“I want the audience to think about human beings and discrimination against women or anyone”- SHIN Suwon


Director SHIN Suwon from Korea , graduated from Seoul National University and started her career as a teacher in middle school. During her teaching career she wrote and published two novels focused on teens’ lives. Finishing her 10 year career as a teacher, she entered the Korea National University of Arts(KNUA) and studied script writing. After graduating from KNUA she started her career as a filmmaker. Her feature debut was 2009’s indie drama Passerby #3, which was in no small part derived from her own experiences trying to break into the industry. In 2012, her short film The Circle Line was invited to the Cannes Film Festival, where it earned the Canal+ Prize after it screened in Critics’ Week. Later that year, she revealed her sophomore feature Pluto at the Busan International Film Festival. Noted for its strong sense of style, the high school-set revenge film earned a special mention at the Berlin international Film Festival before being invited to screen all around the world.  Recently, her movie Madonna was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival 2015. It is about a VIP hospital nurse who is on a journey to find out the next of kin of the brain dead prostitute, and uncovers her sad life story.

Madonna - Korean Movie stills

You were a teacher. How did you develop an interest for film making?

Even though I liked teaching, I felt I needed to do something more. So, I started to write novels. Two novels got published. I wanted to make a script so I went to a Korean film school. I started to study script writing there. One day during the course I had a chance to make a short film. I realized that I was good in making it. When it was finished it was screened in dark room. I was very fascinated by the ambiance of the dark room and feedback from the audience. That’s how I go interested in film making.


Madonna - Korean movie stills
How is present scenario of female filmmakers in Korea?

Most of the filmmakers are male. But nowadays the numbers of female filmmakers are increasing.

How challenging is your profession?

It is male dominant profession.  As a female filmmaker most of the time I can’t convince them .  It is one of the hurdles for me to take decision.

What kind of subjects attracts you?

I am mostly interested in human beings.  I am also very much interested in social system.

What do you want your audience to take away from the film Madonna?

After screening I want the audience think about human being and discrimination of woman or anyone. Human life is most important than money or anything else. 

Director SHIN Suwon and Francis Lim,producer
 at the kolkata international film festival
Any memorable moments from the shooting of the film?

Haerim (Seo Young-hee)’s had a birth scene. Before sunset I must finish all shooting. But I have no time; it is very busy and hard. But I am happy Ms. Seo plays as well. When she gave a birth, I felt give a birth of film <Madonna> and that shooting day is final shooting day. After shooting, every staff and actress took the memorial picture.
Financial funding for projects such as yours can be hard to acquire. Have you faced major financial difficulties in any of your ventures?

This is low budget film than commercial; art film is hard to fund money. Although we fortunately got some money from <Sansoo Ventures (funding company) > and <Little Big Fictures (Korean middle distribute company) but budget is low, so shooting day is shortly.  

What are your future plans?

I have an interest about the forest. Now I rewrite screenplay and will shoot next summer.


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