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Episode 2. Creative2Creative, Take One Part 2 (feat. Albert Shin, Gloria Ui Young Kim)

Episode Transcription

Please note below transcription was made using speech recognition software, and as such may contain inaccuracies, misspellings, or errors.

James Lipton [from a recording] 0:05
borrowed from the great Bernardo de veau. And his view on the culture and its predecessor, I post off the questionnaire that he has asked some of the greatest minds of this century. And I will now ask them your favorite word.

Aram Collier 0:33
Welcome to backstory presented by the Reel Asian Film Festival. My name is Aram Collier.

Kelly Lui 0:38
And I’m Kelly Luis.

Aram Collier 0:39
So on this episode, this is part two of our conversation with Albert shin and Gloria young Kim. We had such a great conversation and it went a little longer than we thought. So we are including the second part of it, which picks up the conversation of storytelling and building a script. And bringing the script to life. You know, they had such great conversation. And one of the things that we really wanted to know, was some of the responsibility in that writing process in the research and bring the script to life, adding those narrative layers. And specifically, I was so interested to hear from Albert, that both Clifton Hill and in her place, which he talks about a lot in the in the conversation, both feature many, many women leading characters, and what was that process like? him being a man writing these characters and doing it in a way that is different and trying to not fall into the traps of other male writers in the past? And I think Likewise, we also wanted to know from Gloria What was her experience of writing, writing Debra the lead character, as a sex worker, what was some of the research and some of the the responsibility and care that she put into writing that character?

Kelly Lui 1:57
We also got to do our first run of The seven questions which need to be answered no matter what. And it was really great to hear what Albert and Gloria had to say, and what decisions they had to make no matter what. And I’m just gonna leave it at that, because you’ll get to that part. And you’ll know what I mean.

Aram Collier 2:17
You know, they had such a great conversation, but they also had such really surprising and endearing answers to these questions. And they were Yeah, they were just such a surprise. And you really want to listen to them all. It gives so much insight to them as people in addition to the conversation that we we had we heard between them.

Kelly Lui 2:38
So just before we get to the episode, we do have some housekeeping items to share. As of this week, we recently launched our hashtag until tomorrow campaign, which shares links to short films that we’ve screened in past real Asian festivals all completely free. It was it’s been a really great like interesting time to actually reach out to These filmmakers, some who have who are still in touch with the festival and others, maybe it’s been a few years. And actually On that note, check out our next episode really seeing Thursday, May 28.

Aram Collier 3:18
We started when you talked about this kind of emotional truth. And then and then, you know, part of it part of the layering is there’s a certain amount of narrative that you add to it, and even some narrative contrivance too. And so so how do you balance that layering? That is kind of necessary to expand it into a film that can sustain for as long as the feature does, right? And so, you know, how do you do that responsibly. For instance, you know, Albert, both Clifton Hill, and, and in her place, he talked about maybe making these characters women was kind of distancing, but you didn’t kind of really talk about the house. You do that how you try to do that responsibly. Right? So maybe you can talk about a little bit about that. And also for you, Gloria to in that Kelly was saying there’s all these like layers in terms of a that you’re that you’re adding on to it to, on top of that emotional truth.

