This stunning fashion film caught our eye the minute we pressed ‘play’ and we were lucky enough to score an interview with the director, Minu Park! Keep reading to learn about the ins and outs of making a fashion film, Minu’s advice for young filmmakers, and what’s next for this talented director.
CN: How did your career in filmmaking start out? What inspired you to become a director?
MP: My name is Minwoo (Minu) Park, I am from Seoul, South Korea. I came to the New York City to transfer my career from commercial/fashion photography to fine-art photography in 2009. I visited countless photo exhibitions in New York to learn.
One day, I went to a photography exhibition that changed my career entirely. I saw a photographer who was talking about his single photo about 30 minute. My photography career ended that day.
To me Visual art medium is something that the artist must show rather than talk. On the other hand, Movie/Film,is easily judged by audience. It’s all about, people love it, or hate it. I don’t have to excuse about the work unlike any other art form.
It’s a pure criticism art form, which I can learn about, where I stand. That’s the reason I started this film directing career.
CN: What was the inspiration behind your film, Escape?
MP: The idea came out during the research on LED lighting strip for on set using for my own music video project. I realized that I could make a clothes using these low voltage LED strips. I want this film to be very subjective. It’s all about Gideon’s perspective until the very last. The main reason is that I want my audiences to feel fantasy through Gideon’s experience on meeting an unknown creature accidentally. I want my audiences to understand the film without listening any dialog. To me, dialog must not be used unless, you don’t have any choice. I love Tchaikovsky and Wieniawski’s songs. When I wrote the script, I was extensively listen both “Meditation D. Minor”, and “The Legende” At the end I chose the Meditation from Tchaikovsky’s Violin concerto “Meditation”.
CN: Where was the film shot?
MP: The interior was one of my friend’s companies and the exterior is located in wall street, and it’s pier in Manhattan, New York City.
CN: The actor and actress in the film gave sublime performances, was the casting & filming challenging or did it all come together easily?
MP: Actually, I almost froze them to death (Joke…) It was really cold. I think It was between -15 to -20 degrees with heavy wind situation that I couldn’t even use the Drone for the last ending shot (DJI’s Inspire 1 couldn’t fly because the weather was too cold, and the battery was frozen literally).
In fact, we called off the day one in the middle of the shooting. After it was called off, we had to push another day a week later (Which was even colder!) I had thought both castings would runaway from the project, but they didn’t. I would like to thank to both Mario and Anne for big patient and trust to their director for the project.
Special Note: Actor Mario Leon Adrion was nominated for Best Actor in a Fashion Film at this year’s 2017 CinéFashion Film Awards!
CN: What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in terms of concept to execution as well as getting your finished product out there?
MP: I think the biggest obstacle was technical problems. There were literally no fashion films at all back then, not even a music video, with LED clothes. I am sure we are the first fashion film with a custom LED designed costume project. I researched so much about it, and I couldn’t believe that was the case. Well, the first means, you actually need to make a lot of mistakes, and I learned a lot of lessons.
Because none of the fashion/costume designers made these kinds of clothes with battery power inside the clothes, we made many wrong choices while we were making the costumes. First of all, we made the LED costume with BAD quality LED strips from Ebay + Alibaba (Internet wholesale website from China) to save the money.
In fact, the costumes were supposed not to be blinking/flicking during the shoot. At the end of the scene, everything was broken, except the head light DURING THE SHOOT. Hahaha…
Well, after i showed the film to pre-screen to my colleagues filmmakers, I realized that nobody actually feel bad about it. In fact, they liked the idea of the blinking/Flicking was some sort of loosing her power due to lacks of the star.
I really didn’t mean to make it happen, but it came out while I was editing. I didn’t intend to make it like that…
CN: We loved the costumes, can you tell us about the styling of the film? Which fashion designers were showcased?
MP: Jai Ren (Fashion Designer), and King Redman (Producer/Art Director) made the costume beautifully. Again, King and I have made 4 more shorts, other than Escape. He and I both wanted to make something with futuristic and minimalistic ideas.
Hair was made by Rodnei, and his work is beyond amazing. If you see her head, he literally took 4-5 hours to make that head piece on top of her head. Stylist was Alvin, and as always, his way of styling before the the camera is rolling helped us following the schedule under the crazy weather.
CN: Is there social media behind the film? Where can we follow you?
MP: We didn’t do the social media marketing, but you can follow the director’s Instagram. It’s @MINUPARK_NYC
CN: What’s your favorite piece of equipment you can’t live without?
MP: iPhone. I am known director for a storyboard follower. I don’t like improvising on the set, because it’s expensive (time consuming), and sometimes these could break the original thoughts of the editing in my head. I literally makes every single shot of storyboard. I mean really everything. But, without a phone, I can’t see it, nor show my DP efficiently.
Also, some of the difficult long take’s case, I take a video with iPhone and show it to my DP, and they usually get what I want.
CN: Any advice or tips/tricks for new filmmakers?
MP: Out of the entire movie, there are literally 10-20 seconds of interior shot. I strongly recommend young filmmakers to shoot outside. Do not wait until the money/project comes to your hand, write a story that you can make with $500 – $1500.
Do not hire expensive cameras, unless you can handle them… For example, the day I was shooting this project, I owned the Red Dragon Epic, but we skipped using it, because we didn’t have permit to light outdoor mostly. We had only 3 battery powered light panel with monopod. (It’s legal to hold the light with a single leg, but light stand). If we hired the Red, we couldn’t have shot anything because it was dark. We gave up the quality of the images, and used Sony, so that we could have finished the project with what we have. Note that most of handheld shot was by small Mirrorless camera(A7RII) not the FS7.
That’s the technology where we live in. You need to think what you need and why you need before you choose your gear.
CN: What’s next for Minu Park?
MP: Most of my colleague Korean Director friends left the country (The USA), and are preparing their films in South Korea. I am surviving in New York City doing commercial directing gigs and DP gigs that my friends asked me to help.
Although, I have a language, and cultural barrier, I want to show my friends that we can make a movie.
Motion picture is a tool, where you can show the story rather than talk, and I am trying to improve my directing skills using this disadvantaged status.
Currently, I am in pre productions for two features for 2018, and a short for 2017. Luckly all of these projects were funded. The short is very similar to Escape, and will be shot on October.
One of the feature film was originated by a short I directed called “Yolk” (Currently, I am about to send the film to the festivals) That short was well reviewed by legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog.
He encouraged me to make the short into the feature film.
“Finding Self Identity”, “Achieving Impossible Dream” are the themes that I want to discover while I am doing these three projects.
The producer is still fixing some of the press kit, I will send it to you as soon as he fixes 😉