After “Leafie: A Hen into the Wild” (2011) sold more than 2.2 million movie tickets during its time in the cinema – a first for an animated film in Korea – Myung Films hopes to see another hit animation on the big screen next month. to bring .
Myung Films’ new piece “Chun Tae-il” tells the story of the life of labor activist Chun Tae-il (1948-70), who set himself on fire to draw attention to the poor working conditions of the 1960s. The company used the motif from a children’s cartoon on the same historical character of cartoonist Choi Ho-chul when turning the true story into an animated film.
The film, which will hit theaters on December 1, was first seen at the 26th edition of the Busan International Film Festival ending October 15. The film was shown twice and the theater’s 70 seats were all occupied on both occasions.
“The life of 22-year-old Chun, who wanted to change the working conditions of workers, even by setting himself on fire, was no different from the burdened life that many young people now experience,” said Shim Jae, CEO of Myung Films. myung during a video interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, a subsidiary of the Korea JoongAng Daily.
The film shows the dramatic end to Chun’s life when he speaks out and asks people to follow the labor law, which already existed but was not enforced.
Shim said that during the period Chun lived, life as a laborer was not easy. But she added that the situation young people are now experiencing may be even worse.
“Now the discrimination in the job market is much more insidious and malicious,” she said, adding that such a reality can be seen among delivery drivers and others who work on delivery platforms. “After all, the film was made to share the very basic and ordinary value about how to live as a human being in society.”
Myung Films has continuously released films that address current social issues, such as ‘Joint Security Area’ (2000), ‘I Can Speak’ (2017) and ‘Cart’ (2014).
“The company cares a lot about the real historical figures, some social issues or labor problems in society,” said Shim. “We hope that an even greater number of people will see the film about Chun’s life.”
The plan to make this upcoming movie was first laid out as soon as “Leafie: A Hen into the Wild” was released. As the company struggled to convince major corporations to invest in the production of ‘Leafie’, it assumed it would be much more difficult, if not impossible, to get investment for the new film, given the film’s bleak subject matter. . Production costs were approximately 3 billion won ($2.5 million) and marketing costs totaled approximately 1.5 billion won. The 700 million won fund it received from the Korean Film Council set the tone early on to invite more people to join. Many organizations related to animated films, those who appreciate Chun’s works and invested about 10,000 ordinary citizens.
At the end of the film, more than 10,000 names of these investors who collaborated to produce the film went on for about nine minutes. Together they invested about 170 million won.
The company planned to release the film last November, in time for the 50th anniversary of Chun’s death, but the release was delayed due to the pandemic and delayed production.
Q. Is it still hard to get investment even after the success of “Leafie”?
A. The market for animated films in Korea is much smaller than the market for films in general. It’s very rare to turn an animated series into a movie script, and it’s very difficult to get that to a remarkable feat. “Leafie” was truly an extraordinary case. In the year after the release of “Leafie”, TV channel EBS garnered 1 million viewers for its “Speckles: The Tarbosaurus” in 2012, there was no record like that on the market in Korea. From an investor’s point of view, “Chun Tae-il” storyline may be too hard for them to invest in.
Why did you insist on making “Chun Tae-il” even though you were aware of all these difficulties?
Chun Tae-il is a very important historical figure in modern Korean history, and a symbolic one when it comes to the labor movement. If we turned the environment of the 60s and 70s into a real backdrop, the 10 billion won budget probably wouldn’t even be enough. So turning the story into an animated movie can be more efficient than [making a real film] when it comes to minimizing the budget. Also, I saw an opportunity to make this big from Choi’s original cartoons. The characters Choi drew are in their late teens and early 20s, so I thought it might appeal to young people, just like Makoto Shinkai did with his animated film “Your Name” (2016). I thought the animated movie might be more accessible than a real movie, like the 1995 movie “A Single Spark.”
Did you intentionally make Chun’s character friendlier?
The design of the characters was more realistic in the initial phase. Then we thought that such a description might seem old to the teenagers of this generation, so we started to change things. We also used the process commonly used in Hollywood animated films, which is to record the voices of the actors first and then draw the scenes. That made the [voices] sound like they fit the characters’ faces even better.