FEBRUARY 9, 2023
USA | 6 minutes | 2020

Drama short film directed by Joon Cho
Starring Daehwan Cho, Hyunmee Kang

For copyright purposes, the film requires a password for viewing.
password: CHO508


A depressed widower is offered a new means of happiness… at a cost.


CineAsian Films (CAF): What was the inspiration behind Placebo?
Joon Cho:
Placebo is a meditation on grief. I think I was struggling with death and grief when I came up with this story. A close 동생 (a family friend/little brother of sorts) had died in a car crash not long before at the age of 21. It made me reconcile with our own mortality, and more importantly, our humanity. I’d never get the chance to talk to him again, and eventually, that’ll happen with everyone in our lives. It’s a tragic part of life. So, I came up with Placebo as a way to reconcile my own feelings of grief through art.

CAF: What were some of the challenges you faced during production?
This was actually shot during peak pandemic. It was for a project for my graduate film program, and we had to use resources readily available at home because of the virus. Naturally, I don’t have an Arri Alexa lying around nor access to star studded actors, even more so since I went back to my stay with my parents during the pandemic. So the biggest challenge was making a film within the confines of a single house with a crew that was all on Zoom with nonexistent equipment. I used my parents as my actors and my handy DSLR camera to shoot it and some LED lights I happened to scrounge together, but it made my team & I be as resourceful as we could. I’m grateful for the experience at the end of the day.

CAF: What do you hope people can take away from watching your film?
Ironically enough, I want this film to be a healing film. For me, it’s about healing from grief, since grief is something that leaves this kind of hole in your chest. Because of that, I want people to in turn cherish moments with their loved ones while they’re here. We can’t get our shared moments back once they pass and we don’t know which moments with them might be our last.

CAF: Are you working on anything new right now?
I am currently in post production for my Graduate Thesis Film titled CHEOL! You can check it out on Instagram. It’ll be headed to the festival circuit very soon. I’m also developing a few feature films at the moment that I’m hoping to find financing for in the near future, while I’m also in pre production for another short slated to shoot this January.

Placebo is one of the many great projects shared with CineAsian Films through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them, submit your project.


Director, Writer: Joon Cho
Producer, Editor: David Lopez
Cinematographer: Marco Zappala
Composer: Matthew Thomas

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