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Asian Menswear Spotlight Series: Bong Joon Ho

"From Levitate Style's inception, positive asian male representation has been at the forefront of our purpose. 
Over the course of our 6 years, we have had the absolute pleasure of meeting others who also share in this shared mission. When we met Mike Tran of Asian Menswear, it was a no brainer that our combined forces could do more to amplify our shared mission of highlighting Asian men in our society. We will be partnering together for an ongoing series on the Levitate Style website to highlight influential Asian men and their stories. I hope you enjoy this new series by Mike Tran as much as we do." - The Levitate Style Team

Written by Mike Tran of Asian Menswear // Instagram @asianmenswear

Bong Joon Ho is a South Korean film director and screenwriter. He garnered much media attention through the critically-acclaimed film, ‘Parasite’, which won four major awards at the 92nd Academy Awards.⁣⁣

Born in Daegu, South Korea on Sep. 14, 1969, Bong is the youngest of four children. His family relocated to Seoul when Bong was just an elementary student. He enrolled at Yonsei University in 1988 and actively joined pro-democracy student demonstrations where he was frequently attacked by tear gas.⁣⁣

After completing his military enlistment in 1992, Bong completed a two-year program at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. In an interview, he said he used to sell donuts at a school store for six months so he could buy a camera. He said, “I remember holding that camera while I slept.” ⁣

Two of his graduation films were invited for screening at the Hong Kong and Vancouver International Film Festivals. In 1994, he directed the film, ‘White Men’ — a story of one man's unusual reaction to discovering a severed finger. As a fairly new director, nobody knew his name. Bong recalls, 
“I had no experience, so there were no actors who knew me. A friend introduced me to an actor named Kim Roe Ha. For his appearance fee, all I gave him was a gift card for a button-up shirt.”⁣⁣
Bong worked with Producer Cha Seung Jae for his first feature, Barking Dogs Never Bite. The film was released in 2000 with a positive response from critics but low audience interest. Bong’s second film, Memories of Murder, became a massive success in South Korea, France & the US when it was released in 2003. It won Bong Best Director Awards at the Grand Bell Awards & the San Sebastian International Film Festival.⁣⁣

In 2013, the director released his first English-language film, ‘Snowpiercer’, which received strong ticket sales. In 2015, the film ‘Okja’ was announced and premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival where it received a four-minute standing ovation. Most recently, his film ‘Parasite’ won the Best Picture Award at the Oscars—the first non-English film to ever win.