There are two ways that films illuminate difficult truths about growing up: painfully, as in The Spectacular Now, and charmingly, as is done in Let Me Out.
Let Me Out, promotes itself as a “zombie rom-com”, but that’s just a trick to get you in the door. The tag line, “You can’t leave a zombie shoot” gives you a hint that this is a film about making films.
It takes place in a Korean film school and chronicles the struggles of a know-it-all senior, Mu Young (played by Hyun-Sang Kwon) who has never managed to make a film. He’s the most unpopular kid in film school and he gets no respect. He’s repeatedly told: “You only make films with your mouth.”
When he finally gets his chance, to make his film, staring his personal romantic interest (played by Hee Bon Park), everything goes hilariously wrong. He laments at one point: “Christopher Nolan drank wine while he wrote his screenplay for Inception. How come I can’t?” He concludes that maybe it should be white wine, instead of red. As he learns filmmaking lessons, he learns life lessons as well. Two things set this film apart.
First, it is a creative tour-de-force from beginning to end. Cinematography, production design, acting, and editing all get high marks. The technical pizazz is combined with wit, wisdom, contemporary style and a great sense of humor. I laughed out loud a lot. Even the titles set it apart, merging a story board into a music video which pays tribute to the early MTV video hit “Take On Me” by Ah-Ha. Fittingly, Let Me Out also has its own music video.
Second, the film honors the makers of indie and student films who struggle to create, often with low or no budgets. I’ve only worked on half-a-dozen films, but watching this film I found myself thinking, “Oh, I’ve been there, done that, and that’s just like what’s-her-name.” These filmmakers know what it means to be low budget and high passion. Ultimately, it is a film about hope, which is often all that keeps a shoot going. If you’ve been to film school, worked on a film, or wanted to, this film is for you.
Let Me Out was written and directed by Korean Americans Chang Rae Kim and Jae Soh. It was produced by Min Soh and Irene Cho and is the first Korean independent film released back to back in both Korea and the U.S.
The film is being shown across the U.S. and being promoted via the TUGG platform. Through TUGG anyone can sponsor the showing of a film, and then promote it. When enough tickets have been sold, the film is scheduled. If the minimum ticket sales threshold isn’t reached, no one is charged for the tickets.
Let Me Out has shown in LA, San Francisco, New York, San Diego and Dallas. Showings are scheduled for October in Chicago and Atlanta. You can check on the current status of these and other future screenings at the film’s facebook page or TUGG page.