Asher Kim is a multifaceted artist who hails from South Korea and now makes his creative home in both Canada and Korea. An alumnus of Toronto Film School, he now serves as an educator, director, writer, and cinematographer who uses his extensive experience with children to craft captivating stories that deeply connect with young audiences.
His impressive portfolio includes notable short films such as Bracket (2017), The Flower (2017) Troublemaker (2020), and At the Time (2022), which have garnered recognition at both local and international film festivals.
Troublemaker notably clinched the Bob Johnson Memorial Award at the 2023 Eye2Eye International Film Festival in Toronto and was a finalist at the 2023 Unica Korea International Film Festival. In the realm of music videos, his work on Giving Tree earned the title of Best Music Video at the 2023 Toronto Film School Festival of Films. He also served as an MC for two years at the Gwangju Independent Film Festival.
Beyond his cinematic ventures, Kim also authored Asol’s Fun Filmmaking Class (2021), a creative guide that introduces children and educators to the art of filmmaking for classroom applications.
Kim recently sat down to reflect on his time at Toronto Film School and his plans for the future. Here’s what he had to say:
What brought you to Toronto Film School? Where were you in life when you decided to continue your studies with us?
I’ve always had a keen interest in learning more about filmmaking. A friend in the video business in Korea recommended Toronto Film School to me. Initially, I decided to study at Toronto Film School in 2017. However, during my fourth term in 2018, I had to return to Korea.
Between 2018 and 2022, even as a full-time teacher, I immersed myself in filmmaking. I hosted a local film festival, created two short films, developed filmmaking video tutorials for beginners, and organized workshops for aspiring short filmmakers to help them write their own feature films. However, despite my efforts, I often felt dissatisfied with my work.
This feeling of inadequacy fueled my desire to return to Toronto Film School in 2022 to improve my skills, connect with film crews, and eventually shift my career from education to the film industry, with a focus on co-productions between Korea and Canada.
What made you decide to pursue your passion for filmmaking?
To me, the most captivating aspect of filmmaking is people and their stories. This interest led me to start with portrait photography, because I wanted to capture and tell people’s stories through a creative visual medium. However, I soon realized that filmmaking offered me even more freedom in my role as a narrator. Films allow us to explore a wide array of characters and their journeys. Moreover, cinema that portrays the core of human relationships resonates deeply with me. I’ve found that the more I delve into filmmaking, the more I evolve as a person.
What is the most important thing you’re taking away from your studies at TFS?
Even though my learning journey continues, I consider the art of communication with film crews and actors to be an invaluable skill. While taking immediate action when necessary is crucial, being strategic is even more essential, as we must make the best use of our limited time and energy. Therefore, the efficient utilization of our resources to fulfill our goals is of utmost importance.
What are your plans after graduation both immediate and long term?
After graduation, I plan to apply for a Master’s program in screenwriting that starts next September. Before the program commences, I intend to return to Korea to direct a short film exploring the abuse of teachers’ rights due to parents’ misguided affection. As for the long term, it’s uncertain. My affection for both Korea and Canada motivates me to bridge these nations through my work, and I am excited at the prospect of engaging in co-productions.
If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
Before the first day on set, rehearse and test extensively. Identifying issues early allows for better solutions.
What’s your favorite film/TV show and why?
Choosing just one favorite is a challenging task as it varies with the era, genre, tone, and characters. However, one series I revisit is the Before trilogy by Richard Linklater. His ability to create unique and realistic characters deeply impresses me, as does his independent spirit.