Who Are You? (Nugusaeyo?)

NOVEMBER 17, 2022
USA | 3 minutes | 2021

Experimental short directed by Ellie Yejin Koo
Featuring Car Park

Who Are You? (Nugusaeyo?)

Title in Korean: 누구세요?

An experimental short film shot on 16mm, created with analog editing and direct animation, about Taemong, Korean conception dreams, exploring the relationship between culture, motherhood, future, and gender.


CineAsian Films (CAF): What inspired you to make Who Are You? (Nugusaeyo?)?
Ellie Yejin Koo: There was a point where I was having a lot of the same dreams. I had a conversation with my mom about it, while I was simultaneously studying a lot of gender theory and how it applies to culture and national identities in one of my classes. She brought up taemong, Korean conception dreams, and we talked about the symbolism of them and how heavily dreams are considered as divine signals in Korean culture. These symbols were also extremely gendered.

Contemplating that with my own gender identity as a nonbinary person, I wanted to make a depiction of taemong where I wanted to blur the lines between the gender binary. While the incorporation of both feminine and masculine symbols seemed like a simple decision in terms of what I wanted to communicate, I think considering how gender affects the relationship between a child and mother gives it another dimension of thought too.

CAF: What were some of the challenges you faced while making this film?
Koo: As this was my first time trying in-camera tricks, filming on 16mm with a Bolex camera, it was definitely challenging to not only follow the steps to try to complete them, but figure out practical effects.

All of the items in the film were present physically on set as props. The painted mountain landscapes were done on watercolor paper on my dorm room floor, and we had used c-stands to hold them in place during filming. Everything else were toys I had bought with my paycheck that week. Trying to conceptualize and really work with what illusions we could create using scale was a creative challenge to me, but I’m very happy with what we had ended up with.

CAF: What do you hope people can take away from watching this?
Koo: I like to think of the films that I make as someone you’re in conversation with. I’m visually communicating a perspective that is rooted from how I feel and think at a certain point in time.

While most of my work doesn’t follow traditional narratives, I believe there is one to this. A narrative that isn’t considered. All I really want is people’s openness and consideration of it. I would be thankful if my work just evoked any new thought or feeling about the world.

CAF: Are you working on anything new?
Koo: I’m currently still in purgatory (post production) with a film I had created this year breaking down my relationship to my childhood memories in Korea. This summer, I had gone back to the country to see my relatives for the first time in nine years, so I was definitely very emotional leading up to it and felt that film was a good creative outlet to explore those feelings.

It’s another 16mm film. There are some elements I brought into it from this film, especially concerning double exposure. I tried to incorporate as much of myself and sentimentality into it as possible; I was even able to score it myself which was cool. I hope I get to finish it before the new year. It feels like a diary entry of a film, and it’s in color this time.

Who Are You? (Nugusaeyo?) 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, Editor, Composer, Production Designer: Ellie Yejin Koo
Editor, Cinematographer: Brody Menzies

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