Actors share their experiences as directors in 'Unframed'

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Actors share their experiences as directors in 'Unframed'

From left, actor-directors Park Jeong-min, Son Suk-ku, Choi Hee-seo and Lee Je-hoon pose during an online press conference for their “Unframed” project, Monday. Courtesy of Watcha

By Kwak Yeon-soo

Actor Lee Je-hoon, who led Watcha’s “Unframed” project through which he and three other actors took on new roles as directors, said he came to have a better appreciation for filmmakers after being challenged by the new field of directing.

Actors Lee, Park Jeong-min, Son Suk-ku and Choi Hee-seo directed short films as part of the project, with each writing their own screenplays and then directing their work.

“After directing my own movie, I felt more grateful for filmmakers and I’m willing to devote more effort to helping them make great movies,” Lee said during an online press conference for the film project, Monday.

Park directed “Class Representative Election,” a short film that centers on 5th grade students running for class representative. The actor revealed he had always wanted to make a film about elementary students because schools are a microcosm of society.

“You can tell a lot about a society from its schools. I wanted to raise questions about adults’ perception of kids and how they, in general, view children as innocent beings,” he said.

Park, who recently won critical acclaim for his role in “Hellbound,” thanked Lee for giving him creative control. “The last time I directed a film was when I was 20 or 21. I never thought I would be given an opportunity to direct another movie, so I was thrilled when Lee called and offered me a spot to do the project together. It was an absolute joy to bring my script to life,” he said.

Actors share their experiences as directors in 'Unframed'

Actor Jung Hae-in in a scene from director Lee Je-hoon’s “Blue Happiness” / Courtesy of Watcha

Meanwhile, Son helmed “Rerun,” a short road movie about an aunt and nephew on their way to a wedding ceremony. Calling it the best decision he made in his 30s, Son expressed excitement about his directorial debut.

“One day I stopped in Lee’s office to chat and heard about the ‘Unframed’ project. Because I had always been interested in filmmaking, I wanted to take part,” he said.

Choi directed and starred in “Bandi,” a short film that tells the story of a single mother and her daughter who has trouble with stuttering.

“Son and I have been friends for a while and we occasionally met for a scriptwriting club. He told me about Lee’s project, and after hearing about it and the people involved, I asked them to let me in,” Choi said.

The four films from the “Unframed” project were unveiled at this year’s Busan International Film Festival.

“It was very touching to receive a warm welcome from the audience. Going to a film festival as a director was a dream come true. Recently, we held a screening event with the actors and the film crew. I was proud of what we had made, but at the same time, extremely nervous,” Lee said.

Lee directed “Blue Happiness,” which centers on Chan-young (Jung Hae-in), a man in his twenties facing life’s difficulties.

The “Unframed” project will be released exclusively on local streaming platform, Watcha, Dec. 8.

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