Filmmakers seek hit with ‘Amiss’

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 7, 2013 - 20:29
  • Updated : May 7, 2013 - 20:29

New movie “Amiss” could take Korea’s burgeoning community of expat filmmakers to the next level.

The film, directed and produced by Raoul Dyssell and Will Sonbuchner, who works under the name Sonny, is a revenge tale played out in Korean and English.

After his daughter kills herself, a Korean father kidnaps key figures from her life and imprisons them in a warehouse, where he begins to interrogate them to find the person responsible for her death and take revenge.

His captors are forced to comply, while seeking a way out of their predicament.

“This film is about people not knowing who they really are,” said Dyssell.

“People are exposed to a situation and act on impulse in ways that, had they been told they would act this way before, they would be very shocked and surprised by.”
From left: Daniel Kennedy, Allan Choi, Lauren Ash-Morgan and Quinn Knox appear in “Amiss” (Roll the Dice Pictures/Sonny Side Films)

He also said that it looked at uncomfortable cultural collisions.

“It rubs Korean culture and Western culture up against each other. ... It criticizes both the conservative nature of Asian societies and also the attitudes of many foreigners who come to Korea for lack of a better alternative and just moan and complain and contribute to the negative system that they try to criticize.”

The two directors met at Seoul Filmmakers’ Workshop, which was set up by Sonny.

“About four of us wrote the story but then Sonny and I did the screenplay. And then we decided to develop the film together with me as producer and he did the cinematography.”

Dyssell said the film was “of its time,” in terms of making the most of the amateur expat filmmaking community that has developed in Korea, while working in partnership with Korean filmmakers.

Dyssell said that he had to axe some people from the film, because their continued involvement was leading to conflict, although he pointed out that they would still be credited with the work they did.

But other people were unexpectedly helpful, he said, picking out new co-producers Heather Yzaguirre and Bokyoung Choi.

“We would not have got a well-known Korean actor, Lee Sol-gu, who has acted in Kim Ji-woon’s movies (without Choi),” said Dyssell.

Dyssell said that preparation and drive to finish a project were more important than looking for perfection in everything, saying it can mean a film never gets finished. But while he didn’t believe in holding out for the perfect moment, the film had benefited from taking advantage of the unexpected.

“There are scenes where real tears are poured out in front of camera. There are scenes that I did not see coming,” he said.

The $17,000 funding for the remaining production has come partly out of the crew’s pocket and partly from crowdfunding on Kickstarter. One of the biggest donors, named Mike Altman, put in $1,000 in return for a role in the film ― the biggest reward offered on the Kickstarter project.

“He paid for a flight over and everything just for a role in the film because he loved the script so much. And then when he was here he put in an extra $1,000.”

Now they are fund-raising for post-production via Indiegogo, another crowdfunding site, to pay for coloring, sound editing, visual effects and subtitles. The target is for $5,000 by the end of May, with about half of that already raised.

Dyssell said that if the target was not reached, the film would be made, but that completion would likely be delayed.

“We will have to do it out of pocket again, and we will have to be eating cup ramen for quite a while,” he said.

If funding goes well, they expect a rough cut to be completed this month and the first screening in September.

To find out more about the film and see a trailer, visit or the film’s crowdfunding site at

By Paul Kerry (