Adjunct Professor Releases His First Feature Film


Kim’s film is now on iTunes. (PHOTO BY MAX MOVISH /THE OBSERVER)
Kim’s film is now on iTunes.

Imagine wanting to be someone else because you don’t seem to live life to the fullest. You just diligently do what you’re supposed to do, and you’re in a relationship that is of mere complacency. You finally begin to take risks, and now you’re on an adventurous high with a new, mysterious partner. This is the story of “Someone Else” (2015)—a new film written and directed by Nelson Kim, adjunct professor of communication and media studies at Fordham College Lincoln Center.

The film has recently been released on DVD and Video On Demand, alongside its premiere in Los Angeles. The main character of the film, Jamie, takes on the charismatic persona of his cousin when he comes to New York to work at a law firm. However, things spiral out of control and Jamie’s life begins to feel like a nightmare. This Romance/Drama Thriller blurs reality with delirium. In a recent interview with Kim, he discussed the process and his inspiration behind the film.

“Someone Else” is Kim’s first feature film. He described the process as a satisfying experience both personally and professionally. “Artistically, personally, I feel satisfied with it. Overall I’m happy,” Kim said. “It’s a very unusual film…I love the performances: all of my collaborators—to the composer to the cinematographer to the editor.”

Kim also explained how this film serves as a good start towards his next projects. According to him, you ask yourself, “How do you get the next film made? I think this movie is a good calling card. This is the kind of thing I want to make in the future, and in that respect, I think it’s a good sort of representative of who I am as an artist.”

Before “Someone Else,” Kim only made short films. Regarding the whole process, it was more difficult since he had to shoot longer than he is used to. Filmed over the course of 18 days, Kim acknowledged that that was relatively short for a feature film, but not necessarily for him. He usually would only require a few days to shoot his short films. 

The most difficult part about the film was its low budget. “Raising money took a better part of the year,” Kim said. “One of the challenges of low budget filmmaking is that you never have enough money for anything. You have to call up for a lot of favors…extremely tight budgeting leads to a very tight schedule.”

With a tight schedule, sometimes the process was physically punishing. Kim explained that for some scenes, there was no time to do multiple do-overs. The pressure to a get a good scene done quickly and effectively could also be emotionally exhausting. It makes sense that Kim would describe the making of a feature film as a marathon. The crew is running to make a short film, but the run is longer and more intense for a feature. Also, post-production took two years.

The inspiration behind the film came from an old French movie, “Les Cousins” (1959). “A kid comes to Paris from the provinces and falls under the spell of his playboy cousin…Something about that plot idea turned a key in my brain where I sort of borrowed that plot skeleton. I injected it full of things that I wanted to explore, things that were important to me,” Kim said.

The themes Kim wanted to explore are universal: “A lot of it has to do with exploring masculinity, competition and social ambition and how that plays out between young men. It’s described as an Asian-American film…but the themes that we wanted to explore in the film are not culturally specific but more universal: dealing with loss, heartbreak, male ego and competitiveness.”

“Someone Else” recently premiered in Hollywood’s Arena Cinema. Released April 1, the film is also available on DVD and Video on Demand on iTunes, Amazon Instant and VHX. It will be on Amazon Prime later this year.