Albert Shin 4:18
Yeah. In terms of, in terms of sort of the the layering of, you know, maybe making, you know, up in my last two films, my that, yeah, the protagonists have definitely been women and very female driven stories and definitely, particularly pertain to and replace, because it’s such a serious subject matter. There. I, the truth is, is that I didn’t know, I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to do this justice. And, you know, so all I could do was take it very seriously. And take it very seriously and do the research, talk to the people and when I was talking to my actors part, the fact that, you know, like, we’re, we’re making a film that hopefully has a certain level of integrity to what we’re doing. Obviously, it fits within the framework of a narrative story, like what you said, Aaron, like with contrivances. There’s, there’s a plot that that we have to adhere to, there’s all these mechanisms of a movie. But the emotional truth kind of going back to that is that, you know, this is this needs to come from a place that is honest, that makes sense, that will resonate and is not making light of something that obviously is very serious, and also not trivializing or sexualizing, or minimizing, or sort of, you know, doing any of that kind of stuff to a to women or to the story or to any of the characters really, because my movie was, for that particular one. It was it was important for me that this movie was treating everybody with a certain level of with a high level of respect, hopefully, and that was sort of the heart and the Sort of the mission statement for for the for the film, and but whether or not when I was going into it, if I was gonna be able to pull it off if I was the right person like, you know, you you never really know. So you so you know, I mean every filmmaker and every artist has their own process in terms of what they feel like they have to do. But all I could do at that point as a person that, you know, as I was saying before, it sort of failed in every filmmaking endeavor that I had done up until that point, that I just have to trust that I this is the story for me to tell. And I’m going to find the right people and collaborate with the right with the right actors and the right filmmakers to make it happen and for for disappearance of Clifton Hill, which is again, female protagonists. And for this one, you know, the agenda of the film is a little different, you know, I’m working in a in a genre. You know, I purposely kind of zigged when everybody thought I was gonna zag you know, like this is probably disappeared as a cliff notes probably not the obvious film that people would think the director of interplays with follow up and replace with. And that was sort of intentional because I wanted to, to not adhere to what sort of people would expect or think. And, you know, I’ve loved movies my entire life as much as I love keselowski and Tarkovsky. You know, I also like David Fincher and Steven Spielberg, you know, so, if I was given the opportunity to work in a different kind of arena and a different kind of space, I wanted to, to, to, to jump into that arena, but then how do I subvert things or how do I make something interesting, and for me, it was I wanted to make a new our mystery kind of film set in Niagara Falls. But until this point, you know, the new are, and I’m playing with and paying homage to to the tropes and, and and sort of the devices of the new our genre. But, you know, one of the biggest ones is the fact that you know, females are always the femme fatale, and it’s It’s always Humphrey Bogart or whoever, as the kind of the gumshoe detective. And I just thought that that’s kind of not that it’s boring. But that’s been done before. And there’s no reason why it has to be that way. You know, like, so for me, it was, well, what if it’s a what if it’s a female? And what if what if our kind of hero heroine is, is a heroine that is that’s doing the thing that you know, the Jake Gyllenhaal would do in most movies or whatever. So, to me, it was just more interesting. It was something different that hadn’t been done before. And obviously, but I’m not, I’m not a woman. So that’s another question that I have to deal with. And, you know, my co writer was also not a woman. So, you know, you know, we did get that question of like, why did you make these protagonists woman?

And the only answer that I could give is that well, you know, the way I see the film is that it’s just it’s more interesting that way. And I think if I try to sort of psychoanalyze myself a little bit more as to why I go in that direction. You know, because I’ve been asked this so many times, and I’ve also just kind of in, you know, when I’m staring at the ceiling at night thinking about it is, I think for me making movies is always an exercise in discovery. And you’re, you’re exploring something, whether that’s in yourself or, you know, even when you’re making something that you know what you’re making, when you go off and you make something with with all these collaborators, because, you know, obviously, filmmaking is one of the most collaborative art forms there is out there is that you, you’re always discovering things, about yourself, about humanity, about people about storytelling about everything. And for me to, like, I think I inherently kind of tried to code to discover things that I don’t know as much about. So for me, I think I’ve always run away a little bit from telling a film that’s just about my story. Not that not that I think I have anything in my life that’s worth telling in a cinematic form. So me personally, I Find women to be inherently more interesting than men. And I don’t understand them as much as maybe I understand men, or at least I that’s what I think anyway to myself, I could be I probably don’t understand men and women equally, because I don’t know. But at the same time, like there’s an allure there obviously, as for me, that that is something that I’m attracted to. And so I have to follow a certain degree of my own instincts in that. And so I think it starts from that and then you start to sort of rationalize and justify and you start to try to maybe turn it into something that way and then a lot of times you try to do that, and it feels too forced or too contrived, and then it doesn’t work, which happens all the time. You know, I have dozens of things where I tried to, you know, fit a round hole in the square peg or whatever, and it just doesn’t fit as much as I wanted to. Clifton Hill was one where it just felt like these elements worked and it worked with the way I think saw it in my head, which was the female protagonists.

Kelly Lui 11:03
GLORIA Did you Was there anything you wanted, that you want to share? or,

