‘View from Here’ a mirror to the human condition

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 29, 2014 - 20:38
  • Updated : Jul 29, 2014 - 20:38
After months of crowdfunding, editing and slogging through Korean mudflats, expat filmmaker Kevin Lambert screened his full-length feature “The View from Here” and short comedy “Caliban’s” at Seoul Cinema on Friday.

Providing insights into expat life in Korea while exploring the topic of porn addiction, “The View from Here” provides an accurate representation of the human condition, Lambert says.

Lambert said he wanted to avoid portraying any of his characters in a positive light.

“I don’t think it’s realistic,” he said. “I don’t think it is who people really are. I mean, if you want to show someone rainbows and puppy dogs, save that for Facebook. But if you want to show reality and what people are, that’s what movies are for.”

He said it was a natural decision to cast longtime expat actors Wendy Taylor and Miles Meili.

“I’ve worked closely with both of them before, having performed in a play before with Miles originally and directed Wendy on occasion, so it was kind of a natural choice to go with those two,” Lambert said.
A scene from the short feature “Caliban’s” directed by Kevin Lambert. (Build by Flying Films)

While choosing the right actors to portray the aloof porn addict and his exasperated girlfriend may have come easy, the setting and plotline centered upon the mudflats along the coast posed more of a challenge, forcing Lambert’s team to base its filming schedule on a tidal chart.

“The mudflat was a bit of a logistical nightmare,” Lambert said with a chuckle. “We had about twice a day (to shoot) and sometimes it got really tricky because we needed either certain scenes at night or certain scenes during the day.

“(The tide) never came in quite when you wanted it to and if you get really lucky, it would come in right around the magic hour when the sun is starting to set.”

“Caliban’s,” meanwhile, is a short film shot by Lambert and written by Ray Salcedo.

While filming “The View from Here,” Lambert took up Salcedo’s script, which takes a jab at food ethics ― among other controversial topics ― with a macabre sense of humor. Though adding to the workload, Lambert said “Caliban’s” served as a break from his main project.

“So in some ways ‘Caliban’s’ slowed down the process of getting ‘The View From Here’ finished, but I think it was kind of necessary to allow myself some space to get away from that film for a little bit and work on something else,” Lambert said.

On top of filming, Lambert works full-time and has gone from teaching at afterschool programs and taking up a corporate job, to finally landing his current position at a university. Having now submitted both productions to film festivals, however, Lambert has begun preparing for the possibility of another career change.

“So the hard part now is, if it gets accepted into festivals, at that point, what do I do as far as workwise?” Lambert said. “Do I switch over and try to get by on part-time work so that I can kind of go with the film (work)? Or do I stick with the full-time job and hope that festivals don’t require me to go to the festivals?

“I don’t know,” he added. “I guess that one is going to be a tough issue. My guess is that if it gets into a festival, I’m going.”

If his films are successful, Lambert says, he hopes his work can call attention to the great filmmaking community in Korea.

“And I think it (Korea’s film community) rivals pretty much any city in the U.S. at least because in a place like LA or New York, where you have a wealth of talented people, you also have a crab-in-a-barrel mentality where you don’t get out till I do first,” Lambert said.

“Here, it’s just a matter of having free time to work.”

Although Lambert is primarily interested in filming dramas, he says he hopes to branch out in the future by making a horror film. As long as he is in Korea, he added, he plans to produce more material on expats and hopes to inspire film enthusiasts.

“I have worked with a lot of amazingly talented people and I am very thankful and grateful for everyone that was involved,” Lambert said. “If people watch it and think ‘I can do that,’ that’s awesome because we could always use a few more filmmakers in the community.”

By Dina Perez, Intern reporter (