Featured image courtesy of San Diego International Film Festival.

The San Diego International Film Festival continued its annual tradition of showcasing movies from both local creators and global teams. Organizers adapted to make the event safe for attendees by creating a “virtual village” where passholders accessed both live and on-demand screenings of both films and other video content. They also hosted several drive-in screenings in the San Diego area. We’ll be highlighting a few of the shorts among the long list shown this year.


“Postman” 

Photo courtesy of Minkyu Kang.

Director Minkyu Kang along with producers and fellow Columbia University School of Arts students Bohan Zhang and Robert Jones created the short film “Postman”. As part of the “On Pins & Needles” program, viewers followed a mailman as he worked on foot in the bustling city. Things changed when he found a birthday card within a large pile of neglected mail. He decided to deliver it along with the others personally to the recipient but discovered something shocking inside the home.

Compared to some of the other shorts part of this selection, it doesn’t use hard hitting action to bring chills. The panorama of the messy room with the large amount of silence and quiet sound effects develops an eerie atmosphere, leading to the surprising discovery. It is a poignant and dark film that lets its audience dwell more on their own mortality and melancholy.

I had the chance to talk to Director Kang about working on “Postman” via email.

How long did it take to shoot the scenes?
Director Minkyu Kang: “We shot it in Brooklyn for two days. one day for Street scenes and another day for the interior scenes. It took around 8 hours per day. We put our most time/effort into the last scene since we had to wait for the train to come.“

The film has a very unusual story. Were there other ideas before deciding to go with it?
Director Minkyu Kang: “The story was inspired by both my personal needs and daily life experience. When I was living in NYC, every day was so busy. I really needed some rest, but it was not allowed. One day, I met a mail delivery person in my apartment. She was so kind and nice when she’s dealing with so many packages. I was impressed by her kindness. These feelings and experiences were mixed and ended up with the current plot. I tried to make the plot unexpectable since the moments of enlightenment tend to come unexpectedly.”

It ended up being part of the “On Pins & Needles” program in SDIFF. Did you want “Postman” to give its audience that feeling of pins and needles?
Director Minkyu Kang: “To be honest, it was not the section that I expected. However, after all, I could understand why the programmer added our film into the section. In addition, I was curious if I further pushed the story with the genre aspect of the ‘pins & needles’. I thought that it would be very fun. I would like to thank [the] programmer for the selection and the inspiration!”  

Anime Ushi would like to express our thanks to Minkyu Kang for taking the time to talk to us about “Postman”.


“Homesick”

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/360224629″>HOMESICK Trailer (Eng sub)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user46412997″>Manifest</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com“>Vimeo</a>.</p>

The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami destroyed and disrupted many lives in Japan. Many had to move away from the contaminated area, including Murai. However unlike others who stay far from the Fukushima radiation zone, he enters it in order to find his son’s lost ball. His search leads him to find others’ belongings and also something he needs.

“Homesick” is a touching film about living after one’s death. The film happens during Obon, one of Japan’s special holidays where many say the boundary between the living and supernatural is blended to allow the spirit of the deceased to visit loved ones. While “Homesick” doesn’t directly explain the event, unfamiliar viewers are able to get the jist about this tradition throughout the film. Some may question if there was a supernatural element in “Homesick” but even without, the sentimental and melodramatic elements give it a bit of a surreal feel.

This film stood out compared to the others in the “Short and Sweet” program as its heartwarming effects had also a bittersweet feeling. This short showed some of the experience people go through dealing with their loss but also presented what the departed may want for them. Many would understand wanting to cling to the precious memories and also the heaviness of the loss. It provided both comfort and hope for those during troubling times, especially for those that may need help moving forward.


San Diego International Film Festival announced that its next event will be this October 14th-24th. Organizers recently wrapped up its ShortsFest in May, showcasing several short films and industry members. Check out SDIFF’s website for more information.

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