Filmmaker Interview: Korean Indie “Cats and Dogs’ Director Min Byung-woo

cats and dogs movie still

By: Mut Asheru (한국어)

CATS AND DOGS (그 강아지 그 고양이) is an indie Korean romantic-comedy directed by Min Byung-Woo (민병우). Tagged to be Korea’s and the worlds’ first feature length film shot entirely with an iPhone4s.  Hey, we’re all for the green initiative but how does that work in regards to movies and camera angles?  Well, we’re happy to say in the case of CATS AND DOGS it works out just fine.

We had the opportunity to speak with the film’s Director Min Byung-woo about making this movie and his future plans.

Knowshi: When did the idea for CATS AND DOGS come about?

Byungwoo Min: After a short film I made called ‘Stray cats’  in 2011 won first prize at the Olleh Smartphone Festival in Korea.  They played the prize-winning films at commercial theaters and I was able to see mine in high-definition. This motivated me to make it a full-length film.  I deliberated on what to title for the movie. ‘Cat’ seemed okay but, it came to me that I might need an additional subject to talk about so I thought that adding a dog might be a good move. Then, I connected the subjects with my love story.

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“Cats and Dogs” Director Byungwoo Min (민병우)

In total, it took nine months. It took me six months to write a first draft. Then, I edited it for three.

Knowshi: Did you always plan to shoot the film with an iphone? Please tell us how the idea came about and what motivated you to use the iphone.

Min: I have directed short films with a variety of media such as HD cameras, 6mm, 16mm and 35 mm films.  I started making a film with iPhones out of curiosity.  I love movies. So, what to use to make films does not matter.  I think that an iPhone is the easiest, fastest and cheapest film-making tool in the world.

Knowshi: How long did it take to shoot the film and how many phones did you use?

Min: It took me two months to shoot the film. At times I used a maximum three iPhones. Usually one or two were used.

Knowshi: Tell us about the casting process, how did you find the actors and the animals?

Min: I cast my cat first. And the dog is my friend’s. For actors, I used my network to recruit them. The best actors/actresses for each of roles were chosen.  I wanted a female who resembled my cat and a male who put me in the mind of my friend’s dog.

Knowshi: How much of the film, if any, is based off of personal experience?

Min: Well, pretty much all. It’s also about experiences of some others considering that normal people’s love stories are similar.

Knowshi: Did you encounter any difficulties while shooting and editing the film?

Min: The phone’s small screen gave me a hard time while trying to adjust the focus. Also, the detailing exposure was hard.

Knowshi: What would you like to accomplish professionally after you graduate from school? When do you graduate?

Min: Well, I don’t know when I’ll graduate. GPA stresses me out.  But I like what I am doing now and would like to continue writing screenplays and making a films freely.

Knowshi: What do you enjoy most about film-making?

Min: Laughing and just enjoying the film-making process with my crew.  When a good movie comes out of the work that I and the crew did  that makes me happy. Nothing else makes me happier.  It’s aweful when a film is made with fighting and cursing.  The result from a dis-harmonious film shoot makes me feel bad regardless of its outcome.

Knowshi: Would you ever consider shooting another film with a phone?

Min: Yes. I love iPhone films.  I plan to make new movies with iPhones and other smartphones soon.  But…not the next.

Knowshi: What’s your next project?

Min: I would like to make a movie like “Austin Powers”.  It would be a Korean version that’s a parody of James Bond characters.

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