NFFTY, and winning Story Starts Here

This year, being 25 and in the last year of being considered a "youth" at NFFTY, I am honored to have not one, not two, but three of my works presented at this film festival. I have two shorts screened, and won the inaugural Story Starts Here screenplay competition with my short script Roberta's Living Room

After you've submitted work and forgotten about it, it's always nice to get a surprise email (or two) a few months later when it's least expected-

The best part of it all was that after I've been notified that I'm a finalist for the screenplay competition, the three judges each wrote me feedback. That was the thing I got all impatient waiting for. I had written this script on and off, rewriting bits again and again, for about 3 years. I was ready hear what professionals in the industry had to say about it. 

The three judges were Chris Grunden, the VP of film programming at HBO, Erica Sterne, a producer, and Wilbert Plijnaar, a storyboard artist for many major animation features.

When the feedback email finally came, I couldn't wait and just opened it during a meeting I was in. I got all secretly excited as I read the outpouring of positive reactions. 

ROBERTA’S LIVING ROOM successfully creates a world we haven’t seen before, with an inventive, magic-realism premise.

Roberta’s Living Room makes me want to watch this movie and read more of Judy’s work. She has an exciting, enchanting style and voice.

A life affirming story, that throughout paints evocative images, made me smile and laugh out loud at various intervals and ultimately I felt touched by.

What more can one ask for?

Here are just a few snippets from the feedback I received. I was anticipating a lot of constructive criticism, so when I saw the overwhelmingly positive reviews, it came as a huge surprise. Eventually when I won the competition and a $500 prize, that was all just the cherry on the top.

Now I just have to get this short film made... 

An Interesting Time

I'm in an interesting time and place to be alive. 

As a young, independent person. As a woman in America. As an Asian American. A Korean American. As a minority on multilayer in America. As a filmmaker while being all of the above. As a filmmaker evolving alongside technology. As an American citizen witnessing this phenomenal presidential election. As a Korean citizen witnessing K-Pop becoming an actual global phenomenon. As a bilingual. As a bicultural. As part of the generation that grew up with the birth of Facebook, of Netflix, of Amazon, of Uber. As a person working in advertising while it drastically shifts its gears. As an English-speaker in a time of globalization. As a not famous person in the age of internet. As someone with dreams and prospects.

Good or bad, it's an amazing time and place to be alive. 

Explanation necessary: London Apparatus

London Apparatus is the final project I presented when I was at the Slade School of Fine Art back in 2011. It's a video documentation of my wandering in London that eventually became an installation. It's a complex enough project that, if not seen in person, needs a bit of explaining with multiple photos. 

So here's the full documentation and the making process.

Wide view. Video rear-projected, facing the camera that captured the content.

Wide view. Video rear-projected, facing the camera that captured the content.

The installed video. Played in loops with no sound.

I got this little contraption custom-made at the metal shop. It's a digital camera mounted at a specific height and angle looking into the viewfinder of the Mamiya C220 medium format camera.

This is what it looked like to be filming with this apparatus. I always had to be looking down when filming.

A stranger walking by wanted to photograph me with it.

From my perspective

From my perspective

View of installation behind the screen. 

View of installation behind the screen. 

I custom built this screen in the woodshop to stand that way at that height. I used a wide angle projector, which allowed me to project from a shorter distance.

View of installation in front of the screen. 

View of installation in front of the screen. 

The camera used to film the content was placed in front of the screen, so when turned on, there was a live feed of what was playing on the the digital camera monitor. A meta-narrative, if you will.

View of installation above camera

View of installation above camera

So if you stood next to the camera to see the little monitor, you'd find your feet also captured in it, including yourself in this cycle of images. 

^ early test processes using a mirror




It's about to get a little sentimental. But only because of how real this is. From this conference and a series of other interactions and experiences lately, I cannot help but feel incredibly fortunate. And it's on many many levels. I won't list all, but here's the most significant one: that I can aspire. I'm learning that this possibility alone is an immense blessing. That I am young enough that I can dream about far enough future and what I want to do and what I want to learn.. That I live in a time when technology is shifting immensely and I happen to be working all around that. That I live in a place where those things and speakers and events and cool stuff is all accessible. That I have a job that lets me make a living out of my creative tools. That my bosses are cool and let me (or sometimes help me) do my personal projects with work resources. That I'm educated enough to think about these things. That I'm ignorant enough to jump headlong into projects without fully knowing what I'm doing.