Gloria Kim 11:07
Um, for me and the layering. I mean, it was important to me. Okay, so I made a decision to make Deborah into a sex worker. And in the initial, like short version, she wasn’t a sex worker. She was, she was a mom, and she was trying to find a new place to live for her child. And the implication in the story was that she was using her sexuality to try to get the landlord to give her what she wanted to, like, let her stay and to like, let her stay for cheap or what have you. And then I just, I thought, Oh, why don’t I just push it a little further and make her into a sex worker? Like, I think that was. You know, I’m glad I made the choice. I think I really did want to talk about you know, for me, it was about how women are forced sale. Um, and I, like, you know, to me, it’s just like, culturally, like, you know, how women are perceived and like how women are, their, their bodies are used in, in media and like just the female form is, is so ubiquitously kind of all over they’re like, just on display to just sell random things to sell cars to sell hamburgers to sell, you know, what have you that it felt like a good choice for me. And it was also just kind of, you know, in terms of like when I was exploring this notion of what happens to women who are survivors and and how I felt after I had been assaulted. Um, like, for me, it was very much like this feeling of like, like, I felt like I was for sale like I felt like Really, I had no value in that it was really just about like, like, your sexuality was just like, you know, something that could could be bought, you know, because it just felt so like something like that happens to you, you just feel so valueless, right? Um, so that was kind of for me, like, there were reasons why I thought it made sense to do that. And then, you know, on the flip side of that, like, you know, because I knew girls, you know, who had chosen to become sex workers. And then I thought, okay, so there’s something here and then and then I just did some extra research as well and I talked to extra, you know, all sex workers who I didn’t know, just to make sure that I got it right and, and that I wasn’t like I wasn’t putting layers of trauma on stuff that they perceived as their jobs, you know. So, anyways, that was kind of what it was for me.

Albert Shin 14:11
And just in the Clifton Hill side of things, you know, um, I was also kind of interested in for people that see the film or eventually see the film or whatever. It’s, I wanted to see if I could make a heroine who’s a female protagonist, and not sexualized her at all. So, you know, so the film, like there is, you know, when I was even when I was talking to tuppence, and and Hannah, the, sort of the two leads of the film, they, you know, they would always tell me about these stories of, you know, when they read a script, and it’s just like, you know, and the character that they’re reading for, like, they’re reading the script, and it says, like, and she walks around her apartment in her underwear, you know, and like, they’re like, but why, like, Why is she doing you know, I mean, like, they would just like there were like, there were these female parts were always sexualized in some Some way even if it meant nothing to the film other than to just ventilate, I guess and just make it a little bit sexier. Or like, like you were saying Laurie, just just kind of using the female form in a in a way that doesn’t really do anything other than toggle over or whatever, you know, and so not that I was consciously but it was like, in my movie that it’s not about that. So then I made sure that it was definitely not about that. And, you know, talking to the actors in the film that I think they it was, it was such an anomaly that they recognized it like they were just like, yeah, there’s like, there’s no scene in this film where I’m just like walking around in a tank top for no reason. Just because like, that’s what I wear at home. And that’s just what shows a little bit more skin or something. And so I think the fact that they recognize it, I think that it definitely because I you know, it wasn’t like a conscious decision to do But it just it didn’t fit in the film. And it wasn’t about that. So I didn’t think that was a thing. But the but it did really, it was an enlightening moment where it’s like, oh, wow, like they have, like actors actresses have to deal with this all the time. For films that have nothing to do with that aren’t making a comment on sexuality or anything else, you know, all the time. Oh, all the time. So it was a sort of as a man, you don’t, sometimes maybe you’ve just overlooked it or you don’t think about or thought in the forefront of your mind, but as a woman, or as an actress that has to be in front of, you know, like, it’s something that literally you deal with every day of your life, you know,

Gloria Kim 16:37
it’s like the same, you know, thing of like women walking out at night, in the dark and always feeling like very, like, wary and conscious of like, you know, their environment and just being really careful. Like, are they going to be attacked? You know, like, a thing. It’s a thing. thing. Has anyone seen it? A girl walks home alone at night.


Albert Shin 17:02
I have.

Kelly Lui 17:03
Yeah. It really takes takes that that narrative and turns it around.

Albert Shin 17:07
Yeah. Because I want that because yeah, that films like a comment on that, you know, so, yeah, it’s a it’s quite effective.

Aram Collier 17:14
Um, we are coming up on an hour, this has been a really fantastic conversation like you, you all have been such great, great guests and like, Great interviewers of each other and such a kind of like passionate interest and genuine interest for each other’s work. Maybe you should be the host of this. No, but that, you know, the, but I really, you know, I’m so happy that I know, but I’m so happy that that that we started our first episode with you too, because because of this conversation, I mean, it just weaved in and out of so many different things. You know, I’m also mindful of keeping you too long too. So so we definitely want to try to kind of Wrap it up, we do have another segment we want to maybe cut for or what we’ll we’ll cut for a little break here and then we’ll come back for like a quick hitter. Segment next. And then we definitely also want to talk about where we can see the films because it’s coming up for both of these films.

