In an age where mainstream Korean industry is still apprehensive of requisite LGBTQ+ representation, there are few filmmakers who dare to pursue the impossible. Director Soo Not Sue is one of them; ambitious and fearless in her interpretations. Popularly known by the pseudonym Soo Not Sue, she is the founder and creator of SOO NOT SUE studio, a South Korean studio which specializes in creating content focused on the queer experience. We sat down for a serious conversation with Ms. Soo Not Sue to talk about her filmmaking style, ambitions and much more!
1) Your efforts to produce LGBTQ+ content isn’t an easy task, especially when you are situated in a closeted society like Korea. Why did you choose to specialize in the production of queer films?
You are right. It’s not easy to produce LGBTQ+ contents in a closeted society. But I want to keep producing GL contents. It’s just because I’m interested in making LGBTQ+ romance content more than heterosexual love.
2) Chalna: Enough Time to Fall in Love is quite an inquisitive story about two strangers meeting in a cafe setting. What did you have in mind while scripting this romance?
I wanted to create a story that lesbians could relate to. So, I used social media as a material for this film. In Korea lesbian community, lesbians really use social media to make friends and find a girlfriend. But I know how hard it is to find a girlfriend through social media. If I made this story too real, maybe viewers were going to get bored, so I wanted to have a coincidence point to make people’s heart flutter. I wanted to show a casual encounter (meeting) and have people fall in love easily and quickly.
3) Out of Breath depicts the struggles faced by the queer community. Is the narrative linked to your personal experiences or is it fictional?
It’s mixed. It’s not exactly about my personal experiences. But I can’t say it’s 100% fictional. Because people like me, when we recognize our sexual orientation or identity, it’s easy to feel that we are not normal and it makes us become passive, like Haeun in Out of Breath.
And when I struggled with these kinds of issues, I got help from people who had already accepted themselves as LGBTQ+. (They also know what it feels like) So, through Minseo, who is already out of the closet, I wanted to say to people like Haeun that “It’s ok, you can stay in your closet as much as you want. But also, it’s ok if you feel like getting out of your closet when you are ready.”
4) Your recently concluded miniseries She Makes My Heart Flutter has garnered a positive response. Portraying homosexuality in the backdrop of familial relations, what is the vision behind this script?
I wanted to talk about a generation gap in LGBGQ+ community. I’m about the same age as Jungone, and sometimes when I talk to people younger than me they are quite open-minded about their sexual orientation. I can’t say all of them are open-minded because this country is still way too conservative about LGBTQ+, but I can feel they are much more open-minded than people my age. Because of this difference, I sometimes felt old-fashioned, but also I have positive hopes that society could flow in a good direction. However, I thought that conflicts could arise depending on how to accept this generation gap. So I wanted to say that, in a fast changing society, people adapt to their environment and decide how much they want to express themselves. And whether they are open about their identity or not, their choices should not be criticised.
5) If you had to choose between directing films or dramas, which one would you choose? Which form of art is closer to your heart?
I like both. But I prefer drama now. I can show it right after I’m done editing and I can see people’s review in real time. This is fun!
6) Have you watched BL/LGBTQ+ dramas or movies directed by others?
Yes! Back in the day, I was into The L Word”. I like the movie Carol and “윤희에게 (Moonlit Winter”). I’ve recently watched Girlfriend Project Day 1. And I’ve just started watching GAP the Series , too.
7) You are trying to bring drastic and radical changes to the societal mindset regarding the LGBTQ+ community. Do you think that films/dramas can help in bringing about this change?
Yes, I do think films/dramas have a power for raising awareness. In particular, I think it has a bigger impact on the younger generation, who can easily access contents. So, I chose to upload my contents on my YouTube channel so that many people can access LGBTQ+ contents more easily. I hope my choice will help bring awareness about the LGBTQ+ community.
8) Same-sex marriages are still not legalised in Korea. What is your opinion about it?
It’s really nonsense. When I talk about marriages with my heterosexual friends, I sometimes feel tired. It’s different than having an option and not having an option. I mean, like, heterosexuals can choose ‘marry or not marry’, but I don’t have that choice. The only difference between me and my friend is sexual orientation. And I can’t get married because of it. NOT FAIR! This country needs to stop being overly passive and overly cautious about change.
9) Can you tell us about your upcoming future projects related to queer culture?
There is no confirmed work yet even though I really want to make season 2 or another GL series. If I could get investment for the production cost, I would like to make a second season. If there is any good news, then I will let you know through my YouTube channel.
10) We have a lot of BL fans and members of the LGBTQ+ community as our avid readers. Do you have any advice or message to share with them?
Thanks to all of you who like BL and GL genre contents. Your support helps creators a lot. We need more BL/GL contents to watch, and we (creators) need the opportunity to make more series. So please feel free to talk about your favourite contents in your social media. It can help for publicity. Haha. And If I have another opportunity, I will continue to create contents that you can relate to and enjoy watching!
The BL Xpress would like to thank Ms. Soo Not Sue for this opportunity!
Edited by- Gingerjiejie