Interview with Filmmakers Donggi Kim and Seongeun Kim | BADA

BADA WAS SELECTED FOR THE 4TH ANNUAL NYC WOMEN'S SURF FILM FESTIVAL 2016, FEATURING SURFERS EUNKYUNG JEON, SUNSHINE SHIN, HYOJIN KIM, BORABORA HWANG AND ZITA HWANG. DIRECTED BY DONGGI KIM AND SEONGEUN KIM.  BADA (THE KOREAN WORD FOR OCEAN) IS A SHORT, FILMED IN BALI IN THE SUMMER OF 2016. IT SHOWS 5 SURFER GIRLS' JOURNEYING TOGETHER TO ENJOY THE SURF AND OVERALL BEAUTY OF BALI.


bada lava girl surf nyc womens surf film festival
bada lava girl surf nyc women's surf film festival

Where did you grow up and where do you call home now?
D: I grew up in Seoul, South Korea’s capital. For the last few years, I travelled a lot. I came back to Seoul at the beginning of this year to start a production company with Seongeun.
S: I was born in a small town in Korea far from the ocean, I still consider my hometown as home even though I live in Seoul for business.It’s definitely where my heart is. 

How did you get started in surf filmmaking and why?
D: I started surfing in 2010 when I went to Australia to study English. And, I totally fell in love with surfing. After that, whenever I had time I would travel to surf destinations.At some point while surfing and traveling, I thought that I should record all the great memories I was making.Those videos I made back then, they are just awful.Since then, I’ve slowly taught myself filmmaking over the years, and now I live as a professional filmmaker.
S: I went camping on a beach in Korea a few years ago with my friends and I found surfers in the water. They looked so happy and I started to film them being happy in the water. That’s how I started surfing and surf filming and that totally changed my life. 

How did BADA come about?
D: The five girls in the film contacted us in March 2016. They wanted us to make a film about their surf trip to Bali. They found the sponsors for the film and the rest as they say is history. 

Which surf breaks were featured in this film?
D: Most of the surf shots in BADA were filmed in Lembongan Island, which is 30minutes away from Bali mainland by ferry. We chose that place because of the quiet vibes and the crystal clear water compared to Bali. We also surfed at a couple of secret spots in Bali on the east coast. 

How did you come to meet the surfer's featured in the film? Is there a story how they all met and now surf together?
D: The surf community in Korea is quite small even though it’s growing quite fast recently. So, I met all of them in the water while surfing in Korea a few years ago.  There are several surf competitions in Korea and the five surfers in BADA are usually the members who make to the final in the women's longboard section. That’s how they know each other and they often travel together on surf trips. 

What was some of the challenges in making this film?
S: There were many challenges. But, the hardest one was the fact that the ocean didn't give us the waves that we needed at that time. Sometimes it was too flat and other times too big. We had a limited time and we couldn't just wait for the waves. But, we did our best under the circumstances and the film turned out pretty well. 

Tell us more about the surf scene in Bali.
D: The surf in Bali is amazing. It’s very consistent and there are so many different types of waves. And, the facilities for surfers are exceptional. But, it’s been swamped for the few last years. There is always traffic on the way to surf spots. The lineup is always busy. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to go to Lembongan, much less congested than Bali. 

Is there a discrepancy with the number of women and men that surf in the water in Bali?
D: Yeah. There are a lot more men in water in Bali. Probably, 10-20% are female. I think the rate is increasing rapidly though. 

Do you feel that women’s surfing has improved over the past decade? If so in what ways? D: I haven’t surfed for a decade yet. But, for the last few years, yes. I can definitely see the number of female surfers are growing very quickly and the skills have improved a lot both in professional and amateur surfing. I’ve known the five girls in BADA since they started surfing. And they are totally different people in terms of surfing skills from what I remember. Also, in South Korea there are so many female surfers these days. I’d say around 30% of the surfers are women. 

Where has been your favorite places to surf and shoot surfers?
D: The best waves that I’ve ridden were Supertubes at Jbay in South Africa. I think it’s most surfers’ dream waves. But, for filming, Maldives is my favourite place because the crystal clear water, perfect warm water, lots of beautiful sea creatures, exotic vibes and etc. 

What can't you live without when you travel?
D: My surfboards. I don’t remember when the last time was that I travelled without them.

S: My surfboards and cameras. 

Where do you find your personal inspiration?
D: People who are passionate about something are my inspiration. They can be filmmakers, surfers..anyone really. A few days ago, I met a South African guy living in Korea. He is studying construction engineering at a uni and he is really passionate about B-boying. While I was talking to him about his love to Bboying, I thought to myself I have to make a film about this guy and his crew even if I couldn't make money doing it. And, Seongeun and I are already planning the film. 

Whats next for Donggi Kim?
D: Last winter, my friends and I made a film called “The Winter Surf”. It’s shot in Korea during the winter in 2014. It was so hard to shoot in that harsh weather, but the film came out awesome and surfers loved it. So, Seongeun and I will make the second version of The Winter Surf this year. Probably, more documentary style showing the Korean surf scene.
 

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bada lava girl surf nyc womens surf film festival