Korean filmmaker Chin Won-suk aired his 13-minute film "992" at Macworld -- the world's largest exhibition featuring the latest Apple products -- in San Francisco on Jan. 27. The short feature was filmed on the latest version of the iPhone, some five years after the first version of the best-selling handset was released.
The short is named after the New Balance running shoes favored by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Until 2009, Apple used Macworld to unveil its latest products, and Jobs regularly took to the stage to present his latest gadgets to the world.
This year's event was the first to be held after Jobs' death, and four movie directors were asked to make a film about the late CEO using the iPhone 4S. Chin was the only Korean director to be invited. He said, "Macworld did not set a theme, but I naturally felt that a movie shown on the very stage Jobs used to stand on, and filmed using his last creation, should be dedicated to him."
"992," starring Lee Yoon-ji and Kim Eui-sung, was filmed in just two days and was based on Chin's own experiences. Chin planned to dress up as Jobs for a Halloween party last year and went to numerous stores in search of a pair of New Balance 992s, but failed to find any. Likewise, the movie comically depicts the quest of a Korean fan of Jobs as he searches for the elusive sneakers in a bid to emulate the tech guru at a Halloween party.
Chin studied French Literature at Seoul's prestigious Yonsei University before leaving the capital to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York. His debut work, "Too Tired to Die," was released in 1998 starring Kim Hye-soo, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Mira Sorvino, but was not a box office success.
He used the iPhone as a professional working tool for the first time while filming in San Francisco in 2008, and turned to the iPhone 4 in 2010 to record a music video for singer Yang Jin-suk. Hundreds of thousands of people saw the music video, which was also featured on ABC News. This led to his invitation to present a new artistic creation at Macworld.
Chin said, "I not only used the iPhone 4S, but also turned to social networking sites to make '992.'" He raised W5 million (US$1=W1,126), or half of the total production budget, through donations gathered on such sites, and the 20 extras who appear in the Halloween party scene were recruited via Facebook. New Balance Korea also supplied him with a used pair of 992s.
"I respect Jobs in the same way that musicians respect the Beatles," he said. "He worked for the IT industry, but he respected the humanities and the arts."
"Jobs created products that fused art and technology. He not only changed the world with his creative ideas, but also inspired people given his humble background as an adoptee and college dropout," he said. "Now, anyone can make a movie using an iPhone."
"992" will air at midnight on Feb. 24 on streaming service sites including YouTube."Why Feb. 24? That's Jobs' birthday," Chin said.