The eldest son of two Korean-born doctors, Tony Kim nearly took a medical path himself, studying biophysics at Brown University and taking a year of medical school at Tulane. While doing lab work one day, Tony found himself more fascinated by his lab slides’ vibrant colors and contrasts than by their biological events. Today his photographic work reflects this unique background: a scientific reverence for the essential elements of light, form, scale and composition combined with a playful yet daring joy in movement, energy and life.
Tony directs through his film studio company TKFILMS.US and has contributed to publications such as L'uomo Vogue, British Harper's Bazaar, GQ UK, Vogue Nippon and Vogue Korea and has collaborated with clients such as Bergdorf Goodman, Theory, Shiseido, Lacoste, NARS, Maybelline NY and Amore Pacific. His celebrity photographic portfolio includes work with Elisabeth Moss, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Sevigny, Derek Jeter, Liv Tyler and Amy Adams, among many others.
IRK Magazine had the opportunity to ask Tony Kim a few questions about his new film "Alter Ego" shot in Paris:
What a great film. Please tell us about the storyline?
The film's synopsis is Joanne, a poised self assured woman, is about to meet a lover in a hotel room. While she hesitates, we get flashes of another woman, very much the same and yet very different, who is getting ready for a rendezvous...
What was your inspiration for the film?
“Alter Ego” was inspired by my exploration of the duality of human nature. People act differently in different situations or even at different times of the day. For instance, you wouldn’t speak with the same mannerisms and language to your friend as you would to your boss.
Talk about the protagonist's ego?
Joanne is disciplined, strong willed, and a power woman. She dresses in an all black smoking suit and has her hair
completely slicked back. She wears minimal makeup. If she were to represent a color, it would be black with a hint of blue,
like the night sky.
And tell us about her Alter Ego?
Anna is seductive, warm and engaging. Her hair is loose and free. She’s not afraid to put on red lipstick and dress provocatively but in an elegant elevated way. If she were to represent a color, it would be red with a bit of gold, like the
early morning sky. She’s passionate, mysterious and sexy.
The music is lovely, who is it?
The music was done by this incredibly talented singer/songwriter/producer called Desideria. She’s based in Stockholm Sweden. She has a gift for sound. As soon as I heard “Serotonin”, I knew it would bring “Alter Ego” to life.
Tell us about lighting for film at night in Paris?
Filming at night is tricky. We used street lights but also had our own portable generator with lights to enhance.
How long did it take to shoot?
This was a two day shoot. The first day was the outdoor sequences. The second day we shot in the hotel.
What hotel is that? It's stunning!
Hotel Raphael in the 16 ar. What makes this hotel so special is that it’s one of the only privately owned luxury hotels in the world. The service is exceptional. Special Thanks to Stephane Thouron at Hotel Raphael who bent over backwards to make this film happen.
How is filmmaking different than traditional photographs?
The building of the story through the sequences is probably the biggest difference between filmmaking and traditional photography. When you’re shooting a scene, you’re thinking about how it fits in the overall narrative, where to create tension and how that will affect the arc. With traditional photography, it’s not as complicated. You’re just trying to create a vignette, a moment of time and that moment doesn’t really need to fit into the other moments perfectly where in filmmaking it does.
What is the most challenging part of shooting a film?
Knowing what sequences to cut and what to keep because when you have a crew of 40-50 people, it’s not so easy to say, let’s move up the street and expect the shot to be done in 5 minutes. What seems like a simple move in the photography world could take 2 hours + to set up when shooting a film.
Can you give 5 pieces of advice to aspiring filmmakers?
1. Preparation is key. You cannot create anything great without preparing for it.
2. Bring on people that fit your style and vision of work.
3. Work in sequences.
4. Understand that you’re telling a story both visually and in written form. Everything you say or do will affect the story.
5. Be flexible and open to other’s suggestions. You might strike gold.
Written and Directed by Tony Kim
A Feet Film Production
Casting: The Secret Gallery
Talent: Emilie Ley (IMG PARIS)
Director of Photography: Valentin Vignet
First Assistant Camera: Romain Malavoy Second Assistant Camera: Guillaume Brandois SteadyCam Operator: Benjamin Groussain
Assistant Director: Nathalie Hinstin
Editor: Nick Korompilas
Colorist: Joseph Overbey
VFX: Industrial Color
Electricity: Mathieu Jourdan, Marc Lambert, Florent Meyssonnier, Mathieu Lacoste, Alice Beneteux
Grip: Mathieu Jourdan
Wardrobe Stylist: Mike Adler
Assistant Wardrobe Stylist: Sjoerd
Makeup: Carole Lasnier Hair: Elite Hair International Wigs by Bruno Weppe
Prop Styling: Anne Gouriez, Corentin Vignet
Location Managers: Camille Gaultier, Amaury Brougalay, Kevin Coutinho
Sound Engineer: Xavier Dreyfuss
Wardrobe: Jean Paul Gaultier SS17 Couture, Schiaparelli SS17 Couture, La Perla, Mawi
Wig by Any d’Avray for Aderans
Music: "Serotonin” Written by Desideria
Performed by Desideria
Special Thanks to Stephane Thouron at Hotel Raphael