Headed for the Berlinale Shorts competition, young directorLEE Woo-jung talks here with LEE Hoo Kyeong about her film <Ad Balloon>.
- Photograph by Oh Kye-Ohk
A humble young filmmaker who prefaces her answers about her directing methods with “Although it’s hard to really say since I haven’t directed many films,” LEE Woo-jung is like a shy young girl, but her filmmaking is not shy.
So far, she has made a total of four shorts since 2008, mostly dealing with the psychology of young girls with imaginative portrayals of subtle emotions, gaining popularity with fans of independent films. Selected to the Berlinale Shorts competition, <Ad Balloon> is her fourth.
She says the motivation for making the film started with “memories of a time filled with unfounded rumors.”
“When I was in middle school, rumors were rampant about students at a nearby school who got into an abandoned ad balloon on the roof of a neighboring apartment and drank alcohol, played around and then fell asleep and suffocated to death. I wanted to transfer that era into a film,” she says.
In reality, a search of newspapers at the time did reveal an accident where an elementary school student in Gyeonggi Province died in a similar way, and the rumors were a false report of that. She expresses a bit of regret saying, “I recreated an unfounded rumor in a film, and now it’s no longer unfounded.”
She also worries that she “ended the film with death even though the best of my abilities aren’t yet enough to deal with death.”
Lee has also appeared in several independent films as an actress. While working as the script girl on YOON Sung-ho’s<Milky Way Liberation Front> (2007), she also appeared in the film briefly. Her charm as an actress started to shine in the medium-length film <A Trip to Gyeongju> (2010), directed by KIM Ji-hyun. She gave a cute and humorous performance as girl in her early twenties who gets on a train to historical city of Gyeongju, hoping to meet a fabulous guy. After that, she gave an unaffected performance in Yoon Sung-ho’s <Dr. Jump>.
Asked if she enjoys acting, she said, “It’s easier to be an actor waiting for the director’s orders than to be a director asking something from an actor. Actors might dislike hearing that, but I’m not a professional actor so I go [to work acting] with a really light heart.”
She says acting herself has helped her in with directing as well.
“Before, I would hide behind the camera and say, “Please change this, please change that,” easily, but now I’ve come to understand how that sounds to an actor,” she says.
Lee is currently working on a feature film script with support from the Busan International Film Festival.