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Art & Life with So Yun Um

Today we’d like to introduce you to So Yun Um.

So Yun, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a Korean American filmmaker based in Los Angeles. I grew in Koreatown and it’s definitely one place that influences me and my work the most. I studied film in college and I wasn’t sure what path to take considering I loved it all so I tried them all: Directing short films and digital content, film programming for various film festivals (AFI FEST, LA Film Festival, LAAPFF), film critiquing for my own YouTube channel called So’s Reel Thoughts.

I never wanted to be tied down to one thing and being able to explore all the areas of film has tremendously helped my work.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I simply love the act of creating. No matter what format it is, I love it all. From zines to digital content to films, the process and the journey is always the best part.

Most recently, I’m working on a feature-length documentary called LIQUOR STORE DREAMS which explores the lives of second-generation Korean Americans and their liquor store owning families as they pave their own legacy beyond the history of the LA Riots and stereotypes. This is a very personal story for me as I am a daughter of a liquor store owner and living that stereotype.

As a filmmaker, I feel like it is my duty to tell my own specific stories in my voice. As much as there has been many stories about Korean Americans and liquor store stories already told before, there still hasn’t been one told in the female perspective. I love telling stories that are culturally specific and brutally honest. I want to be able to showcase universal stories that highlight our individual struggles as well as our collective dream. I always say, your voice is important and if you are not seeing yourself represented in media, it is up to you to tell your story.

Aside from the film, I have been creating digital content about K-pop and been working as a photographer. Maybe because I’ve always been on the outskirts of mainstream media but I love documenting sub-cultures.

What responsibility, if any, do you think artists have to use their art to help alleviate problems faced by others? Has your art been affected by issues you’ve concerned about?
The role of an artist has definitely changed with the political climate. Sure, there are people who would like to separate the two but for me, issues that are local, national, even international, affect my work greatly. It’s my responsibility to adapt to the changing times as well as be open to hearing differing opinions. I want to create work that brings people together and starts conversations.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
You can see my work on my website – and/or keep up with my work on social media: @ssoyunum. You can support my work by watching and sharing it with people or if you ever want to financially support my work, feel free to simply venmo me at @soyun-um! We all know artists need all the support they can get!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Last photo taken by Samantha Lee

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