Yeon Sang-ho

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Yeon Sang-ho
(사이비) 기자 간담회 영상 연상호 39s.jpg
Born1978 (age 40–41)
EducationSangmyung University - Western Painting
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Years active1997-present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationYeon Sang-ho
McCune–ReischauerYŏn Sang-ho

Yeon Sang-ho (born 1978) is a South Korean film director and screenwriter. He wrote and directed the animated films The King of Pigs (2011) and The Fake (2013), and the live-action film Train to Busan (2016) and Psychokinesis (2018).


Born in Seoul in 1978, Yeon Sang-ho graduated from Sangmyung University with a degree in Western Painting.[1] He directed his first animated short film, Megalomania of D in 1997, followed by D-Day in 2000 and The Hell in 2003, then set up his own production house Studio Dadashow in 2004.[2] His next two animated shorts The Hell: Two Kinds of Life (2006) and Love Is Protein (2008) were invited to various international film festivals. The Hell: Two Kinds of Life won the Asian Ghost Award at the Short Shorts Film Festival Asia and the Public Award for Best Film School (Short Film Battle Royal) at the 2007 Lyon Asian Film Festival, and Love Is Protein screened in competition at the 2009 Curtocircuit International Short Film Festival of Santiago de Compostela in 2009.[3][4] Love Is Protein was later included in the three-short omnibus Indie Anibox: Selma's Protein Coffee.[5] Yeon also directed the animated opening trailer for the Busan International Film Festival in 2010.[6]

Yeon's first feature-length animation was The King of Pigs (2011), about a man who kills his wife after his business goes bankrupt, and seeks out his long-lost friend, a ghostwriter, 15 years after both had been severely bullied as adolescents in middle school. Inspired by the works of Satoshi Kon and Minoru Furuya, Yeon said the incidents in the film were drawn from his own life, and he cried while writing the screenplay.[7][8] The low-budget (US$150,000) film drew widespread critical acclaim for its raw portrayal of bullying, violence and systemic poverty (and the lifelong effects of such oppression), as well as the psychology of public attitudes toward a hero figure.[9][10] It became the first Korean animated film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival, where it screened in the 2012 Directors' Fortnight sidebar.[11][12][13] It won numerous awards at domestic and international film festivals, including the Director's Guild of Korea Award for Best Director, CGV Movie Collage Award, and NETPAC Award at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival, the Satoshi Kon Award for Achievement in Animation and Special Mention (New Flesh Award for Best First Feature) at the 2012 Fantasia International Film Festival, and the Jury Prize at the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.[14][15]

His follow-up The Window was a 30-minute animated short depicting violence in the military, and was the first film of the Independent Short Film Release Project organized by Indiespace, an independent-only theater and Indieplug, a digital distributor of independent films. Yeon said the script (illustrated by cartoonist Choi Gyu-seok) was 100% based on his own personal experience while doing his mandatory military service.[16] The Window won a Special Mention from the Jury at the 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival.

Yeon continued to make animation targeted at adults with dark, controversial themes that brutally and incisively explore human nature and social realism. His second feature The Fake (2013) critiqued organized religion, as a cult leader swindles rural, uneducated villagers out of their compensation money, while no one believes the local wastrel who discovers the truth (the characters were voiced by Oh Jung-se and Yang Ik-june, who previously starred in Love Is Protein and The King of Pigs).[17] Yeon said he wrote the script in 2009 because of his political dissatisfaction regarding issues about the FTA and Four Major Rivers Project.[18] The Fake made its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and won Best Film of AnimaFICX at the 2013 Gijón International Film Festival, Best Animated Feature Film at the 2013 Sitges Film Festival, and the FIPRESCI Award at the 2014 Korean Association of Film Critics Awards.[19][20][21]

He then cast Ryu Seung-ryong and Shim Eun-kyung as voice actors in his third animated feature, Seoul Station (2015).[22] Yeon said he wanted to depict society's collective rage in a "simple, powerful way" by making a zombie film in which zombies are among people protesting for the democratization of Korea.[23]

Yeon has also begun shooting his first live-action film Busan-Bound, which follows a man who jumps aboard a Busan-bound KTX train to meet his wife in the early morning. He is likewise writing the draft of another live-action film Seonsan, a thriller that deals with the inheritance of a family graveyard.[23]




  1. ^ "The Fake (2013) - Director". Finecut. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  2. ^ "STUDIO DADASHOW 스튜디오 다다쇼". STUDIO DADASHOW 스튜디오 다다쇼. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  3. ^ "The Hell (Two Kinds of Life)". IndieStory. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  4. ^ "Love Is Protein". IndieStory. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  5. ^ "Indie Anibox: Selma's Protein Coffee (DVD) (Korea Version)". YesAsia. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  6. ^ "YEON Sang-ho". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  7. ^ Jang, Byung-won (10 November 2011). "Attack to wishes on hero". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  8. ^ Lee, Claire (21 November 2011). "Animation is the future: Yeun Sang-ho". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  9. ^ Sung, So-young (4 November 2011). "Dark, brutal King of Pigs no milquetoast cartoon". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  10. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (17 November 2011). "Pigs depicts frightening realism". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  11. ^ "King of Pigs Animation Invited to Cannes". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  12. ^ Lee, Claire (26 April 2012). "The King of Pigs becomes first Korean animation featured at Cannes". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  13. ^ Kim, Seong-hoon (16 May 2012). "Korean Films at Cannes 2012 - The King of Pigs". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  14. ^ Lee, Claire. "Twisted revenge tale gives anime dark edge". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  15. ^ "The King of Pigs". IndieStory. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  16. ^ Huh, Nam-woong (2 November 2012). "Director YEON Sang-ho's THE WINDOW: Society Needs Many Different Frames". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  17. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (8 November 2013). "The Fake presents a raw look at Christianity, belief in Korea". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  18. ^ Lee, Ju-hyun (8 November 2013). "YEON Sang-ho, Director of THE FAKE". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  19. ^ "The Fake Wins Animation Prize in Spain". The Chosun Ilbo. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  20. ^ Conran, Pierce (26 November 2013). "THE FAKE Claims Best Animation in Gijón". Korean Film Biz Zone. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  21. ^ Conran, Pierce (4 November 2014). "Top Honors for HILL OF FREEDOM at 34th Korean Film Critics Association Awards". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  22. ^ Kim, Hee-eun (4 March 2014). "Animator lines up big names". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  23. ^ a b Kim, Su-yeon (17 October 2014). "Seoul Station Director YEON Sang-ho: "Trying zombie series through animation and live action films"". Korean Cinema Today. Retrieved 2015-02-12.
  24. ^ Sunwoo, Carla (11 July 2014). "X-rated anime the first to be released on IPTV". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  25. ^ Schwankert, Steven (14 October 2011). "Busan International Film Festival Wraps with New Currents, Flash Forward Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  26. ^ Frater, Patrick (1 April 2014). "Jiseul Plucks First Wildflower Korea Award". Variety. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  27. ^ "Actors Gong Hyo-jin, Cho Jung-seok, Cho Jin-woong win top star award". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  28. ^ "'The Wailing' named best film by Korean film reporters". Yonhap News Agency.
  29. ^ "'Guardian,' 'The Handmaiden' win big at Baeksang Awards". Korea Herald. 4 May 2017.

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