We’d like to end today’s Recording by asking a set of questions. This is kind of our relation asks. And this is, of course, inspired by the late James Lipton, who in turn borrowed it from Bernard Pico. We are not going to ask what is your favorite swear word? But but we have another list of questions and I’m really eager to hear the last one so we’re going to try having a Gloria ask Albert these questions and then we’ll reverse it.

Gloria Kim 18:54
Okay, so Albert, what is your ritual on set?

Albert Shin 18:59
So I can’t say That I have a like a ritual. But I there are certain things that always happen when I’m on set, which is I have a terrible habit of biting my fingernails. And especially now during the Age of COVID, that’s probably like quadruple e terrible, but I bite my fingernails to until they’re just bleeding and disgusting. So that obviously comes from some sort of nervous energy. And I also pace around like a madman, which I’m sure everybody has a big kick out of ticket laughing at me doing that. So I wouldn’t call those rituals, but I guess that’s those are two things that you will guarantee see me doing on set.

Gloria Kim 19:46
Nice. Okay, so now I’m gonna ask you who you’d like to work with. Who is dead?

Albert Shin 19:52
Who is dead? Hmm. Well,

I guess as a filmmaker you would, I guess You would pick, like a cinematographer or an actor or something like that. But you know, I’m a big admirer of other directors. And since this is relation my you know, one of my very favorite filmmakers that I don’t think is talked about enough is show Hey Memorial. Yeah. Great, amazing, fantastic Japanese master filmmaker. So if I could just not I don’t know if I have to work with him because I’m sure he wouldn’t want to work with me. But if I could just, I don’t know, peer over his shoulder while he was on set. I would definitely love to do that.

Gloria Kim 20:39
No, I’m so okay. What profession other than your own Would you like to attempt?

Albert Shin 20:47
I feel like any well..

Mm hmm. I guess like any sports fan, which I’m not really a sports fan, but I guess I’m a basketball fan. So to make it specific, I’d love to be like a GM have a basketball team. Nice. That would be the other only other profession that I would fantasize about wanting to be. Wow.

Gloria Kim 21:08
Yeah. That’s kind of amazing.

Albert Shin 21:13
Which is kind of like a film like a director, you know, instead of a movies or directing a team, I guess.

Gloria Kim 21:19
Yeah. Solving and you’re dealing with big personalities. Yeah. You’re trying to win something. And

Albert Shin 21:26
it’s all kind of winds up. Yeah. So it’s sort of the same.

Gloria Kim 21:29
Kind of the same thing for sure. Yeah.

Aram Collier 21:31
Easily fired and easily blamed.

Albert Shin 21:34
Yes, yes. Yes.

Gloria Kim 21:39
So true. Okay, so what is the best feedback that you’ve ever received?

Albert Shin 21:45
The best feedback I’ve ever received is probably also the worst, which is that just give up.

That’s probably though because no Knowing my personality that will obviously make me want to not give up. But also it I think you hear it all the time, especially as a, you know, not just as a as an Asian Canadian filmmaker, but as anybody that’s trying to get into the arts. That’s not some sort of savant that’s just predestined from when they were a child or something. Is Yeah, is inevitably for people to in some, some people more graciously, or a little bit more. Maybe it’s a bit more softly, but you know, the crux of it being like, maybe you should move on to something else. So I heard that a lot. And, yeah, so I would say that’s probably the best and worst feedback I’ve ever got.

Gloria Kim 22:48
Mm hmm. What is the core of your filmmaking? pursuit? Or your creative pursuits?

Albert Shin 22:57
Um, the core Oh, that’s a that’s a big question.

I would say the core of it is, um you know, I’m a true believer in that everybody you know, is looking to express themselves somehow and obviously in this day and age there’s different there’s there’s social media, there’s different avenues but for someone like me who doesn’t have any of that stuff, but you know, I’m a pretty reserved shy person and I have a usually have a hard time articulating myself in every form other than in filmmaking and storytelling. So you know, if I didn’t have that as a pursuit, whether it’s a creative pursuit or personal personal pursuit or a vocational pursuit, all of it all in one, I just, you know, I don’t know what I could be doing with my time and a lot of ways so I think it’s, it’s my beating heart that already orients things for me as a as a person in a lot So I don’t know if that is the core of it, but that’s definitely a part of you know how I got into this and why I keep doing it and why I never gave up.

Gloria Kim 24:11
That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. But what is the game changing film for you? Like if something the film that you watch it, you’re like, Oh my god, I love it so much.

Aram Collier 24:21
So it just to clarify something that like, either change the way you see film or your life or you know, some kind of transformative film.

