THE FAKE Profile: Director Yeun Sangho

The Fake is South Korean director and animator Yeun Sangho’s second feature film. His first animated films were widely acclaimed shorts, D-Day (2000); The Hell/Inferno (2003);  Love Is Protein (2009).  In 2011, he released his first animated feature, The King of Pigs, a harrowing look at bullying set in a Korean school. At Korean Film, Pierce Conran writes:

The King of Pigs takes a dark and brooding look at the harsh realities of bullying in the Korean high school system. Two friends, from poor backgrounds and with diminutive statures, find themselves the victims of torment and abuse until a mysterious and violent new student comes to their aid.
YEUN’s searing filmmaking debut originally premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in 2011, where it earned the Netpac, CGV Movie Collages and Director’s Guild of Korea Director’s Award[.]

Have a look at the very intense trailer here. 

The King Of Pigs was grounded in Yuen’s own experiences as a child and according to an interview with Jung-yoon Choi at The LA Times‘ blog Hero Complex he even drew himself as a background character in that film. The excellent profile has a few more biographical details about Yeun.

Growing up in a middle-class family in Seoul as the second of three brothers, Yeun was a huge fan of Japanese animated films and a regular viewer of the U.S. sci-fi series The Twilight Zone.

“Until I was about 15, I didn’t know that there was such an occupation as a director for animation films,” said Yeun. “But after watching several films of [legendary Japanese animator] Hayao Miyazaki, I could tell that this was work done by one person. That’s when I started to dream of becoming an animated film director.”

Yeun didn’t go to film school, instead receiving his training in drawing and Western arts at a university in Seoul. Yeun says he always was interested in the mysterious side of human nature. “I liked the movies that leave one stunned, and maybe a little sad.”

In his previous projects, Yeun explored the dark side of life with a bit of sarcasm. His two shorts, Inferno and Love Is Protein have grim, eerie plot lines. In one, a man is skinned alive; in the other, an angel arrives to inform a man he will soon die.

In an interview with Korean Film‘s Jang Byung-wan, Yeun discusses his influences:

I was inspired by animations by Satoshi Kon. I believe shows a certain level of quality in script that does not fall short to any script for live actions. and are also big inspiration all time. Minoru Furuya’s work also inspired me a lot. I like the way he uses images. He always mixes gag with extreme violence, so there comes a certain tension. His works tell me that it’s not only well-written script to make a good story structure.

Flixist discussed The Fake with Yeun when the feature was still in production, telling Alec Kubas-Meyer:

In Korea, there are many cultic religions, primarily based on Methodist Christianity, actually. Something that would derive from Christianity, not really a dominant thing, more cultic. And [the film] will take place in this village that is going to sink, meaning by the national plan for a reservoir. So they would actually sink the whole area for the reservoir. So the village is going to get sunk, so the story takes place in that village.

If you understand Korean or read French there is an interview with Yeun at Cannes here that you might find interesting. And Twitch has an interview with Yeun in which he discusses bullying in Korean schools and some of his process.

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THE FAKE Screening Times:
Saturday, Sept 7th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 4
Monday, Sept 9th, 9:00 PM SCOTIABANK 9
Friday, Sept 13th, 3:00 PM SCOTIABANK 3

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