“Is he too good to be a new director?”
With Jury, KIM Dong-ho, Honorary Director of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), embarks on a mission to direct a movie about his life in the film industry
Honorary Director of BIFF, KIM Dong-ho never stops challenging himself and his passion never diminishes. He is the central figure that helped BIFF grow beyond its status as a regional Asian festival to become a world-class film event. As he once said, “I want to try directing a film after I retire,” his dream has finally come true. His pure affection for film, which has grown while meeting directors, actors, producers and critics at various renowned international film festivals, was the driving force behind the creation of Jury. Although he was a complete rookie, he already had film knowledge as deep as any expert director. Any cineaste in the world that knows KIM Dong-ho will welcome this fresh piece of news.
KIM has finally started his new career as a director. Shown at the Art Sonje Center, Jury debuted on July 10th. Meant to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Asiana International Short Film Festival (AISFF), Jury was invited as AISFF’s opening film. KIM took what he has experienced as a jury member at countless film festivals and mixed it into this autobiographical film. As the title says, this is a film about a jury. In addition to the Korean film stars AHN Sung-ki, KANG Soo-yeon and JUNG In-gi, British film critic Tony RAYNS and the head of Japan’s Image Forum, TOMIYAMA Katsu are going to star in the film as members of the titular jury.
The staff is full of other stars as well. Director KANG Woo-suk is the editor, director KIM Tae-yong is the assistant director and cinematographer KIM Hyeong-gu is the director of photography for Jury. One day, they shot a scene where the jury leaves the building after a round of discussion. KIM said, “This is a very important scene because KIM Hyeong-gu was nagging me a lot during the shoot.” The site was very crowded. KIM Dong-ho stood still focusing on the monitor and talked with director KIM Tae-yong before he continued directing. It didn’t unfamiliar to see him shout “Cut!” into the radio, but he was by no means less effective than any young director when managing the film site. He was good enough to prove director IM Kwon-taek right when he said, “A new director is supposed to be clumsy, but he is just way too good.”
1 “Cut!” KIM gives direction through the radio. He was very careful in checking actors’ motions in the monitor.
2 “Please stay close together when coming to the front.” Director of photography KIM Hyeong-gu is talking with actors during a rehearsal.
3 “This is way too artificial. Why don’t we change the angle?” director KIM Tae-yong participated in the filming as an assistant director.
4 Jury members AHN Sung-ki, KANG Soo-yeon, JUNG In-gi, Tony RAYNS and TOMIYAMA Katsu pose before shooting starts.
Honorary Director of BIFF KIM Dong-ho, AHN Sung-ki and KANG Soo-yeon
“Is he too good to be a new director?”
How do you feel directing your first film?
KIM: Since I finished working at BIFF, I have always thought I would make at least one film. Luckily enough, I received a suggestion from AISFF (to make a short film), which I gladly accepted because that was what I had dreamed of already. Making my first film, I am honored and feel pressure at the same time. If I mess up with this film with the help of these professional staff members and actors, who are already known overseas, I will be laughed at.
How did the casting go?
KIM: AHN Sung-ki is the festival director of AISFF. I told him to work very hard because I didn’t have a big enough budget. KANG Soo-yeon and I have known each other very well since 1988. I couldn’t complain at all to have her in my film because AHN and KANG have worked together several times before and she is a good actress. I asked Tony RAYNS to cover his own flight ticket due to the budget matter again.
What did you want to say through this film?
KIM: I have been to a number of international film festivals as a jury member. I probably have more experience than anyone else. However, it is always stressful to work at a foreign film festival especially because I don’t speak English well enough. Yet in fact, the linguistic barrier doesn’t really interfere with me when I have to evaluate films. Sometimes when I have an intense and passionate discussion, I see the process as harmonization. In my opinion, a jury is a group of people who make a film festival a festival. And I think this reflects life. This is the idea I wanted to melt into the film.
Considering that you three are good friends, I can guess the atmosphere at the shooting site is good. Am I correct?
KANG: As a matter of fact, director IM Kwon-taek visited our site this morning to play a cameo role. He joked, “A new director is supposed to be clumsy, but he is just way too good.”
AHN: We are half way through after today, and it has gone pretty well so far. Maybe by virtue of charity from many talented people, the air is good. KANG and I had to get our hair cut for our roles, but it didn’t bother us because we love this work. I hope the results are also good.
How would you describe your character in the film?
AHN: I play the very indecisive foreman of a jury. He listens to one side and agrees with them. Then he listens to the other side and nods again.
KIM: AHN is actually extremely indecisive. I think both of the characters match the actors portraying them very well.
KANG: How can you say that? I play the role of an actress who has a very strong character. She also has a very appealing appearance.
KIM, did you have any difficulty getting accustomed to the new position?
KIM: At first, I felt awkward saying “Ready and action”. Sometimes the director of photography KIM Hyeong-gu scolded me for saying “Cut” when I was not supposed to.
Do you have any plans for a feature film? If so, what kind of film do you want to make?KIM: I have met a lot of master directors at foreign film festivals. I want to visualize themes they have an interest in. I would make a sort of documentary film about master directors on location. For example, it will be good if I had an interview with director HOU Hsiao-hsien or KITANO Takeshi about how they want to express the theme of ‘love’.
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