Albert Shin 24:29
Well, I know the second part of this question, which is, is it a film that you love irrationally, and again, it’s the same film, which is the film I’ve told the story a few times, but it’s the film that got me into films, and it’s this john Claude Van Damme movie called Bloodsport, which I saw I was I know this supposed to be rapid fire about tell it really quickly, which is that when I was in kindergarten, everybody in my class had See Gremlins and it was the film that everybody was talking about because it’s like not a film for kindergarten kids to see it’s like a little bit older than that. But everybody had seen it because it was a big hit. And I was the only one that hadn’t seen it. And I felt very left out. And so I demanded that we go to the video store, I told my mom like we need to go to the video store and rent this movie called Grambling being left out of the conversation, I can’t be a part of the watercooler talks at school around the crayons, like I need to go so we went. And when we got there, we I went with my older brother who is like seven, eight years older than me. So he’s a bit older than me. And then so we went there for the strict purposes of watching and renting Gremlins. And my brother was like, No, we need to rent this movie. And it was Bloodsport, and then I remember this is a memory that I definitely remember which is that it was like it was just like, just the waterworks. I was just having a breakdown in the middle of the video store because I was like, The whole purpose of coming here was to write Gremlins. We can’t just not rent Gremlins and rent this other movie. And I guess the idea of renting to films was just absurd to stop I was like, yeah, so she was like, you guys hash this out. And watch and you guys have to pick and you know, my older brother won out. And so we went home and watch Bloodsport, which is a film that I definitely shouldn’t have been watching when I was younger. But But I’ve watched, I watched Bloodsport, and it blew my mind. It’s like a five year old kid or whatever. You know, it’s like john Claude Van Damme in Hong Kong fighting in the coma today, like all this stuff was just to these to my five year old brain it just like, exploded. And to be quite honest, I didn’t see Gremlins for another like 10 years like I just didn’t care. It was after that. And but that’s the film. That I watched that film and I loved it so much that I didn’t realize I was like, oh, boobies can be like this. And so I started renting movies every day and it started with like, kind of like martial arts movies, obviously like Van Damme movies and then there’s like these there was like an era in like the early 90s, late 80s when it was like dawn the dragon Wilson and like these other like martial arts, he kind of like, you know, like the Steven Seagal calls that I just poured through. And then and then. And then from that, I started watching other kind of movies and I got because I got bored of martial arts movies, and then I and then that’s sort of where my film education began. And it became like very, very early. And then I was like, you know, I was like, Jim Carrey in the Cable Guy, where I just would watch movies all day. I never had it. I never played video games. I’d never I just Bloodsport just set me on this weird track of being like this crazy obsessed movie guy. And yeah, and then you know, I have seen Bloodsport again as adult. And certainly it’s a film that I love only irrationally at this point.

Aram Collier 28:08
It totally holds up

Gloria Kim 28:11
Okay, so last question so if you had to choose rice bread noodles or potatoes

Albert Shin 28:19
Okay, so for anybody that knows me I am a big food person I everything and anything put in front of me so I there’s no way I could choose–.

Aram Collier 28:31
You must

Albert Shin 28:33
–ever. Yeah but if I must, but if I’m Korean so I have to pick rice.

Aram Collier 28:41
There’s fights at the office about this by the way.

Gloria Kim 28:45
How can you choose it’s like oh no.

You can’t choose this. Like this is like this is like a Sophie’s Choice

Aram Collier 28:56
Starch Sophie’s Choice.

Albert Shin 29:01
But anyway, okay, so is it is it my turn now?

Aram Collier 29:03
Yeah. to ask Gloria.

Albert Shin 29:05
Alright, so now I throw it to you, Gloria. Do you have a ritual onset?

Gloria Kim 29:11
Okay, I think my ritual I mean, it’s not really a ritual. So this is what I do I before set, I get up extra early, and I do a meditation. And then after my meditation, I, I make a coffee like in my little Italian stovetop espresso maker, but I make like three or four and I put them all into one cup because I hope the onset just makes me like, I’m just the kind of person like, it’s just so crazy, but I had this thing about, like, certain creature comforts and good coffee is one of them. And I feel like if I like I’ve had some set days where I haven’t had that coffee, and I’ve had to drink set coffee and I’ve just been more cranky. And so I always always always have to bring that coffee that I make in my stovetop Italian espresso maker, like four of them and then I just take it to set and I do that all day and it’s disgusting and it gets really cold, but I don’t care that is my coffee. I’m drinking. Thank you very much. So I guess that’s my ritual.

