Reach for the SKY

In South Korea, once a year the Suneung test stops the whole country in its tracks. The scholastic ability test is so important that nothing is allowed to disturb the proceedings. During the English listening test even the airspace is shut down and the planes grounded. The future of thousands is at stake, so not even the slightest disturbance is allowed. During the test, families and relatives flock to churches and temples to pray and honour Buddha.

In South Korea, Suneung test determines the students that gain entry to the most respected universities. If you want into one of the top schools, you must have a perfect test score. In the hierarchical society, entering a good university is often the only way to climb up the social ladder and advance beyond the social position of your parents. Everything depends on the Suneung test and the pressure to succeed is enormous. The government is desperately trying to control the side effects, such as the growing demand for private teachers.

Reach for the SKY follows three young students preparing for the test: Hye-in, Hyaon-wha and Minjoon. Some of them are already trying their luck for the second time. If students fail at the test, they have to enter one of the lesser universities or study one more year to try again. Reach for the SKY is an eye-opening film about the education system and the people living at its mercy.

Taina Vuokko / Translation: Tuomo Karvonen

Language: Korean

Subtitles: English


  • Director: Steven Dhoedt, Choi Wooyoung
  • Country: Belgium, South Korea
  • Year: 2015
  • Length: 90 min
  • Age limit: S
  • Format: DCP
  • Cinematography: Steven Dhoedt
  • Editing: Gert Van Berckelaer
  • Audio: Raf Enckels
  • Music: Regina Lok Yan To
  • Production: Sinae Ha, Gert Van Berckelaer / Boda Media Group, Steven Dhoedt / Visualantics


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