by Hankyeol Lee
I am a filmmaker, photographer and artist. I was born in South Korea, and I’ve been based in Johannesburg for the past 20 years. I’ve always been interested in film as a medium, because it was this beautiful intersection between the creative and the technical, art and business, directing and teamwork… It’s an art that involves all of the senses, and I really started to understand that it is perhaps one of the most immediate and powerful mediums in the world. I think that’s what drew me to cinema, how accessible it is to identify with, and yet how complex it is to weave all these pieces together to make sense.
Experimental and independent cinema always interested me more than blockbuster cinema – I was less preoccupied with the business and financial side; I always felt that you should have the capability and freedom to pursue the stories and styles you crave and desire, no matter how unconventional or unprofitable they are. I like to blur the lines a bit, and it doesn’t really matter whether it makes sense or not because it’s all just part of a lifelong learning process.
I’ve always considered myself a bit like an alien. I don’t think I’ve ever identified as South Korean, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel the sense of belonging within South Africa, even though this is my home. It lends you a roaming perspective, with one foot in and the other out. You’re never fully excluded from the context, but you’re never fully included either. It’s also perhaps a bit forgiving – people often receive you differently, and not always in a bad way; very often, they offer a side of themselves that they usually wouldn’t, purely because you are an outsider.
Midnight Poetry: Stage One (In Memoriam)
Midnight Poetry: Stage Two (Reflection)