Jo Sung-hee

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Jo Sung-hee
Born (1979-02-03) February 3, 1979 (age 44)
EducationSeoul National University - Industrial Design
Korean Academy of Film Arts - Filmmaking
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter, animator
Korean name
Revised RomanizationJo Seong-hui
McCune–ReischauerCho Sŏnghŭi

Jo Sung-hee (born February 3, 1979) is a South Korean film director. He directed the box office hit A Werewolf Boy (2012).


After majoring in industrial design at Seoul National University, Jo Sung-hee joined the Seo Taiji Company and Olive Studio, a children's animation company. During his time at these companies, he worked on numerous music videos and animated films as an assistant director.[1] He also directed the 52-episode animated television series Barnacle Lou (따개비 루), which aired on EBS in 2007.[2]

Jo then studied film directing at the prestigious Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA). He got admitted by submitting a film he made with his friends for pure fun. Among his classmates at KAFA was Yoon Sung-hyun, who would go on to direct Bleak Night. One of Jo's teachers was Oh Seung-uk, screenwriter of award-winning romance Christmas in August, who taught him that "a director should trust his own abilities, but should always challenge their own works and expand their experiences."[3]

In 2008 he wrote and directed the 43-minute short film Don't Step Out of the House (남매의 집), in which two impoverished children are menaced by strangers in the basement of a house. The short won several awards in 2009, including Best Picture at the Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival and the Seoul Independent Film Festival, the Eastar Jet Award (Best Korean Short Film) at the Jeonju International Film Festival, and Third Prize at the Cinéfondation section of the Cannes Film Festival.[4] It was later included in the omnibus Nice Shorts (released in 2009).[5]

As his graduation film for KAFA, Jo made his feature debut in 2010 with End of Animal (짐승의 끝), starring Lee Min-ji and Park Hae-il. Part apocalypse, part horror, part mystery movie, the plot follows a young woman in the last month of her pregnancy who runs into a series of ordeals and uncanny misfortunes while trying to get to her hometown to give birth. The film drew acclaim from local critics and in the international film festival circuit.[6]

Jo surprised the film industry in 2012 with his second feature. Unlike his previous films which delved into the intricacies of the human psyche and had been called "dark, even grotesque," A Werewolf Boy (늑대소년) was a fantasy romance starring popular actors Song Joong-ki and Park Bo-young. Though admittedly commercial, Jo said he didn't compromise a lot in making the film and that he'd "always wanted to make a movie that can be widely watched and enjoyed by all generations."[3][7] It also retained the whimsical sense of humor and creeping sense of doubt that characterized his previous works.[8] The coming-of-age film takes place in a rural Korean town in the 1960s, where a teenage girl meets a feral boy who can neither read nor speak. She teaches him civilized human behavior using a dog-training manual, and the two fall in love, but the mystery of his origins and the townspeople's fear threaten their idyll.[9][10] After its world premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, domestically the film reached nearly 7 million admissions to become the third best-selling Korean film of 2012 and currently the most successful Korean melodrama of all time.[11] Jo received the 2013 Discovery Award from the Korea Film Reporters Association, and Best New Director from the 2013 Baeksang Arts Awards.[12]

In 2021, he was selected as jury member for Bucheon Choice Features section of 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival held in July.[13]


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2009 35th Seoul Independent Film Festival Best Picture Don't Step Out of the House Won
8th Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival Grand Prize Won
Absolute Nightmare Best Film Award Won
62nd Cannes Film Festival Cine Foundation Section 3rd Prize Won
10th Jeonju International Film Festival Film Won
4th KOFRA Film Awards (Korea Film Reporters Association)
Mont Blanc Discovery Award A Werewolf Boy Won
Best Film Nominated [14][15]
Best New Director Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
5th Terracotta Far East Film Festival
Current Asian Cinema Audience Award Won
Best New Director Nominated
Best New Director Nominated
2021 26th Chunsa Film Art Awards Best Director Space Sweepers Won [16]


  1. ^ "조성희 (JO Sunghee)". Cine21 (in Korean). Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  2. ^ "JO Sung-hee". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  3. ^ a b Lee, Claire (5 November 2012). "Director scores debut hit with coming-of-age beast tale". The Korea Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  4. ^ "Don't Step Out of the House". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  5. ^ Giammarco, Tom (11 September 2010). "Don't Step Out of the House (2008)". Seen in Jeonju. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  6. ^ Elley, Derek (13 December 2010). "End of Animal". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  7. ^ Park, Eun-jee (26 October 2012). "Uncomplicated relationship central to 'A Werewolf Boy'". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Paquet, Darcy (5 October 2012). "In Focus: A Werewolf Boy". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  9. ^ Lee, Claire (27 September 2012). "Werewolf tale brings out beast in Song". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  10. ^ Baek, Byung-yeul (15 November 2012). "Werewolf Boy - witty, tragic tale of romance". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  11. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (19 November 2012). "Werewolf Boy the top melodrama". Korea JoongAng Daily. Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  12. ^ Ji, Yong-jin (13 May 2013). "RYU Seung-ryong Wins Grand Prize at Baeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  13. ^ Kim Ji-eun (June 29, 2021). "부천판타스틱국제영화제, 조성희 감독 등 심사위원 16명 위촉" [Bucheon Fantastic International Film Festival appointed 16 judges including director Cho Seong-hee]. Newsis (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  14. ^ Conran, Pierce (9 April 2013). "49th PaekSang Arts Awards Nominations Revealed". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-04-11.
  15. ^ Ji, Yong-jin (13 May 2013). "RYU Seung-ryong Wins Grand Prize at Baeksang Arts Awards". Korean Film Council. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
  16. ^ Noh Gyu-min (November 19, 2021). "[종합] 송중기·전도연, 남녀주연상…넷플릭스 '승리호' 최우수 감독상까지 2관왕 ('제26회 춘사영화제')" [[Comprehensive] Song Joong-ki and Jeon Do-yeon, Best Supporting Actor... Netflix's 'Seungriho' won two awards for Best Director ('26th Chunsa Film Festival')]. Ten Asia (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved November 19, 2021.

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