Film production

I’ve spent a season diving into several production teams for commercial and art films, handling various roles such as field and on-set recording and mixing, music licensing, second assistant camera (with the slate and all), art direction, and data wrangling part of DIT. Two of the pieces below are directed by Jang Minseung (photographer and filmmaker) and Jung Jaeil (composer for Squid Game and Parasite… I didn’t know who he was until much later!).

Two pieces are commissioned by the National Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea (MMCA), on display in November 2021 and April 2022.

Commissioned by the Office of the President, Republic of Korea for the Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals (P4G) conference, narrated by Jane Goodall specifically for this project.

“humans are not the only beings on the planet with personalities, with minds capable of solving problems and, above all, with emotions; feelings of happiness, sadness, fear, despair, anger and certainly feeling pain.

“We now know that we are part of the animal kingdom. and yet, we, the most intellectual creature to ever walk the planet are destroying our only home. It is our only home. The sad thing is that, in large part, we brought it on ourselves, by our absolute disrespect of animals and the natural world.

“The terrible wildfires all around the world now. And also the loss of biodiversity. We are destroying the two main lungs of the world: the forests and the oceans. The things is that, we are part of the natural world. We depend on it for food, water, for everything. It’s healthy ecosystems that we depend on and these healthy ecosystems are comprised of the interrelated plant and animal species that make up the biodiversity of an ecosystem. I call it the tapestry of life.

“There is hope but there is hope only if we get together to take positive action. We need to get together now.”

Jane Goodall

Commissioned by the Office of the President to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the May 18th 1980 Gwangju Uprising and Massacre, the seeds that were sown to restore democracy to Korea within the decade.

Filming took place in largely forgotten historical sites in Gwangju, such as the prison where captured citizens were held and the military hospital where the missing were last seen.

Animated images adapted from woodprints by Tomiyama Taeko (富山妙子), “a Japanese visual artist and writer whose work addressed the moral, emotional, and social issues related to nationalist, patriarchal, colonial, and post-colonial power structures in East Asia”, originally produced in the immediate aftermath in 1980 and was instrumental in making the struggle known around the world.

Music blends regional music used in purification rites honoring the dead, with the underground anthem first written to honor two martyred souls in a posthumous wedding, spread through the years by bootleg tapes and secret meetings.

Presented as a live choir performance and on-site projection in the square where much of the resistance took place.

Art Direction, research, equipment management, DIT, Foley work, translation

Cheoyongmu 처용무 is one of the oldest recorded Korean dances, preserved for more than a millennia in the royal court as a rite of purification. The five dancers reflect the five cardinal directions, each represented by five elemental colors. 

The mask worn by the dancers featuring a rather distinct visage represents the face of a man recorded in history, an honored sea-faring visitor to present-day Ulsan, welcomed into the court of the king of Shilla신라. The original story recorded in the Samguk-yusa (삼국유사, Tales of Three Kingdoms) speaks of an unexpected response of mercy and of restraint in the face of indignity and loss, and records the song he sings at the sight of his wife’s infidelity.

The song in the finale is titled Beth, inspired from the acrostic psalm written with each line starting with the Hebrew letter bet (ב) which begins by asking the question, “How can a man keep his way pure?” The lyrics begin with a reflection upon the events leading up to the world’s first murder recorded in Genesis and end with mourning the 26 souls lost to the vengeful rage of one man in Texas in 2017, who failed to walk in the same restraint.

Sublimation is a 2021 project commissioned by the MMCA and produced by filmmaker Stone Johnston with the cooperation from the National Dance Company of the National Theatre, Korea, culminating in an immersion experience for the 2022 exhibition Praise of Life. All location scenes were filmed in the industrial port-city of Ulsan, Korea.

Description written by Berm Lee (also in Korean) for the project