Aram Collier 30:25
So in the morning do you do you have Do you have four different you have four individual things and you’re just like every burner is going

Gloria Kim 30:34
I actually have what it’s like it’s so awful like cuz I have a bigger one but I have to get it you know how they have those rings those rubbery doesn’t work on the bigger one. I have to just go and get a new one but I just I just can’t eat

I make four little

Aram Collier 30:52
Four in a row huh?

Kelly Lui 30:54

Gloria Kim 30:54
Four in a row it’s the same thing. Same what I just I have to do it that way.

Albert Shin 31:04
I know this is your thing, but like, you just inspired me for another ritual, at least for on disappearance on Clifton Hill. Um, I would also get up very, very early like, you know, ours call times we’re, you know, 567 in the morning, but I would get up like three hours before then. And I would, and we’re in Niagara Falls, and it’s three o’clock in the morning and I would purposely get in my car and then drive to like, the furthest Tim Hortons in Niagara Falls from where I were stationed just for me to drive there and get like a coffee at like four in the morning, like through drive thru because obviously, it’s the only thing open and then I would drive back. And that was and I just I think I did a once because I couldn’t sleep one night or something and then it just turned into a ritual. So I guess that was my ritual on set for at least the last movie. Anyway. Back to you, Gloria. Who would you like to work? With dead alive or fictional,

Gloria Kim 32:03
okay, so I thought that I had to answer all three. So I came up with answers for all three even

Albert Shin 32:08
better than you can make up for my lack of answers.

Gloria Kim 32:10
I’m just gonna Yeah, I’ll just so dead. I would love to work with my uncle my sumption, who was a like a filmmaker and a TV star in Korea on you, and he had a TV show called time bomb. I always thought he’s so cool. Like, he died kind of early, but it would have been so cool if I could have worked with him. So I would have enjoyed that.

Albert Shin 32:38
Oh, yeah, good answer.

Gloria Kim 32:40
Yeah. And then alive. You know, I would love if, like, I could option a book from Kazuo Ishiguro, and then have him write the screenplay for me. Although I don’t know if he actually ever wrote any of those screenplays like never let me go over what was he So, yeah, I probably he didn’t write because it’s such a specific thing but I just think he’s such a wonderful writer. And then fictional This is so corny and this was just like my first thing and but I wish I could have worked with Anne of Green Gables because I was like childhood or her and now they cancel the show and I’m so heartbroken. Yeah.

Albert Shin 33:28
Okay, so what profession other than your own Would you like to attempt?

Gloria Kim 33:34
I would love to be a shamanic healer. Like I actually have been studying that and, um, and been doing it in the last couple years. And I would love to do that full time if I could. Wow. Yeah, that’s my retirement job.

Albert Shin 33:52
That’s Wow. I have nothing to say to that other than Wow, that’s that’s awesome.

Aram Collier 33:58
Yeah. just calling.

Gloria Kim 34:01
I offer all of you all three of you shamanic healings if you want.

Albert Shin 34:06
Okay, and so what is the best feedback you’ve ever received? And what’s the worst?

Gloria Kim 34:11
Um, you know, I remember what I made my first short out of school. Well, not my first short, but like my first short for CBC out of school. And it, I sent a cut early cut of it to my mentor. And she was this very selfish filmmaker, and I remember her writing me this email, and I was I felt so much shame. I was just like, oh my god, I suck, I suck and blah, blah, blah. And she sent me this email back and basically, she was like, Gloria, you know, frankly, I’m stunned. I have no words. I, I just I still need time to process your film. Like, oh my god, like, I can’t believe you. You made this film. And I was like, That’s so nice, you know, because it’s your mentor. And, you know, that meant so much. And like the worst feedback. I mean, I think the worst feedback isn’t really, I mean, like maybe criticism. But I remember, it’s not the worst feedback actually was really great feedback. But one of my friends said to me about one of my films about this particular performance, like well, you know, like, I just, like it made me think about like, the really exaggerated like acting that I’ve seen in like, like cheese, Indian, indian films, and I thought, Oh, god, that’s so crushing. hearing something like that, but it was such good feedback because it made me kind of go, Okay, I got to go back in and really crack this performance. You know, because I mean, that’s what you do with an editor right like performance. Right, like there’s bits and pieces. I mean, that’s the beauty.

