There was a sense of excitement and genuine curiosity that filled the famed theater in the downtown district of Seoul Jongro-gu, before the recent premiere of "The Unforgiven
". The young cast of more than 10 took the stage to make their welcoming remarks prior to the press conference. The audience was taken aback by their innocent, and rather plain, appearances. They stood like deer caught in the headlights, quite contrary to the confidence generated by overwhelming praise for and popularity of their movie.
"I still cannot believe I am standing here today", exclaimed Jang Seon-hee (27), a member of the production crew, "it all began so unexpectedly and I never thought I would come this far". Another comment was made by Seo Jang-won
(22), one of the actors of this underdog film, "I was cast because I said I can cut my hair when the director asked me if I could". That director is Yoon Jong-bin
(26), a senior at Chung-Ang University, Art School of Drama & Cinema, who has made this film as his graduation project.
The movie "The Unforgiven
" depicts traditional Korean military life and a culture that stresses the superiority of men and enforces male dominance in society. Produced with a total outlay of $25,000-including $5000 directly out of Director Yoon's pocket-the movie was created using a digital camcorder for most of its scenes and with no contract of any sort for the crew.
"For everyone involved, this was a very first attempt to make a movie", says Director Yoon. "And due to an absence of resources, each one of us took at least two or three of the roles of producing, writing, editing, shooting, costume design and lights". He also adds, "We took time in searching for each and every location for shooting without consultation or reference, and took care of our meals with cup ramen".
In fact, the only "well-known" actor among the entire crew is Ha Jung-woo
(27), who stars in popular TV soap opera, "Lovers in Prague
", as a presidential secret service agent. However, the simplicity and a fašade of "un-professionalism" end right there as the level of acting and producing are extremely high-quality, not to mention techniques for shooting and editing that are remarkable. The movie also maintains an impressive balance of drama and comedy throughout the movie.
" first premiered at the annual Busan International Film Festival and received at least four various awards: "PSB Audience Award", "Breakout Film of the Year Award", "International Film Critics Award" and the "Net Pack Award". The popularity of the film grew rapidly through the audiences who attended the festival, subsequently opening in at least 20 theatres across the country in November 18th, 2005.
The movie has been receiving raving reviews at the current AFI (American Film Festival) and has also been officially invited to both upcoming Sundance and Berlin Film Festival next year, a tremendous adulation, proving the world is quite accepting of the crew from "The Unforgiven
Having seen the dedication and passion of these "amateurs", it is no wonder some critics believe that these are the people that would proudly secure an enduring place in the future of Korean film industry.