Interview with Filmmaker Sangwook Ahn (SALVAR)

SALVAR, 29min., South Korea, Crime/Mystery
Directed by Sangwook Ahn
Su-hyeong, who visited the shrine after asking around to find his missing mother, meets Grandmother Shin, a shaman, there. She says he was possessed by an evil, so he needs a salpuri(exorcism). In the process, it turns out that he is being chased by debtors due to his mother’s surgery expenses. For finding his mother, he decides to exorcise. However, finding out that the salpuri was an organ extraction surgery performed in the name of saving the spirit in the body, he struggles to get out of it.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was a missing person poster. But I mistook it for a part-time job poster. I felt a sense of human guilt. I decided to make a film with regretful feeling.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took about six months. It received production support from Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. Since then, it has been taken five months to revise the scenario. Pre-production for 3 months and filming in 5 days. Our staff had a hard time because the completed scenario came out late. I am grateful to the staff who have done a multi-person job.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Sweet, Bitter

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

I worked on DCP 10 times. In the end, the worst situation was not synchronized at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. Since then, it has finished until the end for the future film festival, but it is still regrettable. Originally, it was a person’s job that didn’t work as I wanted, but it was the first time it didn’t work this much.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I appreciate that audiences watched the movie, but I was most happy that you commented on the good part. I also showed the feedback video to the main staff. In practice, there are not many opportunities to listen to the audience’s feedback. Once again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the audience for the feedback in the video.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I was in 6th grade, 12 years old, I saw Alien 2, Terminator 2, and Indiana Jones 2 and found out that there was another world. And I wanted to enter the world. There is also a personal tendency that is far from reality. After that, I naturally thought that I wanted to create such a world. However, I realized that there is a huge difference between watching and making movies. Of course, it’s the whining of someone who missed the time to quit.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s a movie called (2011, Iran). Director Ashgar Farhadi is good at capturing details in his life, but he draws human psychology well. In particular, it exquisitely twists the ironic human mind. Personally, I think movies are anthropology. It’s the best movie in that regard.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

As a movie director, I think the happiest thing is to show my movie to the audiences. It is a matter of later years to be evaluated. I can continue to do this job because there are audiences who take the time to watch my movies. In particular, I think communicating with the audience through the film festival is all from the standpoint of doing independent films. The fact that the audience is watching my movie is so precious to me.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Since 2015, I have made short films in earnest. There were times when movies were released at film festivals through distributors. However, for some reason, the film was rejected by local distributors. Personally, it is fun to find various film festivals around the world through the site. I forgot and one day when I hear the news of the selection through email, I feel like I received a gift.

10. What is your favorite meal?

It’s kimchi stew. It’s a traditional Korean dish. To be more precise, it is kimchi stew made by my mother.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m preparing a play and web stories. There were many fun stories related to exorcism during this movie , there were many fun stories. Based on this, the novel is planning to publishing next year. The biggest plan is preparing story company.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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