Sundance Babes: Women Directors–Kim, Gina, Never Forever

Gina Kim, born December 31, 1973, in South Korea, is a filmmaker and academic in the US.

Kim’s five feature films and short films have garnered acclaim through screenings at festivals and MOMA, Centre Pompidou and the Smithsonian.

Film career

Gina Kim’s Video Diary (1995-2002)
In 1995, moving to the US for her MFA, Kim began shooting Gina Kim’s Video Diary, which dislays the vision of a modern female nomad, who travels between Asia and America, between multiple languages, and film genres.

Screened at the Berlin Film Fest, Gina Kim’s Video Diary was described as “a personal account of one’ woman’s fears, fantasies and projections, providing the viewer with unusual self-portrait that is deeply unsettling, moving and life-affirming.”

Invisible Light (2003)

After Gina Kim’s Video Diary, Kim began making fiction films. Invisible Light tracks the physical and psychological journeys of two Korean-American women.

In addition to winning the special award at the 2004 Seoul Women’s Film Fest, Invisible Light has played at many film festivals

Never Forever (2007)
Never Forever premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Fest in the Dramatic Competition series.

Starring Vera Farmiga and Ha Jung-woo, Never Forever is a melodrama that examines gender, sexuality, race and class for both women and Koreans in America.

It was the first co-production between the US and South Korea.

Scorsese has also called the film, “A moving experience [in which] the performances are wonderful and touching, and the style…intense and very precise.”

Kim was nominated as Best New Director for the Grand Bell Awards (South Korea Oscars).

Never Forever won the Jury Prize at the 2007 Deauville American Film Fest.
Faces of Seoul (2009)
Commissioned by the Korea Foundation, this is a video essay “reveals Korea’s capital as a dynamic place where these opposing concepts–language vs. image, tradition vs. modern, native knowledge vs. exotic encounter–rub against each other without yielding a single dominant perspective.”

Faces of Seoul combines both oriGynal and archival footage, including video taken by Kim herself of the infamous Sampoong Department Store collapse in 1995.

Faces of Seoul premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Fest, where Kim was invited to be a jury member.

Final Recipe (2013)
Kim’s most recent film is a Thai-Korean co-production starring Michelle Yeoh and Henry Lau. It premiered at the 2013 San Sebastian Film Fest as the opening film for the Culinary Zinema section, and was later played at the Hawaii International Film Fest.

Final Recipe is the first English-language film made by an Asian director with all Asian stars. It features actors and crew from all over the continent, such China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

Final Recipe also opened the Culinary Cinema section of the 2014 Berlin Film Fest.

In January 2015, Final Recipe was the first official co-production between China and South Korea.

The film was released in China in 2016, opening on 3,240 theaters nationwide. It will be released in the US and South Korea in 2017.

Between 2004-2007, and 2013-2014, Kim taught film production and theory classes at Harvard University, as the first Asian woman teaching in her department.

She curated the series “Visions from the South: South Korean Films from 1960-2003” at the Harvard Film

She was awarded a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Harvard University in 2014.

Kim is now an Assistant Professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television