by LS Kim, 22/03/2013

Suel Kim is a writer and filmmaker from New York City. He came to Korea in 2009 for the first time to explore the homeland of his parents, and has been living and working in Seoul ever since.  “From my childhood years through my early twenties, I only knew about Korea through books and stories from my parents, and I feel fortunate to now be living in Korea, fully immersed in its rich and fascinating culture. I have a deeper understanding of my parents through my own experiences in Korea," says Kim.

Kim is an alumnus of New York University’s Film and Dramatic Writing programs. His films (Maintenance Man, Snap-shot, Portrait of a Mother) have been shown nationally and internationally on broadcast television, including MNET America TV, as well as in film festivals and theaters, including the Columbus International Film & Video Festival and the historic Little Theatre in Rochester, New York. 

“When I came to Korea, I was fascinated with and wanted to further explore the concept of “Jeong”. It’s a complicated yet simple sentiment, an expression of deep affection and consideration for others: people, animals, all life.”  Kim recently started an online photo journal series called “Through My Lens”, marrying photographs of his travels throughout Korea with his own intimate experiences and memories, as well as useful information for his viewers. “Through my photos and personal narrative, I hope to delve into Korea’s notion of “Jeong”, and how it brings the energy of people, as well as all forms of life, closer together.” Episodes are published every Monday. He plans to add content about Korean crafts and food as well. 

Kim also completed his first full-length film in Korea, called Lullaby City.  “This film was created with a truly independent spirit. After two years in Seoul, I was inspired to create a film. However, I was lacking in resources, funds and free time. So, I wrote a script, recruited a few friends, filmed them with a digital camera over several weekends, and was fortunate to have my ideas captured on tape.” 

Lullaby City is an omnibus film featuring three intertwining love stories set in Seoul. The first story follows a 40-year-old sculptor living with her mother, the second a young foreign office worker stuck in his banal lifestyle, and the third a sugar baby with a penchant for expensive handbags. The film was created entirely in Seoul with non-professionals in their first acting roles, and was made with a budget of 300,000 Korean Won (around 300 US dollars). Kim assumed all production roles and responsibilities, from the camerawork, to the sound, as well as the editing. The music in the film, composed and performed by Chris Zabriskie, is enchanting, bold and lovely. (Teaser trailer for Lullaby City)

“Current digital technology really makes it possible for independent filmmakers like myself to create and share our films with the world, and I’m hoping that my films can perhaps inspire others to embrace their own spirit of independent filmmaking. With some hard work and support from friends and family, creating meaningful work is possible for all artists.”  Kim plans to have a festival run for Lullaby City in the autumn, and a private screening in Seoul.

 Kim is currently working on a script for a horror film, as well as a family drama. "I feel at home in Korea, and hope to continue making films here. There is so much to explore, and the energy from the Korean people and the environment provides endless stories that need to be told."  

Suel Kim can be contacted at skskeditor@gmail.com. Screening dates for Lullaby City will be posted in K4E's What's Going On section and mentioned in a Korea4Expats Events E-newsletter (events@korea4expats.com)


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