That’s the beauty of the close up, right? Takes in the different angles, right? You can really make someone from an over actor into suddenly into like a really wonderful actor. So,

Albert Shin 36:18
yeah, that’s all very true. Okay, and so what is the core of your filmmaking? Or your or your creative pursuits?

Gloria Kim 36:32
Um, I mean, I think of it as a kind of a faith journey, you know, because, I mean, I’m like you Albert. I basically was like, there is no plan B. I’m just doing this was sheer insanity I think. But it is also one of those things that if you ever think that there’s a plan B, you know, because filmmaking is so hard, you will revert to your Plan B, I think and when and for me, I just like, I just had to have the faith that it was all gonna work out. You know, I was like, I’m gonna make a living as a baker. When you first say it out loud, you’re just like, You are just a crazy person. You know? Yeah, it’s possible, right? And then, um, but then you do it and, you know, that’s, that’s what I’m doing. So, that’s, that’s how I see my, the core of what I do.

Albert Shin 37:34
And what is the what is a game changing film? Uh, something that you know, change the way you see films or life you know,

Gloria Kim 37:43
I like I wish I had as an amusing a story as yours. But mine is I like when I think of a film that really just kind of knocked me over the head and make me Like, oh my god, this is filmmaking. I think it was the film Farewell my concubine, the Yeah, the same way. And I can’t even say his name Chen. How do you say his name? Jen tiger. Yeah. And Kai, go, oh my god. I remember seeing that film is 93 I went to see with back at the Carlton with my best friend in university and I was the first Asian film that I saw that wasn’t like a Bruce Lee film, or like a crazy hilarious cheesy martial arts film. And I just, I just thought, oh my god, I want to die. This film is so beautiful. And yeah, I just felt like that film has never left me.

Albert Shin 38:48
And so And what about a film that you rationally love? So I guess like a guilty pleasure,

Gloria Kim 38:54
A guilty pleasure film. I do have a fun That’s so corny for like, just corny ROM coms. Like I really do appreciate you sitting down with like, my bag a smart food and watching Sandra Bullock do whatever she wants sashay across the screen you know like I just adore her and

Aram Collier 39:21
Ms. Congeniality.

Gloria Kim 39:22
Yes. Ms. Congeniality! Like, I try to make my child to watch it with me and she was like, “No, I don’t want to see this.”

you know, like we’re like Ella it chanta enchanted with Anne Hathaway in no time you know but that’s like my like are and then I went back and rewatch them all that Drew Barrymore film The one where she goes back to never been kissed. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it was such a cute film and then rewatching it now with this like, like poke me to lens. I’m just like, Oh my god, this is disgusting. The teacher is like, totally making a passive his student and we’re not going to ask her you know what I mean? Right? when appropriate, like, Oh my gosh, but I don’t know. I love Drew Barrymore. I think she’s so cute. GLORIA We can have a separate episode on ROM coms.

Oh, definitely. I love it.

Albert Shin 40:24
And, uh, and you know, and the big one, rice bread noodles or potatoes.

Gloria Kim 40:30
Oh, man. I don’t know, man. Like I keep coming up with different answers. Every time I look at this question. Sometimes it’s rice. It’s like, sticky rice with a little bit of, you know, like Norton sprinkled on it and then sometimes it’s like noodles because they’re like slurping up like ramen noodles and potatoes because it’s fries and you know, Fred and his toes are no man.

Albert Shin 40:57
There’s only there’s only one answer and it’s all four.

Gloria Kim 41:00
Yes, I would eat all four in one sitting. I feel like

Albert Shin 41:04

Gloria Kim 41:08
Like, don’t make me choose guys. Like, I don’t know if I could give up any of them

Aram Collier 41:15
All right, that’s great. That’s great. Thank you so much for humoring us with these with these questions it’s just so much insight you know, like get to know you in a different way. So we’re gonna wrap it up and but hopefully Are you all down to talk about when we can see your films? Absolutely coming up in May?

Gloria Kim 41:40
Well, Queen is going to be queen of the morning is going to be at the Canadian Film Festival. They’re doing a really interesting it was supposed to be in March but they’re doing this interesting thing with super channel they’re partnering with them. And so they’re going to broadcast it actually on Super channel and my queen of the Morning Calm is going to be On Thursday, May 28, at 9pm Eastern time. So you can watch it on Super channel, which was like an add-on for prime.

Albert Shin 42:11
That’s, that’s cool. That’s really cool.

Gloria Kim 42:13
Isn’t that fun?

