USA | 10 minutes | 2020
Drama short film by Eileen Yoon
Starring Carolyn Kang
Watch the Trailer
Korean title: 키메라
Present day moments in New York lead Ayeon to reflect on her childhood in Seoul as she redefines her idea of home.
CineAsian Films (CAF): Chimera is a film that explores how our past and present weave together. What inspired you to explore a story like this?
Eileen Yoon: I wanted to weave the past and present and the two cities to show the similarities living between the two. In the film, I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that these two cities were changing to carry the feeling to the audience of my seamless shifting settings. In addition, I wanted to personify these cities, making them characters in the film. Growing up in a third-culture kid, you feel like you can assimilate into any setting, yet feel like a foreigner everywhere you go.
This film was inspired by my desire to show the nuances of being a Korean-American third culture kid in Korea. It’s a world that isn’t talked about and I wanted to start exploring what this may look like in a film. It was definitely a challenge to show this in a short, and to me, showing a past in Korea and a present in the US with a character integrated into each world was a way for me to visually tell the story.
CAF: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during production?
Yoon: Casting. For our Korea shoot, we shot 3 days after our crew landed in Korea so that means I had to cast in New York while emailing people in Korea watching self-tape videos. Young Ayeon was someone that attends the same international school that I grew up in, and she was recommended to me by our drama teacher. Zoe Han was fantastic to work with and I’m very excited to see her career in acting grow! In addition, it was hard to find ex-pat fathers who were willing to act. A lawyer by day and having an acting hobby, Luke Shin was the perfect fit for the role.
In any case, it’s always difficult to find older Korean actors to work with because I believe that their dreams to act had to be pushed away. I had a similar issue in short I shot in school where it was almost impossible to find an older Korean actor in New York to play a role for a father. However, the time I spent searching for all these actors has been very rewarding and I’m very thankful for the connections I’ve made with them thus far!
Though this isn’t a production challenge, it was a mental challenge to finish this film right when COVID hit. Chimera (키메라) was supposed to screen as our thesis screening in May 2020, where I would be able to see the audience react to a story I’ve been wanting to tell for so long. I am hoping that we’ll all be able to gather at a theatre soon and celebrate those in front and behind the camera.
CAF: What do you hope people can take away from watching this film?
Yoon: I hope that people who do not have the best relationships with their parents feel seen and understood. I made this film with my friends and for my friends, to show them that they have become my family. It is through this film that I would like others to not feel so alone.
CAF: Are you working on anything new?
Yoon: Yes! I’m working on developing a short film about an ex-pat father, much like the one in Chimera (키메라). I’m doing this to explore the world that I’m trying to develop for a feature film about mine and my father’s separate history in New York and Korea.
The film will premiere in full later in 2021.
Chimera is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your film.
Director, Writer, Producer, Colorist: Eileen Yoon
Producers: Katharine Cutler, Joseph Park
Cinematographer: Grace Zhang
Editor: Angie Nicholas
Also starring: Zoe Han, Luke Shin, Yunah Um