Wednesday, August 7, 2013

KOFFIA Short Film Comp Interview: "0.5" with Richard Kim

Check out our exclusive interview with KOFFIA 2013 Short Film Competition finalist Richard Kim below! Buy your tickets to what will be an exciting short film session, screening August 25th in Sydney!

1. What / Who inspired you to join this competition? Why did you get into filmmaking? 
I have always wanted to participate in KOFFIA and in the short film competition, the opportunity only came about this year when I finally got off my behind. The inspiration came from those around me, they told me I wasn’t getting any younger so I figured that I really should start doing what I have always wanted to do; to make films. I suppose the moment I wanted to be a film director was when I watched Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan then the dream was solidified when I watched Park Chan Wook’s Oldboy but it was always a childish dream. That is, until I was 23 when I dropped out of my engineering degree and pursued media/film. My parents disowned me for a while. True story. 

2. Can you tell us more about your film? What made you want to tell such a story?
The film is loosely based on true stories between my friends and myself, it is also a story that people can familiarise if you’re 0.5 generation. For me, the film plays a little like a documentary, a collage of conversations and events that occur on almost weekly basis between my friends and I. It has to be said that I wanted to make this film because I felt the theme fits well with the festival, to tell an inside story of being a Korean that has spent most of their lives in Australia and know the cultural boundaries between the different races and even within Koreans. But it just ends up being an ambiguous night of “will something happen?” but nothing really happens on a night in Sydney.

3. What's the main cultural difference between Koreans and Australians? Are there any common behaviour?
The common behaviour is just generally the common trait of any human beings; the value of friendship, love, money and the struggle that each and everyone of us face in order to survive and succeed. Suffice to say, the difference comes from perspectives and roots of tradition. Koreans are very respectful and headstrong people where as Australians also value the spirit of the underdog however we still communicate differently, perceive each other differently and also live differently. I suppose there are elements within Korean culture like eating pork belly and downing shots of soju that feels like home to me as opposed to drinking beer and eating steak. Having said that, the list goes on with the differences between two cultures and my short film, as premature as it maybe, portrays a micro scale of difference of the great divide that stands between the cultures. 

4. What're the difficulties for those classified into the 0.5 generation living in either Australia and Korea? 
The cultural identity crisis is a main one, whether you’re Australian or Korean, some people make a hybrid definition stating that they’re Kozzies. I suppose adapting and accepting where you stand in the scheme of things is difficult and that you always have to be self aware that you’re just an Oriental amongst the Whites. There are also times where you really have to prove yourself to get noticed. There are also the silly issues between Koreans who have just come from overseas to those who live here, there is tension between the two sides and envy as well. Overall, I think just finding out where you stand culturally and socially is the hardest part. 

5. More Koreans are to staying / working in Australia recently, if you could give them any advice what would it be?
Know that some of the actions you take in a foreign place can change an entire perspective about a race, as shallow as that may sound it is true. But don’t bear the gravity of nation’s image upon your shoulders and try to educate the mass on how great Korea is. Just embrace new ideas and concepts but don’t get too headstrong and enforce Korean life style in Australia. Learn to overlook things and take things on patiently and one by one. It’s a clichéd advice but sometimes the oldest saying is the one that is true.

6. Were there any difficulties during the entire shooting? Which part did you enjoy most and why? 
I’ve never directed before, not even in school and I had to take this project through with minimal experience and budget. But that goes for everyone in the film, no actor has acted before or have done cinematography professionally, it was a very unorganised process due to lack of experience. The hardest part though, for actors to comprehend and act out characters that were foreign to them. Most of my crew and actors are on their Working VISA and suffice to say they didn’t understand the script and what I had envisioned. That’s probably my fault considering how unorganised I was and had little time to work with to really pull the film up to where I wanted it to be. I think seeing the final product and knowing where I can improve on and could have prevented is also another hard part for myself. Despite what I have said above, my crew was the best crew I could ask for. They “trusted” me or so I hope, through this film and we had an amazing time. I met up with my crew on a weekly basis so I can tailor the characters towards them rather than the other way around. The entire shoot despite how stressed, tired and restless we were, had a vibrant atmosphere.

Thanks to Richard Kim for the interview

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