This week on East West we meet two exceptional South Africans who came over as English teachers but have since successfully pursued other avenues in Korea. Cape Town filmmaker Raoul Dyssell takes us for a walk around the palace walls while we chat about his second feature film. We feel a little Ubuntu love as we visit his wife Lucy’s knitting and crochet store. Then we are off for a glass of wine with Tobias who imports South Africa’s finest wines to Korea for the drinking pleasure of the masses. The nice thing about Seoul I just this little alley that and I walked down from the main road just just just coming up here on your left you’re gonna get an art gallery You know it’s it’s just it’s interesting to get this traditional architecture blended with, you know modern, and at times postmodern architecture. We take five for coffee while Raoul tells us about the journey to becoming the CEO behind Roll the Dice production company that boasts with numerous advertisements, music videos, including the official Happy Seoul video and now, a second feature film Ok so, I’m from Cape Town I grew up in a mixed family.
I grew up with the freedom to choose whatever I want to be. When I was 11 and I got my first camera I didn’t get the camera because I wanted to be a filmmaker one day. I got the camera because I wanted a camera. You don’t think that that’s what you want to be. It comes naturally to you. I wanted to be a storyteller. Film is the best medium on which to express passion of telling stories in my opinion you know the visual media because I think incorperates both writing because I’m a screenwriter and obviously capturing what you write on the screen You know I love being surrounded by people from everywhere that are trying to become something… that have ambition that are aspiring to be good or great at something It’s it’s it’s motivating. Anyway, so I went to film school. I studied film and media I decided that I was going to go to Korea make a movie I decided that about 18 19 years old I just wanted to go and make stuff. I really just wanted to be out but I knew the value of the piece of paper that you get from university.
That piece of paper gives you access. The first thing I did was I wanted to find out if there are any other expats here that want to make movies I find out that there’s a workshop called the Seoul film makers workshop The guy that I… that ran the workshop is name was Sonny; he became one of my best friends and he and I would go on to co-write co-direct my first feature file which is called Amiss I think that Seoul has turned me into the man that I’m going to be for the rest of my life And that over there is my wife shop Poco Grande. It’s a handmade knitting shop She teaches classes and she probably creates the most original art as far as knitting goes in this entire city This is Lucy my wife This is like something some project that can support African ladies who doesn’t have, you don’t have any job.
So they knit and make these kind of dolls They sell it so they can survive. So they can have a job So your mother in law, Raoul’s mom… Yes, she contacted this company. She helped me a lot with this. these are from Africa. And, so how much to sell these for? 25 thousand won 25 dollars. Yeah and then you send it back to Africa? It is… When I by these dolls it’s all included in the fee. I see what you mean, so you buy them in resell them. yes right Look at these! We’ve almost got the big five here and yeah you can see here the lady this is Gertrude your shamwari was knitted by Gertrude and then it tells you that the… and people in Korea cannot see these kind of like wild animals yeah so, they love it but they only can see rabbits or dogs or cats but not buffalo.
Just like South Africans Koreans love their BBQ. Raoul and Lucy take us out for traditional Korean braai. Samgyeopsal Everyone around the table pitches in and helps to braai the pork strips to delicious, golden perfection while enjoying a lot of soju and makgeolli… Different but definitely a must try if you come to Korea If you order just one meal, you will get all the side dishes for free Next we enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms as we walk through the streets of Seoul to meet Tobias at The Workshop, a pop-up bar created in an old mechanic shop not far from Itaewon He gives us sneak peek into the workings of his wine in a keg concept and talks to us about the business of importing South African wines to Asia Inspired by its namesake in Stellenbosch Tobias opened The Hidden Cellar in Seoul using the bottle store concept from back home Customers grab a seat around the tables in the cellar and help themselves to their favorite drinks and snacks from the shelves.
Tobias’ understanding of the Korean way of socializing, their love for good food and wine mixed with his own passion for South African wines turned out to be a winning recipe for his business model When not at the bar or restaurant Tobias is involved with several other proudly South African initiatives such as the South African Korean Chamber of Commerce and the annual Castle braai camp that brings South Africans in Korea together for a bit of home away from home