01 Oct Q&A WITH BEOMSIK SHIM, DIRECTOR OF THE WONDER HOSPITAL
Fresh from winning the coveted Best Student Prize Award from SIGGRAPH 2010, and Best Animation At the prestigious Los Angeles Film Festival and Seattle Int’l Film Festival, Beomsik Shimbe Shim pulls back the curtain to share a little on the making of his amazingly imaginative and surreal ﬁlm, “The Wonder Hospital.”
CHEN: “THE WONDER HOSPITAL” IS DELICIOUSLY STRANGE AND IMAGINATIVE. WHERE DID YOU GET THE INITIAL IDEA FOR THIS FILM?
BEOMSIK SHIMBE SHIM: Exposing the oddities and ironies hidden in our mundane lives, have been the main interest in my works. People see many strange looks and situations in my ﬁlms, but most of them were from the details around my daily life. I collect them like I’m writing a diary on my sketchbook, and used them to generate unexpected meanings and feelings. The Main concept of using the mirror reﬂection in the climax of my ﬁlm was from my own life when I was sitting in New York subway one day, looking at my own distorted reﬂection on the metal wall of a train.
CHEN: YOUR FILM FEATURES SOME AMAZINGLY FLUID ANIMATION. WERE THEY HAND ANIMATED, OR USING SOME SORT OF PHYSICS SIMULATION?
SHIM:I used cloth and water simulation. I always felt 3D CG visually looked too solid and stiff, and too artiﬁcially perfect. I think using physics simulations can often help to soften out this stiffness.
CHEN: THE ATMOSPHERE AND VIBE OF ALL YOUR FILMS TEND TO BE SURREAL YET FAMILIAR. TELL US WHO ARE YOUR MAIN INFLUENCES AND HEROES IN ANIMATION & FILMMAKING?
SHIM: I’ve made animation, but I’m not a big fan of cartoons or video games. I get much more inspirations from documentary ﬁlmsand realism movies. The strong realities inspire me to make my surreal works. But this time, I am especially into Andrey Tarkovsk’s ﬁlms. In animation, Yuri Norstein and Chris Landreth were good inspirations for me too.
CHEN: ONE OF THE MEMORABLE THINGS ABOUT YOUR FILM IS ITS ATONAL AND DISSONANT MUSIC SOUNDTRACK. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN?
SHIM: Music and sound are a big part of the production process. Even in the pre-production stage and when I designed scenes, I selected music ﬁrst that are ﬁtting in themes or rhythm, and worked based on this. Also at the end, I let my composer and sound designer listen to the music I chose which inspired them too. Personally I don’t like using music to dramatize and manipulate audience’s feeling. For that reason, I used music in background like elevator music. I was much more concerned about sound over music this time.
CHEN: WHERE ARE YOU WORKING NOW, AND HOW HAS MAKING THIS FILM HELPED YOU AT YOUR JOB?
SHIM:I’m working on Matt Groening’s “Futurama” animation for a year.It’s animation of course, but extremely different from what I’ve done in terms of looks, themes and the system of production. Ihelp the show mostly using my technical skills at this time, but it’s a very good experience because it give me a chance to think about the balance between what people like and what I like in terms of making art.
CHEN: WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEXT FILM?
SHIM: “The Wonder Hospital” was my MFA thesis ﬁlm at CalArts last year, and I’ve been working on my next ﬁlm since I graduated. I Can’t reveal details about the ﬁlm at this point, but it would be very different in terms of its theme and look, which combines many live action shoots with real people instead of rendering only polygons this time.