Behind the Scenes: Meet the winner of the AT&T Film Awards Best College Filmmaker Award
In October, we called for submissions for the 3rd edition of the AT&T Film Awards, an open competition seeking imaginative, undiscovered short films from aspiring storytellers. Filmmakers answered the call, with 664 outstanding entries vying for a shot at prizes including cash awards, trips, camera equipment kits, and a summer film program at the USC Cinematic School of the Arts. Now here’s your chance to get to know more about the winner of the Best College Student Filmmaker Award Young Gul Cho for her short sci-fi E-DELIVERY.
Cho recently received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. For winning the award, she will receive a $10,000 cash prize and take home the AT&T Film Awards trophy!
Q: Describe your project and what you aim to achieve with it
A: I wanted to critique today’s cultural climate of humans’ total dependency on machines. It’s impossible for people to live without their computers and smartphones. And they aren’t considering the danger something like artificial intelligence poses in the future. AI has already matched human capacities in several areas. Now is the time for us to prepare, to make serious decisions about our relationship to AI before we allow ourselves to be controlled by the machines we created.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your short film?
A: I imagined how our imminent future might be if people keep relying on machines without any preparing. Since machines are ever expanding their position into the human arena, they could possibly disrupt our natural biological imperative, usurping our most basic capacity to reproduce. So I decided to show the potential future that machines manufacture human babies in a factory.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your team and how you worked together to create your entry.
A: “E-DELIVERY” is my personal thesis, so I made everything about visual parts by myself including production plan, storyboard, shot list, modeling, texturing and animating. Shinwon Kim took charge of music and sound design, so we discussed deeply to create music which could take the film to the next level.
- Young Gul Cho, Director, New York City, NY
- Shinwon Kim, Music and Sound Design, Queens, NY
Q: What do you find most interesting about making short films?
A: I found that making short films is interesting because it let people tell their stories to others in their own way. They don’t need large budgets but just their passion.
Q: What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
A: The biggest challenge on this film was about technical skills. It required a variety of technique. Especially, RealFlow which is a simulation tool for 3D fluid and dynamics was really picky and buggy so I had to spend a long time fixing various unexpected issues by watching tutorials and teaching myself on Youtube.
Q: Is this the first time you’ve entered your work in a contest?
A: No, I have entered in a few festivals with the film.
Q: How did you first get interested in filmmaking?
A: I got interested in filmmaking simply because I loved watching movies. I grew up with a dream that I could make movies carrying stories. In addition, I realized computer arts was the perfect field for me when I was in my college, which made me concentrate better on filmmaking.
Q: What does the AT&T Developer Program and contests like this mean to you?
A: I am so honored to be one of potential finalists among a number of films. As a AT&T user, this is much more meaningful experience to let my film draw audiences’ attention by AT&T.
Q: Who have been your biggest influencers in the film industry (directors, writers, teachers, etc.) and what have you learned from them?
A: I don’t have people who influenced me in the film industry, but there was an Austrian artist, Raoul Hausmann who inspired me by his work called Mechanical Head (The Spirit of Our Time). He attached measuring devices such as a pocket watch, camera parts, and ruler to a head to express the pressure and suffering these devices create for our minds. That inspired me to show the future state when machines intervene more directly into human’s area. Also, I was visually inspired by Beeple (Mike Winkelmann) who is a famous graphic designer.
Q: Why should the audience vote for your short film?
A: More people vote for this film, more people can be alert to the danger we can face in the future. This is the time to think about the issue carefully and prepare.
Q: What advice do you have for new filmmakers just getting started in the field?
A: Be creative. Try not to obsess too much over your software skills. Skills are also important but they are just one of tools that can help your stories to be delivered.
Q: What video technologies do you see shaping the future of film and content creation?
A: The factor shaping the future of film in this industry is not a specific technology but easily accessible to technologies for everybody. This will allow people keep challenging without limitation.
Q: What are your future plans for your project?
A: I will release E-DELIVERY online after festivals I am attending so that the film to be watched by as many people as possible.
Q: What do you hope to do with the prize money?
A: I want to spend the prize money for preparing my artist visa to keep making my films in the industry here, a filmmaking powerhouse. I also want to use the money as the budget for my next film.