unspent will be donated to charities that have been set up to help support the families of the victims in this tragic disaster.

Even if we do not reach our funding goal, every donation will help us bring this great story one step closer to being shared with the world.


Director’s Statement (연출의도) 

The reason I want to make this documentary is because I can remember so clearly about how much it affected me as an expat living in South Korea.

I became addicted to news stations as I followed any progress that was being made with the rescue operations. However, due to the conflicting information which was being broadcast, I became very confused about this news and I’m sure I was not the only one 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.

I want to make a documentary that educates about the changes people go through when undergoing a great trauma in their lives.

As an expat who plans on staying in South Korea I feel that I should give back something to the country that has taken care of me, rather than ignoring the struggles that the citizens have gone through.

– Matt Root

Synopsis (시나리오)

Many documentaries have focused on the cause of the sinking of the Sewol and the government’s delayed response to a thorough investigation. This documentary will touch on these issues but we will take an in depth look at how the lack of response from officials and the government has really impacted the lives of those that now matter most.
After The Sewol‘ will follow three main subjects and show how and why these families are acting in order to achieve this much needed change. It also explores why members of the general public are giving up their free-time in order to promote awareness and educate about public safety.
Using the sinking of the Sewol ferry as a catalyst, the aim of this documentary to not only shed light on the suffering the victims have gone through but also to show how they have fought and struggled to be heard in trying to create change for the better.

Rewards (혜택)

We are offering some great rewards to show our appreciation to each and every one of our pledges. These include signed movie posters, T-shirts, downloadable copies of the film, VIP invites to our pre-release screening, Associate & Executive Producer credits plus MORE.

The Team (팀)

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

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

Matt’s IMDb:

Neil is an award winning producer, director and director of photography (DP) with over ten years of experience and has over 100 television credits to his name as producer, director, editor or DP.
Neil’s recent North Korean documentary, ‘While They Watched’, has won several awards around the world and been selected into 11 international film festivals as well as securing 2 global distribution contracts.
Since moving to Korea in 2011 this will be Neil’s third feature documentary.

Neil’s IMDb:

David has several years of industry experience having pitched, directed and produced multiple projects for some of the biggest artists and organisations in the world, receiving a ‘Best Director’ award, ‘Excellence in Teaching’ nomination, as well as a Meteor Music Video Award Nomination.

In 2014 David launched Script 2 Screen Media in the UK and grew rapidly into South Korea, mainland Europe and Brazil.

David’s IMDb:

Risks & Challenges (위험 요소)

With any film project there is always the possibility of running into obstacles that may stand in the way of us achieving our goal.

We have identified the main obstacles that we may be faced with and thought of how we can prevent these.

  • Language Barrier: Due to most of the crew being non-Korean natives, with limited Korean language skills, there will inevitably be some issues with communication. Therefore, we will make sure that we have at least one native Korean with us on every shoot who could translate when these issues do arise.
  • Government Interference: With other documentaries of a similar context the Korean government has tried to hinder production. In order to avoid this we will be communicating with crew and subjects through a non-Korean messaging application that the government can not access chat history to. This will ensure that we keep a low profile. Additionally, on location we will try to keep our equipment to a minimum so that we do not draw any unwanted attention to ourselves.
  • Too Much Material: We may end up with more material than we anticipate. Whilst this is a good thing as it may improve the story we aim to tell, it could also be seen as a disadvantage. More material means more translating, therefore delaying our completion date. However, to overcome this problem we are constantly sending daily rushes to our translation team who are working hard to have everything transcribed and translated for us before our next shoot.

Other ways you can help (그외 후원)

Even if you can not contribute financially, there are still ways in which we can use your help!

  • Please help us share ‘After The Sewol’ with as many people as possible.
  • The Indiegogo share tools make it easy to spread the word to your friends.

For more information visit our site or facebook page.

To donate to the production please visit or funding page:

For press contact: or

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