For many who have seen “Avatar” by James Cameron, this upcoming 3-D blockbuster may be nothing but another monster flick. Yet makers of “Sector 7,”the soon-to-be-released Korean film made with local CG technology, could not hide their pride at a press meeting on Thursday.
“‘Avatar’ is an amazing piece of work,” said Jang Seong-ho, executive director of Mofac Studio, a visual effects company who was responsible for the visual effects of the upcoming Korean film. “It should’ve been released 10 or 20 years later. James Cameron is a genius and he had the ability to use as much resources as he wanted. For this movie, I’ve also tried a lot of things that I’ve never tried in my 18-year moviemaking career.”
The monster movie ― where 1,748 scenes out of 1,804 scenes are rendered in CG ― tells a story of a crew who run into a giant sea monster while trying to search for oil in an isolated drilling rig off the southern coast of Jeju Island. The 10 billion won ($9.4 million) budget movie’s distribution rights have already been sold to 46 countries. And it is reportedly the first local film to open in IMAX theaters in Korea.
“I think Korean films should be now at the level of competing with Hollywood films rather than simply catching up with them,” said Kim Ji-hoon, the director of the film. “I focused on the cinematic value of this film while working on it, whereas I cared about integrity and entertainment aspect the most for my previous movies.”
|From left: Actors Park Jeong-hak, Ahn Sung-ki, Ha Ji-won, Oh Ji-ho, Song Sae-byeok and Park Cheol-min star in “Sector 7,” an upcoming 3-D monster blockbuster. (CJ E&M)|
Producer Yoon Je-kyoon, who directed the 2009 mega-hit disaster film “Tidal Wave,” said while not every movie has to be shot in 3-D, there are certain genres of films that can benefit from it ― and “Sector 7” is clearly one of them. “We wanted to make it a 3-D film from the very beginning,” he said. “It is a visually stimulating film and we wanted our audience to feel what it is like to be attacked by a monster while being stuck in an isolated rig. We wanted it to be a ‘realization’ film (with 3-D).”
While Korea has had the famous underwater monster in “The Host,” the 2006 film by Bong Joon-ho, visual effects director Jang wanted to make an original monstrous creature for “Sector 7” inspired by real-life sea animals.
“This monster had to move around and transform throughout the movie,” said Jang. “Its form and skin texture were inspired by real sea creatures.”
Making of the film was extremely challenging for the actors and actresses as well. They had to shoot most of the scenes in front of a green screen, relying on their own imagination and intuition about the CG-generated monster.
Actress Ha Ji-won, one of the leading female action stars in Korea, began tearing up as she talked about her filming experience, which included long hours of weight training, swimming and motorcycle lessons, as well as wire actions. “It really was extremely challenging,” Ha said. “I think I was able to go through it because of my fellow actors who were very kind to me throughout the process.”
“Actors said to me, ‘You are scarier that the monster,’” said Yoon, laughing. “Yet as the time passed by, they told me that it was a lot of fun, because it required their imagination rather than calculated acting.“
“Sector 7”opens in theaters on Aug. 4.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)