Albert Shin 42:14
I mean, in that way, I guess that I mean, there’s so many more people that will be able to see it, I guess. Obviously, you want to see it, you know, at the Royal or, you know, like in a big theater because it’s sort of been built that way. But, you know, COVID is the, I mean, it’s the great neutralizer in the sense of like, it’s, you know, Hollywood films can’t play in movie theaters right now either, you know, so, if that’s the case, that people are watching it, you know, huh? Yeah, for sure. Um, oh, for me. So disappearance, a Clifton Hill is going to have its VOD release on May 4 in Canada, and it’s already in for people in the US. It’s already out on VOD and I think it’s out on Hulu at the end of May as well but for people in Canada May 4, it’ll be on all the iTunes Google Play and all that stuff starting May 4.

Aram Collier 43:07
That’s great. Now we have Yeah, we did, I’m so happy that these are both getting a platform to show on and we’re gonna have some great films to watch in May. And so just wanted to thank you all, both for having such a great conversation and being such good sports and, like, Yeah, really been having such genuine interest in each other’s work. So, and really, we really hope to see more of your work and, and religion is here for you. So,

Gloria Kim 43:37
yeah, I love Reel.

Albert Shin 43:38
And just as a final thing for me to just pump Gloria’s tires a little bit, which is, you know, obviously, I’m a fan of yours. And, you know, I think, you know, for your first feature, you know, we didn’t even talk about, you know, sort of like the scope and scale of something because I know, you know that it was a small movie, but it it doesn’t feel that way at all, you know, so you know, maybe Major congratulations to you for you know, you know, like we talked about from where you went from when you were just talking about it. And for to be here now it’s you know, it’s it’s it’s the success story that I think we all hope for. And I’m so glad that you know, you’re able to push it all the way up to the mountaintop.

Gloria Kim 44:21
Oh, thanks. Thanks so much, Alfred. That means so much to me. And I love you too. And

Albert Shin 44:30
And this is when I say nothing.

I can’t take a compliment. But But no, like likewise. Gloria, thank you so much for you know, watching movies and making movies. I think it’s such an important voice. And you’re in a lot of ways you’re you’re blazing a trail for a lot of other specifically Korean, Canadian women filmmakers, but just I think, you know, female filmmakers of color and just telling specific Stories from a personal place that I think it’s just obviously such an essential part of what we need, you know, in the culture and everything else. So yeah, that’s it. That’s, that’s it.

Gloria Kim 45:13
That’s so sweet. I appreciate it. And thank you guys,

Albert Shin 45:17
Thank you guys, too

Aram Collier 45:18
I’m really glad we got the you know, make this work because, you know, originally we’re gonna have it in person and which would have been great obviously. But this has been really good too and that like in so you know maybe in a way much more expansive than what we could have done in person so I’m really glad that you are game to do it and what better way to start off the first episode and, and and Albert, I want to let you know that Clifton Hill is the last movie I saw in a movie theater.

Albert Shin 45:49
You know, actually I’ve been I’ve been told that by a lot of people because we were always lucky enough that we were released theatrically right before they shut down The theater so we actually had to week, two weekends in the theaters before all the theaters shut down. So yeah,

Aram Collier 46:07
I think it was like the the Wednesday before our office closed.

Albert Shin 46:13
Yeah. So I, you know, I just made the cutoff to be able to play in the theaters which, which I’m grateful for, obviously. But I but obviously, like you, Gloria, and a lot of my other favorite filmmaker friends and people that had movies kind of lined up to be released in the spring theatrically that, you know, obviously, some of them I don’t think will anymore and that’s really, really sad. Yeah, yeah. But at the same time, you know, movies are built to live on. So.

Gloria Kim 46:43
Yeah, in a weird way, like this whole COVID situation has really brought people together, right? Like, there’s people there’s so much that people are doing now online. And there are just a lot of people volunteering their time and connecting with each other, you know, and But I feel like wouldn’t have been able to mobilize in a weird way in Perth, you know?

Albert Shin 47:07
Yeah. Now hopefully we remember all this when everything goes back to normal hopefully and then we can be a little bit kinder to each other.

Gloria Kim 47:15
Oh, I? Oh, I mean, I think so I believe so, you know, maybe that’s naive but I’ll be hopeful.

Kelly Lui 47:39
Backstory podcast is written and hosted by Aram Collier and Kelly Luis. It’s edited and produced by Seungwoo Baek and is presented by Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

Please check out our show notes for more information about the Disappearance at Clifton Hill and Queen of the Morning Calm as well. any relevant updates about the podcast or the festival itself. If you have any questions or just want to say hi, reach out to us at our email


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