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Expat filmmaker calls it a wrap on spy thriller shot in Seoul.

French writer, cinematographer and expat film director Will Forrester has recently finished editing his spy thriller "Eyes Wide Open" that was shot in Seoul.

Shot using local talent, the self-financed film tells the story of a CIA agent posing as a student in Seoul who has to stop foreign spies and local gangsters from getting their hands on a supercomputer that can connect to anyone and anything.

Forrester, from Nice, France, felt compelled to portray a modern perspective on the spy genre.

"I knew I wanted to tell a spy story that would be dynamic, visceral and at the same time entertaining and engaging," Forrester told The Korea Times. "We live in an almost digitally connected world and one of the challenges was creating a story that would be relatable."

The three-year project saw Forrester stressing the need for authentic characters.

"Eyes" sees Russian, Korean and American characters speaking in their own language.

Forrester also undertook extensive research for authenticity.

"Development started in April 2015 with research and reading a lot about digital surveillance, privacy laws/issues and geopolitics," he said.

Forrester spoke of challenges in the writing, from early development to the music and editing stage.

"I woke up almost every day at 4 a.m. to write and by late November 2015 I had a script," he said. "I visited my friend Zon Petilla to tell him about the story to see how he reacted to it. I put Post-it notes all over his walls to get a sense of the story, took a few notes, revised the plot structure and had a final version by January 2017.

"We did the casting, rehearsed in April/May and shot from July to October 2017, shooting on weekends only. I was so lucky to work with such a talented cast and smart crew.

"I started editing in November 2017. I was lucky enough to get in touch with film composer Guy Michelmore and was happy to know that he was interested in writing music for the film. So we had lots of conversations with him and his team at ThinkSpace Education about story and character, the intentions, feel and mood I was looking for.

"A few adjustments were made to the edit and we locked it in January 2018. I actually teared up listening to the full score for the first time and matching it to the film because it was working. It finally sounded like the spy film I wanted to make. I tried my best to articulate in musical terms what the film wanted and they did all the magic."

Q: What was the most difficult part in the process?

A: I don't think there is an easy step in the process of making any film. But I have to say, writing a good story with a driving plot and then directing actors while doing cinematography was hard. Plus, I had to make sure that myself and the team didn't lose track of the vision and the story we wanted to tell. It's a lot of hard work.

Q: When will the mastering stage be completed?

A: The film is at its final stage and the mastering has been done. The film is one hour, 50 minutes long.

Q: When will the film be released and where?

A: "Eyes Wide Open" has been sent to an upcoming local film festival, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. If selected, we could have a Korean premiere date available. After the festival run, the film will be available on VOD (video on demand) platforms like Vimeo and maybe Amazon. I'm looking at different options but we will also do some screenings in Seoul.

Q: Do you have a distribution deal?

A: There is no distribution deal associated with the film at the moment and I'm working day and night in that direction to try to get it picked up. I hope we get lucky.
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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Apr 21, 2018
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