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Alum Sung Kim writes, directs 'Book of Rules'

September 17, 2003

Image: a still from "Book of Rules" featuring a young man talking with a waitress"Book of Rules," the first feature-length film by cinema alum Sung Kim, will screen at the 2nd Annual Oakland International Film Festival this weekend. "Book of Rules" is a comedy-drama that focuses on three lifelong Asian/Pacific-American friends as they drift apart.

Set in modern-day San Francisco, "Book of Rules" joins the growing number of films that seek to represent life from the perspectives of Asian Americans, a fact that does not escape Kim, who wrote and directed the picture.

"I am a filmmaker because I believe in the power of popular media to mediate social and psychological change," Kim said. "I believe seeing our own faces on the big screen can have a devastating impact -- good impact, that is -- on all of us. But I hope the themes are universal so everyone can get something out of it."

Kim, who lives in San Francisco, intended to make a film that focused on the dissolution of friendships. However because of the freedom he allowed his actors, the story became enriched through the filmmaking process.

Photo of Sung Kim talking on the set of "Book of Rules" with one of the actors"Now the themes are about how each of the friends deals with their own individual problems, so that they can move on or get to the next level. And for them, that next level includes going their separate ways," said Kim.

Kim credits his experiences at the SFSU Cinema Department, where he made numerous shorts and music videos for indie rock bands during the mid-'90s, as having influenced his first feature.

"'Book of Rules' is an SFSU-type film: small slice-of-life character-driven story," Kim said.

Kim is writing another feature-length screenplay, called "Cafe of Regret," which will center on a North Korean spy living in San Francisco.

"Book of Rules" will screen at 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. It will also screen on campus at the August Coppola Theater in November as part of the San Francisco Korean Media Arts Festival.

"One of the nation's top film schools" according to Entertainment Weekly, the SFSU Cinema Department has produced leading filmmakers, including Academy Award winners Steven Zaillian (Best Screenplay, "Schindler's List," 1994), Christopher Boyes (Best Sound Effects Editing, "Pearl Harbor," 2002; "Titanic," 1998), Ethan Van Der Ryn (Best Sound Editing, "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” 2003), and Steve Okazaki (Best Documentary, "Days of Waiting," 1991).

-- Matt Itelson with Public Affairs Student Writer Javier Jiménez








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Last modified September 17, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs