Your animated short, "Bite of the Tail" is an official selection at this year's Sundance film festival. (Congratulations, by the way!) Can you talk about your inspiration for this film and how long it took to complete?
"Bite of the Tail" started with a question and the film is a result of my struggle in answering it. After an argument with my mom one day (it was one of those typical arguments that we all have with our parents), I thought "Then, what is really the right answer?" As I get older, I find the concept of "the right answer" becoming abstract and it is something I have no control of. I can't always please others, and we can't always agree with the same thing. After making a decision, all I do is wonder about the consequences of my decision, and whether it was the right one or not. Each character in "Bite of the Tail" demonstrates the different ways of searching for the right answer, while an amorphous snake represents the elusive truth.
It took 6 years to finish the film. Of course, I didn't spend the whole 6 years only working on it. It was the biggest challenge to weave my film in and out of my mundane life and artistic life once out of school. Sometimes, I couldn't work on my film, because either I took a job, I got sick, or I was busy getting married. However, whenever I managed to sit down and animate on my light box, I never lost my passion for this film.
Everything happens pretty organically. I write a lot, and then I draw. For me, it is a nice break from drawing hundreds [of] frames for work and my film. For "Bite of the Tail," visually, it started with a tiny doodle at a corner of a page, where also I wrote about my stomach endoscopy exam. I think I wrote about how vulnerable and interrogated I felt from the experience and the drawing was a simple silhouette of a body with a snake going through her mouth. After that, I tarted building a story and writing about finding a right answer and my various other experiences.
Will you be attending Sundance, or what are your plans following the festival?
I am very excited to attend Sundance Film Festival and to be surrounded by people who are so passionate about filmmaking. To stay warm, I got a down jacket and thick socks. I am ready for Park City!
Song's film screens as part of the Animation Spotlight at Sundance on January 19, 21, 23 and 26. (Read more.)
Song E Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and now resides in Los Angeles. Her first film, Dinner Table, was featured at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, San Francisco International Animation Festival, Asian American International Film Festival and National Conference of the Association for Women in Psychology. Also, it was received Best Animation awards at New Orleans Film Festivals and Big Muddy Film Festival. Additionally, her work includes commercials for Reebok, OK GO's Last Leaf music video, Delta Goodrem's "In This Life" music video, and the documentary films Playground and Plastiki. She earned her MFA at California Institute of the Arts.