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24 Frames and 5,891 Miles: Connecting Through Film

Two film students, one in America, the other in Korea, have an unspoken bond through a shared love of film.
Design+by+Madelyn+Foulger
Design by Madelyn Foulger

 

Jungkyum Yang is a junior at the University of Utah’s Asia Campus in Incheon, South Korea.

Forrest Gump” stands as my favorite movie,” Yang said. “It showcases the significant memories that unfold in one’s lifetime. It adeptly portrays how even seemingly unremarkable individuals can gracefully navigate life with cherished memories.”

Kendall MacMillan is a senior at the U’s main campus in Salt Lake City. She loves “a good movie musical that has strong relatable female leads.”

MacMillan’s favorite films are “The Sound of Music,” “La La Land,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Pitch Perfect.” “These movies have allowed me to find my unique aesthetic of color, fun and experimentation,” she said.

Despite being 5,891 miles apart, both have found a special attachment to the art of film. Because of this, they’ve chosen to pursue a career in the industry, by becoming film majors.

History and Aspirations

Yang is minoring in communication and “would like to become a director or writer of OTT service productions or a producer of YouTube content.” He hopes to create his own stories freely. He believes “every filmmaker’s dream is to create their own work filled with their own thoughts.”

Double majoring in dance and film, MacMillan said she is most interested in directing, producing, set designing and choreographing for film. She said she hopes to make sets look amazing and create movement on film.

Both students have worked on official productions that gave them a peak into the real world of filmmaking. Yang worked as a crew member on the graduation project of the Korean Academy of Film Arts. During this time, Yang faced the challenges of the production process, and came to understand how truly important pre-production is.

MacMillan has had the chance to work on an array of projects. She said working with Christine Kunewa Walker on “The Ali’i King” as a production assistant was particularly special.

“I truly learned how to run a set, how to do big and little things, and see how sets function,” MacMillan said.

This year, she also got the chance to write, direct and produce her own short film, “Escape the Disco.” She said she learned about “managing people, time and money,” and although it was a smaller production, the experience was one of the best of her life.

Yang said Korean films tend to overly focus on commercialism and compared to American filmmaking, Korea “doesn’t seem to invest much in drama films that convey messages” and prioritize “entertainment.”

Dream Projects

Both students have dream projects — ideas they stay up late thinking about, hoping one day to bring them to reality. Yang’s is a narrative film about his parents’ story.

“Like ‘Forrest Gump,’ I want to portray them as the protagonists of a lifetime so that people can get to know them. I want to capture how amazing one person’s life can be by depicting the story of my parents in a film,” he said. “It’s the ultimate path for me to express my values and what I want to convey through film.”

MacMillan said she wants to make a retelling of “Giselle.”

“‘Giselle’ is a very famous ballet … that I decided to retell in a script I wrote for a screenwriting class,” she said. “It is a thriller that pulls inspiration from ‘Psycho’ and is so fun. I would love to create this film and hope to soon.”

What it all Means

Yang said what makes films more significant is their ability to amplify visual and audio elements to convey a compelling story.

“The technology to express what we once only imagined is advancing, allowing us to manifest our thoughts and imaginations into reality,” he said. “It’s truly remarkable how we can appeal to many people with a message, and that’s especially important.”

MacMillan said a film can make people feel human.

“It is a story brought to life that can immure you into other worlds, intertwine you into a romance and break your heart,” she said.

Yang and MacMillan will most likely never meet. Even if they did, it’s hard to say if they’d be friends or not. Their histories and other interests may be too different. Still, both see cinema as something more than just a way to pass the time. They see it as another form of language, a way to speak through image and sound. Because of this, they are connected.

 

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@grahamcool8

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About the Contributor
Graham Jones
Graham Jones, Assistant Arts Editor
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

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