Directors Award Honoring Bong Joon Ho

Reviewed by Cate Herrell. Viewed at the SBIFF 2020.

Image result for directors award sbiff 2020 bongBong Joon-Ho, famed Korean director, is a creative mastermind, with fantastic works such as The Host (2006), Mother (2009), Snowpiercer (2014), Okja (2017), and most recently, Parasite (2019) under his belt. Being able to sit down and watch as Joon-Ho and his wonderful translator Sharon Choi tell us incredible stories was a treat to me, and his sweet, infectious personality truly stole the show. 

During the very informative Q&A, Joon-Ho made it known that his passion for film sparked early on in his childhood, while growing up in South Korea. He spoke about the fact that he rarely went outside as a child, as his family wasn’t into any sports or outdoor activities due to his mother’s fear of germs, so he would spend more time than the average kid indoors watching film and television. He started making his first short films while attending university, and from there his career slowly started to take off. The Q&A was split into different sections where Joon-Ho discussed each of the films he has directed over his career with moderator Scott Fineberg. The conversation had a very laid-back and light hearted tone, and Joon Ho’s personality was able to shine in such a setting, making the crowd erupt with laughter on multiple occasions.

Every clip shown that night absolutely blew me away. Experiencing just a taste of Joon-Ho’s incredible range of work was enough to draw everybody in. I would be watching a clip, and then as soon it was over, I would think to myself, “they should have just kept on rolling”. Some clips even gave me chills. 

When talking about his creative process, it was clear that he was very adamant on story-boarding all of his films, so essentially all the shots, colors, movements… etc carry meaning and are handled with intention. He has a strong vision, and he knows exactly what he wants for each and every scene in his movies. He is also known for not shooting any “coverage” while shooting, which would allow the editors to mix and match different shots and angles. When asked about the subject, he made it clear that he could not have anyone messing with his movie in the editing process (he was very light and entertaining about this). Joon-Ho also talked about how he didn’t like to do formal auditions while casting, and would regularly attend shows to find potential actors, or study their previous work. rather than having them come in and trying out for the role. He says he finds the process of auditioning to be very awkward, and prefers to scout out people that fit his vision. 

Overall, the night flowed extremely well as Joon-Ho, Choi, and Fineberg gave us a great conversation, stock full of insight and knowledge about what it can be like directing a movie, with many laughs as well. I can not wait to see what the future awaits for him, as he continues to work hard, make magic, and entertain us all with creative, captivating films. 

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