Interview with Filmmaker Zoe Kim (PHONE CALL)

PHONE CALL, 5min, USA, Comedy
Directed by Zoe Kim
Why everyone with a Korean mom needs to go to therapy.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
Few months ago when I was having lunch with a friend, they said “I want to make movies but I don’t have money, I don’t have equipment, I don’t know how, I don’t know where to start…”

Filmmaking can be a daunting challenge for those of us who didn’t get any formal education in it or know of anyone around us who does it. Everything I know about filmmaking has been self-taught through constant trial and error and the generous help of Youtube content creators sharing their tips and tricks online for free.

I decided to make PHONE CALL to show them that you can start the journey of filmmaking with whatever you’ve got – even if that’s just you and your smartphone.

I had no budget, no other equipment, no fancy tricks or skills to shoot something amazing, but I hope that this microfilm of mine can serve as evidence that anybody can create something and have it be included at festivals.

I hope that the filmmaking community will continue to inspire, encourage, embrace, and include unconventional films and filmmakers to break down financial barriers within our field. It’s my belief that Filmmaking should be for everyone at any stage of their career or level of resource.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
6-8 hours.

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
This was entirely shot on my Samsung Android Galaxy S8 phone… And it’s an outdated phone with a lense that isn’t the greatest so I was worried about the quality.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was happy to hear that the story was relatable and funny. I just wanted to make people laugh.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Since I was five years old, I had always wanted to make art that was helpful. Becoming a performer of some sort was all I ever wanted and watching American television and films sparked a relentless obsession of being part of that world. It seemed impossible but exciting and I was determined to figure it out somehow. I fell in love with performing because of my grandmother who raised me. She was my whole world growing up. She was a fan of the arts, especially poetry and theatre – so I wrote, danced, sang, and told stories to entertain her. Life was really hard on her and the only times I ever heard her laugh was when I would perform for her. She would joke and say that maybe one day, she would see me on TV making the whole world laugh too. Because I made her feel better and my stories made her forget her sadness. That was all it took for me. It meant everything to me that I had the power to do that for someone, especially someone I loved. Performing became like an aphrodisiac and putting on shows for her was all I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That’s why I got to where I am today.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Hong Kong action movies were a childhood favorite but also all the classic Hollywood films of the 80s, 90s, and 00s.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Any press and a chance to promote myself is incredibly helpful.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I wish there was less of a financial barrier for indie filmmakers to submit their films. I definitely spent more money on submission fees than making the film itself and that feels a little backwards.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Anything Korean or spicy.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
Actually, PHONE CALL is based on one of the scenes in my solo show that will be premiering in 2023. Right now, that’s my focus – That said, I am also in development for a comedy feature film and have plans to go into production in 2024. My solo show, titled “Did You Eat?,” is primarily a story about generational trauma and how it affects our love language between lovers, friends, and family, but it’s also a story about food, identity, and the Korean-American experience. “Did You Eat?” is going to have its world premiere at The 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland, at Greenside Venues @ Infirmary Street in the Mint Studio. Dates & Times: 7:30pm GMT August 4 – 26 (except 13 & 20). I’m looking to have previews of it in NYC in July as well. Follow me @thezoekim to get the latest updates!


By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: