Portfolio

DOCUMENTARY

1

The Edge of Heaven, 29Min. 30Sec. HDV, Director, and Writer, 2009

Pakistani communities in New York City formed in the early 1960s at first.  In the decades that followed, the neighborhood transformed into a bustling center for the Pakistani community, adding to the vitality of multicultural New York.

However, since September 11, fear of persecution, intense government scrutiny, and police detention has led to the out-migration of at least 15,000 Pakistanis from New York City to disparate locations in Europe, Canada, and Pakistan. Businesses in Little Pakistan have suffered dramatically, and several profitable restaurants and other ethnic businesses could barely afford to stay open. The downward turn in this ethnic economy has implications beyond the local.

Broadcast on CUNY-TV series “Brooklyn College Presents,” as well as was screened at the Brecht Forum in New York City; the Museum of Chinese in America, the 32nd Asian American International Film Festival and; Martin E. Segal Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center in New York City.

 

China (도자기), 6 X 60Min. HDTV, Writer.  

2“A grand epic interpreting the human civilization encoded in china”

Human history has witnessed civilizations from different roots coexisting with one another. Humankind has incessantly accepted and internalized elements of other civilizations. these elements, in return, fueled further development of civilizations. China is arguably the very first mass-produced, highly value-added, and technically advanced product ever made by human brands. And china presents itself as the crystallization of such inter-civilizational efforts.

“If America created the spaceship, the Song Dynasty gave birth to china”

It was china that provided China with important channels for international trade in the 9th century. Just as silk had opened the Silk Road, china opened up the seafaring China Route.

Both Muslim Middle East and Christian Europe greeted this mysterious porcelain from the East with enthusiasm and fascination. Yet, the arrival of the chinaware did not accompany its secret know-how. Until the 15th century, only China and Korea had the technology to produce china. Japan joined these East Asian porcelain producing powers later in the 16th century after bringing Korean potters to Japan during her invasion to Korea. In the 18th century, Europeans finally succeeded in deciphering the secret of porcelain technology, largely thanks to the scientific and experimental knowledge acquired and accumulated since the Renaissance period. European soon took the lead of the world’s porcelain market. Furthermore, after experimenting with the nature of clay, Europeans gave birth to a new product called ceramics.

This marked the start of a whole new area of porcelain industry, which would later make the ‘travel through space in a glazed jar’ possible in the 20th century.

“A documentary series exploring the 10000-year history of human civilization”

How did science and artwork together in the creation of this new culture? How did china affect the flow of history in other parts of the world? Do the historical and civilizational codes engraved in china pieces bear equal meaning for us in the 21st century as they did in the past?

Covering from Egypt of 10000 years ago to Washington D.C. of the 21st century, this documentary series will take a new look at how civilizational exchanges have nourished human history.

Ep. 1 Origins: The Birth of China (흙으로부터) [Link]

Synopsis: Ever since humankind mastered the command over a fire, vessel making using clay and fire has continued until today. One of the very first clay containers was baked in the Nile area in Africa. Since then, earthenwares appeared in every civilization in the continents of Eurasia and America. Earthenware, the first vessel, comprehended a universal human desire to preserve food safely. Every civilization strove to develop vessels that are more durable and better water-resistant. It was a competing effort to find better ways to raise the fire temperature and to solidify clay particles more firmly. China was the winner in this competition. Her land was abundant in heat-resistant clay and firewood. Such blessings of nature awarded the victory to China: Chinese potters finally gave birth to porcelain by fire-treating clay in the heat of 1220c. The porcelain was the strongest vessel human hands had ever produced. It rapidly spread to Asia and Africa, yet, only China knew the technology. To all the civilizations other than China, porcelain was an object of desire at that time.

Ep. 2 Destiny: The Celadon Road (신비의 자기) [Link]

The color of the clear sky after a rain: This is the color of celadon created by Song Dynasty potters. It is said that even contemporary technology cannot recreate its mysterious hue. In the 9th century, the porcelain technology, after being monopolized by China, traveled to the Korean peninsula. The Koryo Celadon produced there were of the highest value and commanded prices unheard of before in China.  Celadon was traded in Islam countries for the price as expensive as golden or silverware. The demand for the celadon from those countries could not be met by trade through land only. Islam merchants overcame this obstacle by exploring sea routes. This route was called ‘the Silk Road of the Sea.’ Just as silk opened the Silk Road, porcelain opened up the seafaring china road.

Ep. 3 Blue & White: The Mongolian Impact (이슬람의 유산) [Link]

This survival techniques of settlers’ civilizations had not been applied in the Great Plains of Mongolia. Descendants of nomads in this land unified Eurasian continent, the only and the last of such event in human history. The birth of this great empire contributed to inter-civilizational exchanges. Following the Mongolian custom of favoring white-colored clothes, Chinese potters made white porcelain. Added to this was Islam’s cobalt blue pigment. There came the birth of the blue & white porcelain, with blue painting on a white surface. This new form of porcelain would never have come into existence without inter-civilizational exchanges. The blue and white porcelain announced the coming of the age of brush in porcelain making. Chinaware produced in this period became the archetype of chinaware of today.

Ep. 4 Empire: The Chinoiserie World (청화의 제국) Link]

In 1405, the eunuch Zheng He of Ming Dynasty and his fleet left on an exploration. Covering a period of 28 years in seven expeditions. Zheng He’s fleet would advance as far as to the southern shores of eastern Africa. The expeditions helped Europe enter the great maritime age. In 1498, Vasco da Gama successfully sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. Landing in India looking for Christians and black pepper, he encountered an unexpected item. It was blue and white porcelain. Ever since he returned from Calicut, India, with Chinese blue and white porcelain, Europe was fascinated by this mysterious object. Europe’s imperial court and noble class aspired to own Chinese porcelain. It became a status symbol. From the 16th century, Europe was emblazed with Chinoiserie, the fad of things Chinese. From 1602 to 1682, Chinese porcelain brought to Europe by Dutch ships only reached 16 million pieces. Chinese blue & white porcelain spread to the Atlantic ocean via Indian ocean. The world became one big “Empire of Blue & White porcelain.”

