U.S.-Based Korean Director Brings 1st Feature Home

      July 21, 2010 07:11

      The Korean film director Sohn Soo-pum has made his name in the U.S. through a number of big film festivals around the globe. He was invited to the Cannes Film Festival in 2002, and he was a silver medalist of the 2002 Student Academy Awards. He has also won an award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

      The U.S.-based director's first feature film "Make Yourself At Home" is due to be released in Korea in September. It stars Korean actress Song Hye-kyo and was featured in the Pusan International Film Festival in 2008.

      Sohn Soo-pum

      How come his films get more attention abroad than in Korea? "Perhaps the main reason is that I studied film in the United States, so I naturally made films with funding from the school, working with American filmmakers. As my films got invited to film festivals overseas, including Cannes, I got more opportunities to work in the States," the 41-year old says.

      "Make Yourself at Home" is about a girl who was born to a shaman mother and tries to flee her fate by becoming an immigrant bride in the U.S. It's a thriller centering on her efforts to adapt to her new life. "While many Korean films introduced in the U.S. film market are about Koreans living in the States, growing up in unfamiliar surroundings by learning new language and culture, this film is more introvert, focusing on the changes to one's identity," Sohn explains.

      Making films, he says, is "a process of finding myself. I look back and wonder why I'm living in this world, and how I should live in society. The advice I have for aspiring filmmakers is that although they may have so many reasons to do it, the most important thing is to have a story to tell."

      Shooting a film requires constant collaboration between the director and the crew. "It's easy to think that all the credit for making a film goes to the director, but the director is never the only person involved in the process. I made my debut as a director after gaining hands-on experience while working as a crewmember and a director of photography on four features and 30 short films. Learning the craft is vital."

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