Talking TIFF: So Yong Kim
So Yong Kim's first feature film, In Between Days, is a film that has Toronto at its heart. Shot and set in our city, the film tells a story of the immigrant experience that is so relevant in a city like ours.
Director So Yong Kim met me at the Sutton Place Hotel to talk about the film and her experiences in Toronto:
This film hits close to home: set in Toronto, filmed in Toronto, and starring Torontonians. So here's the big question...why Toronto?
Because there's a huge Korean community here, and we came here to do location scouting, and we met Jennifer Weiss who's a wonderful producer. She helped us out with locations and scouting and stuff like that. Also, there's certain parts of Toronto that reminded me a lot of Los Angeles, like Koreatown: you know, with all the strip malls, and the way it's all spread out. Especially in the North York area: that was just perfect. It just felt right for the setting and the stories for the characters.
How was the process of shooting in Toronto? Were the people here helpful and receptive?
The only permit we had to get was the public transportation permit, and that was really easy to get. We didn't have to pay for anything. I mean, we rode on so many buses for this film â you'll see it when you see the movie â we rode all over. Other locations we basically got donated. People were very open to the shooting. We shot it on video, so basically it was just our DP, Brad and I, and our sound guy, so we would just go in and leave, and try to make it as quiet and quick as possible.
Dealing with strong themes of urban alienation, how do you think that this film will resonate with a crowd as ethnically divers as Toronto's population?
I never know, I don't know. I hope people connect with the story and the characters, and they do somehow understand the story in a more personal way. I mean, it is a very intimate story and personal story for me, so I hope that it somehow touches somebody's heart in some way and make you think about yourself or somebody else who is in that situation.
You found Taegu in a nightclub here in Toronto, and the other actors are novices as well. How was it working with two relative unknowns as your leads?
I think it's an amazing experience to actually work with non-actors, because they're so open and they have no preconception of what they're supposed to "be like." It's like them playing pretty much themselves. What I do on the side is give them some lines, and some prompts like, "hey ask her if she wants to have sex with you," or "tell him that you think he's ugly." You know what I mean? And then they just put it in their own words and put their own personality into it. I think it makes the characters much more rich, and they have the added depth, rather than something that's written down.
So Yong Kim was born in Pusan, South Korea and immigrated to the United States. She studied painting, performance, and video art, earning her M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has made video installations and short films, and produced Bradley Rust Gray's Salt (03). In Between Days (06) is her first feature film.
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