Friday, August 9, 2013

KOFFIA Short Film Comp Interview: "Double Truth" with Julius Lee

Check out our exclusive interview with KOFFIA 2013 Short Film Competition finalist Julius Lee 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 joined the competition for a number of reasons. One of them was I felt the KOFFIA Short Film Competition was the ideal place to put forth my film which explores the subject of cultural diversity and the conflict it can produce. I’ve always wanted to enter one of my films into a competition and I felt Double Truth was the first film I made which I was confident with and did not hesitate to share with others. And recently I’ve wanted to learn more about my Korean heritage which I honestly did not take much interest in when I was younger. I want to learn more about the culture, the history, the people and its cinema which has grown in international appeal in recent years. 

2. Can you tell us more about your film? What made you want to tell such a story? 
Throughout my life I have always possessed this inner-conflict between my Korean heritage and my Australian/Westernised upbringing. I always struggled to fit in with a group of native Koreans or Australians. Obviously my Westernised upbringing and personality creates a cultural barrier when trying to get close to a Korean and at the same time I often feel rejected by White Australians due to my ethnicity. At times I didn’t know where the hell to turn to. One hot summer day, I discovered and watched Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing on my laptop and it hit me hard. I was able to relate to the film’s subject matter at its core and I too wanted to express the unspoken conflict of race in our country. That film was like a breath of fresh air to how I observe certain issues and present them. 

3. Why did you choose to make it a black & white film? 
I chose to present it in black and white to immediately highlight the differentiation of race. The contrast between black and white is an abstraction of cultural and ethnic conflict. The lack of colour also reinforces the intolerance and the opposition to true diversity. It supports the recurring concept within Australian cinema’s exploration of racial conflict, the idea of “us and them” or “us and the other”. Multiculturalism, tolerance and diversity are often discouraged in the favour of rejection, assimilation and discrimination. 

4. The girl is offering a boy an origami rose, why did you choose the origami rose other than another object? Does this imply anything? 
The rose itself is accepted as a universal symbol of affection and love when presented to another person. She is communicating to him her feelings in a way which is universally understood. The idea behind origami is not a direct reference to Japanese culture. Origami itself is perceived to be an activity quite common in Asian culture. It symbolises her willingness to show and give him the culture and identity she retains and wants to share directly. 

5. The film seems to be quite sad and is called "Double Truth", what's the key message? 
The title Double Truth refers to two opposing truths or a “dual personality” present within her. One of the truths is she is proud of her heritage and her cultural background. She is accepted by her own people, her family and friends. In other words, the minority. She is proud of it. The other truth is that she isn’t proud of it. Her upbringing in a society different to her own heritage encourages a self-imposed assimilation in order to try and fit in. No matter how “white” she may present herself, she can never shake off her heritage. 

6. Were there any difficulties during the entire shooting? Which part did you enjoy most and why? 
The initial process of building the concept and making sure the idea was clear enough to be able to be presented visually was perhaps the most difficult aspect. Even while shooting on the first day of production, I constantly changed the idea in my head as I wasn’t satisfied with what I was shooting. I went into completely a different direction on the next shoot day.

Thanks to Julius Lee for the interview!

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