Story by: Wilfred Lee, Photos by:
Director Kevin Lambert is a prolific player in Seoul’s expat film community. His repertoire includes documentary, narrative and commercial productions, and he is currently in the process of polishing up his feature-length film, “The View from Here.” Lambert sat down with Artist’s Journey’s Wilfred Lee to talk about film in Korea, and to give us a glimpse into the making of “The View from Here.”
Groove Korea: What was the inception of the idea behind “The View from Here”?
Kevin Lambert: We went out to this pension with our friends, and I’m standing on this balcony on the coast of Incheon, looking over all this space and water and thinking, what would happen if someone just walked all the way out there? And I envisioned this story, because there is this little island out there and I saw all this water and mud. The story is about a couple who go out to a pension to salvage their relationship, to have a watery vacation, lie on the beach and have a good time, and when they look out at the water, all they see is mud, all mud.
You originally intended for the film to be a short. How did it become a feature-length film?
I wrote the feature screenplay first, so it was originally supposed to be a feature. We had already scheduled to shoot a short in the summer, and then a feature in the winter. Well, the short became the feature. We were always rehearsing for the feature, and then cutting the script down to twelve minutes. When we were shooting it we thought, well, we’ll clip what we need out of the feature, but then we see all this great material that we didn’t want to take out, and we were like, let’s keep it.
The film was shot here in Korea, though you’re not from Korea. How do you think that affects the story?
Ultimately, the most important thing about this film is not necessarily that it was shot in Korea. Korea’s starting to be more on the world’s radar, so it would be nice for people to notice that there are already communities of Westerners over here doing their thing. But it’s not just about being here; it’s a story about two people, that no matter where you go, you still can’t escape you. And in the end, Korea makes a very nice backdrop, because it’s also a story of alienation, isolation, and I think we get that a lot here, and that becomes a theme, too, being on the outside. Being a tourist, if you will.
How did you first get into filmmaking? Was there a moment when you thought, “That is what I want to do”?
I started writing stories in second grade. We were given an assignment and I made it my point to write a story with everyone in my class in it. I had (my best friend Buck) exploding into hot dogs, and the girl I liked, there she is with lice jumping off her hair, and every kid in my class featured in my story. I came to school and read my story to the class, and everybody was just a little shocked. The teacher’s assignment that day was that everyone was required to write a story about yourself. I guess she was a little offended. She was like, “Yeah! That’ll teach him.” It did! It taught me the power of the word. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to be a writer.
Where do you see the expat film community in Seoul heading?
I see a lot of the filmmakers coming out of this community being very productive in their own right because the learning curve is exponentially faster. I see everybody getting there a whole lot faster than they would back home, especially if they were looking for a job or stuck living at their parents’ house.
To learn more about Kevin Lambert’s independent film, “The View from Here,” visit www.facebook.com/itsallmudoutthere
About this column: Artist’s Journey’s Wilfred Lee and Alison Hjelseth bring you daily doses of inspiration, including weekly podcasts featuring artists from around the globe. Learn more at www.facebook.com/myartistsjourney or www.artistsjourney.org.