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Invitation to the Cannes Classics Section of the 77th Cannes Film Festival, Interview with Director Lyang Kim of the Documentary Film Walking in the Movies

May 14, 2024
  • Source by KoBiz
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The Father of Filmmakers with Youthful Spirit


Kim Dong-ho, former executive director of the Busan International Film Festival, has been recognized by the global film community for his remarkable contributions to the film history. The documentary film Walking in the Movies (ZONE FILM, co-produced by The Kookje Daily News) has been invited to the 77th Cannes International Film Festival's Classic Section. The movie will be screened as a world premiere on May 16. 


The documentary film Walking in the Movies portrays the founder of the Busan International Film Festival, Kim Dong-ho, who has been at the forefront of promoting Korean cinema. Director Lyang Kim, who planned and directed the film, warmly captures his protagonist's spirit of challenge, vitality, and artistic sensibility, portraying his dedication to the advancement of Korean cinema. Speaking with the director through a video call, he shared reasons why Kim Dong-ho’s dedication and spirit of challenge should be remembered.  


Lyang Kim  | (c) JOO Min-wook


- I heard you reside in Paris, France.

= I have been working on films commuting between Korea and France since 2011. I graduated from an art college in Korea and studied film in France. Particularly in the field of art, I have a common nomadic spirit. My hometown is Busan. I was mainly active in Busan in 2019, and in 2021, I also stayed at the Busan Film and Audio Visual Industry Center for a year.

- All three of your previous documentaries contain emotion of diaspora, but Walking in the Movies seems different from this trend. What motivated you to make this film?

= I first met Kim Dong-ho at the Deauville Film Festival in France in 2008. Continuing our connection from the wide angle competition section invitation at the Busan International Film Festival for my first feature-length documentary Dream House by the Border in 2013, and through the retrospective of director Im Kwon-taek hosted by Cinémathèque Française in Paris in 2015, we occasionally exchanged greetings. After actress Kang Soo-yeon, whom we had met at the retrospective, passed away in May 2022, I visited director Kim and felt sorry to see him heartbroken by the sudden sad news. It was very regrettable that there was no documentary film about Kim Dong-ho, who had made significant contributions to the Korean film industry, or about actress Kang Soo-yeon. That regret was the motivation behind Walking in the Movies.

- How was the process of featuring Kim Dong-ho as the protagonist of the documentary, whom you know personally?

= His story, as depicted in the opening of the film, about his experiences living in refuge during the Korean War in Busan, was very impressive. Moreover, I wanted to focus on his nomadic journey of experiencing the world to promote Korean cinema despite his over 30 years of public service, as well as his extraordinary creativity. He has a unique aura. Even though he lived as a high-ranking public official, he has the inner side that an artist has. I also included his story that he wanted to be a painter in the film. Since it was my first time making a character-driven documentary, it was a challenge, and I approached it with the concept of expressing it cinematically. I wanted to capture his comfortable yet modest image.

- How long was the filming period?

= The main filming took place from February 27 to the end of May 2023, and the most important filming in Busan took place in early July. Specific editing began in April and took about two months. Editing was done intermittently until the final stages of post-production.

Walking in the Movies Poster
 | (c) ZONE FILM

- As if expressing a person who worked hard to develop Korean film industry while traveling to various countries, the scenes of Kim Dong-ho moving around appear continuously throughout the film. It must have been tight to capture various spaces within two months.

= It was a short period for a documentary. The filming locations were centered around Kim's residence. The first scene is at Donggureung in Guri, Gyeonggi-do. Additionally, I included the KOFIC Namyangju studios, which was proposed during his tenure as the president of the Korean Film Council, the site of the 76th Cannes Film Festival in 2023, the grave of the late actress Kang Soo-yeon, the grave of Lee Choon-Yeon, the CEO of Cine 2000, and Busan.

- The words, Young Man, in the Korean title is intriguing.

= I thought it would be good for the youth of this era to watch it. I set the title paradoxically because I wanted many young people with dreams of making movies to watch it. Everyone agrees that Kim Dong-ho has the spirit of youth. He belongs to a generation that created something out of nothing, always creative and full of the spirit of challenge.

- Various filmmakers make appearances.

= Directors Im Kwon-taek, Lee Jang-ho, Jung Ji-young, Lee Chang-dong, Hirokazu Koreeda, and actor Cho Jin-sung appear. It was important to structure the film with supporting roles as protagonists. Instead of appearing only once, they played a continuous role in the narrative, adding pacing and depth to the story

Walking in the Movies | (c) ZONE FILM

- Their relationship and achievements with Kim Dong-ho became a legacy in Korean film history.

= That's right. Director Im Kwon-taek has been close to Kim Dong-ho since the Montreal Film Festival in 1988. Probably, it is director Im who knows Kim the best. Director Koreeda Hirokazu is also close to him. I happened to meet them at the Cannes Film Festival and naturally captured their sincere interactions. They also gladly agreed to spontaneous solo interviews.

- Why did you choose actress Ye Ji-won as the narrator?

= She has a warm voice and has a connection with the late Kang Soo-yeon. Her story as the successor to Kim Dong-ho after his retirement was also important in our film, and whenever he talked about Kang, his sincerity was palpable. I think she is the only person who can naturally convey tender feelings.

- It seems that the Korean film industry is still in crisis, especially with the significant reduction in government support and budgets for film festivals. Amidst this, a documentary featuring a figure who established the Busan International Film Festival and contributed to the film industry has been invited to the Cannes Film Festival. How do you feel?

= Director Jung Ji-young said in an interview, 'In the past, people aligned their lives with films. If young people approach filmmaking with such a mindset, wouldn't films become much richer?' The mythology of K-cinema was made possible by the passion of a generation like Kim Dong-ho, who ran barefoot in adverse environments. At this point, when the production environment for Korean cinema has become difficult again, I think it is important for us to remember the mindset of previous generations and not lose our initial passion for film. I hope my work can deliver that message.


-You have worked on documentary films. This marks your first entry into Cannes as a directorial piece.

= It is truly an honor. The positive feedback from experts’ preview made me very happy, feeling as if my cinematic values, which I have believed in all this time, have been acknowledged. Above all, crafting a documentary that cinematically unfolds significant figures in Korean film history like Kim Dong-ho was a significant challenge.

Written by Chae So-ra

Translated by Seo Su-il



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