Ep. 5 Rivalry: The Century of Challenge (도전의 세기) [Link]

Coffee was introduced to Europe in the 17th century. The greatest consumers of this new drink were the bourgeoisie. The growing popularity of coffee and the emergence of the bourgeoisie class resulted in an explosive demand for china-ware. Once a decorative item in cabinets and shelves, porcelain now filled Europe’s dining tables. The world porcelain market was ushered into a second golden age. The Netherlands and Britain, following Portugal and Spain, joined the trade war for china. By that time, China’s suzerain status and monopoly over china were being threatened. When China’s porcelain production became unstable during the transition period from Ming to Ching, Japan made an entrance on the world porcelain scene. Japan’s china production found its origin in potters of Chosun Korea. But Japan soon overgrew the stage of merely copying Chinese porcelain, and created colored porcelain of her own style. Japanese porcelain competed in Europe with Chinese porcelain and gave rise to a new fashion called the Japonism. Challenge and completion were the driving force for such self-development.

Ep. 6 Beyond: The Path of Civilizations (문명을 넘어) [Link]

King Augustus of Sachsen entrusted the alchemist Bottger and the chemist Tschirnhaus with a task to make porcelain as good as Chinese one. In 1709, they succeeded in making the first porcelain in Europe. It was the result of more than 30,000 experiments over 3 years of time. They tried to keep the secret within Germany. But in 30 years, the technology found its way all over Europe. The industrial revolution started in the UK market a turning point in porcelain production. As machinery replaced potters, china also changed status from handmade product to machine produced product. Mass-produced European china marched eastward along with the expansion of the 19th-century imperialism. China retreated from the world porcelain market she had dominated over 1000 years, which Europe conquered within 200 years of its porcelain producing history. Into the 21st century, porcelain technology has developed into hi-tech material engineering, and is now being applied to space travel. ‘China’ represents the human desire to create the finest object through the articulation of art and science. Originated from an unknown Chinese potter, china internalized elements of various civilizations and developed them into a form of highly advanced science.

*Nationally broadcast on acclaimed KBS weekly program, KBS SPECIAL from November 7 to December 12, 2004

**This TV documentary series received the Program of the Year award from the Korean Broadcasting Commission (2005), the Grand Prize for Broadcast Journalism from the 32nd Korean Broadcasting Awards (2005), the Program of the Month award from the Broadcasting Producer Association of Korea (2004), and was a History and Biography category finalist at the 26th Banff World Television Festival (2005).

 

People Who Never Made It Home (돌아오지 못하는 사람들), 2 X 50 Min. Writer, 2004.

This documentary series commemorates Korea’s Independence Day and tells the story of Koreans who were forced to live in Central Asia and Japan by the Japanese government during the 1920-40s. Nationally broadcast on EBS (Education Broadcasting System) in August 14-15.

A Trip to Guilin (계림기행, 자연과 사람이 닮았다), 60 Min. Writer, 2003.

This travel documentary deals with Guilin, a prefecture-level city in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China.  Nationally broadcast on KBS Weekly program, KBS SPECIAL on January 25.

Nature’s Gold: A Beekeeper’s Journey (동행), 60 Min. Writer, 2003.

This TV documentary follows beekeeper Sung-Rok Kim’s journey from Cheju Island to the Northern Limit Line in Korea. Simulcasted on KBS, the Korean Public Broadcasting Company, and ARIRANG TV, the international, English-language network, which is operated by the Korea International Broadcasting Foundation on February 2.

Korean: Beautiful Language (아름다운 우리말글, 한글), 3 X 50 Min. Writer, 2003.

This TV documentary series commemorates Hangeul Proclamation Day.  Nationally Broadcast on EBS through October 8-10.

The Ground of Fate (운명의 그라운드), 60 Min. Digital Video, Writer, 2002.                

This special documentary tells the story of the Korean national soccer team during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup.  Organized special broadcasting by KBS on July 2.

9/11 Report (9/11테러, 세계는 어디로 가는가?), 60 Min. Writer, 2001.  

A special report on 9/11.  Shown on Sunday Special on September 16.

A Dream for Politics (상생의 정치, 희망은 없는가?), 60 Min. Writer, 2001.      

This program investigates new congress members’ legislative performances. Shown on Sunday Special, a KBS weekly program on April 27.

 

FICTION FILM

A Letter from Mars (화성으로 사나이), 108 Min. Drama/Romance Film, Writer, 2003. Directed by Jung-Kwon Kim, nationally released on May 5, 2003.  Trailer [Link]

Little Seung-jae stays up all night and writes letters to So-hee, pretending to be her father in Mars. Leaving Seung-jae’s innocent heart behind, So-hee leaves for a big city. Both grown up to be adults, Seung-jae is a postman who writes letters to So-hee’s grandma – the letters that never came from So-hee. So-hee’s heart hardens after hardships in life and she comes back to her hometown and Seung-jae’s heart swells up again at seeing her again… (Retrieved from Asian WIki)

 

SHORT NOVEL

Magic Lily (상사화), La Volume, 2002

Shoes (구두), Sprit and Expression, 2002

Korean Mamushi (살모사), Modern Literature, 2001

Gongmudoaga (公無渡河歌), Bestseller, 2001

Springtime (봄), The Chosun Ilbo, 2001

Holiday (홀리데이), Seoul Nat’l University News, 1999; Seoul National University Press, 2006.

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