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A heartfelt film exploring families and relationships between Korean and African American communities set during the LA Riots
574 backers pledged $56,272 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$56,272

574

UPDATE #9: THE HOME STRETCH: NEW MESSAGE FROM JUSTIN CHON!

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Thank you guys so much for helping us reach our goal! The support from the community has been overwhelming and we are greatly appreciative. Every extra dollar will help us take our film even further than we ever anticipated; to obtain music rights, special FX, and other additional resources that we never thought would be possible. Help us finish our campaign strong during our final week and please continue to share and spread the word for our amazing film.

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GOOK: /ɡuk/

Before it was bastardized into a wartime slur towards Asians, Gook was never seen as a derogatory term. In fact in Korean, its exact definition is "country" and is still commonly used in everyday language. Of the films that depict the LA riots — none of them have ever told the Korean American story.

Movie Still from Gook
Movie Still from Gook

GOOK is a dramedy about Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers, who own a struggling shoe store and their unique and unlikely friendship with Kamilla, an 11 year old African American girl. The film opens with Eli scoring a stash of fresh sneakers as his golden ticket to get out of debt and fix his biggest problem: keeping his dad’s shoe store open. Against her brother Keith’s warnings, Kamilla ditches school again to help out at the shoe store, her mother’s former workplace. Everything is going as planned until Kamilla accidentally reveals a gifted pair of expensive sneakers to Keith. Keith realizes Kamilla has been going to the shoe store. Out of anger towards Eli and Daniel he uses this opportunity as revenge and plans to steal all the shoes. Eli must make the ultimate decision for the future of the store and the people he loves. With the chaos of the LA Riots moving towards them, the trio are forced to defend their store against Keith while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the true meaning of family.

Photographer: Melly Lee
Photographer: Melly Lee

A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR: JUSTIN CHON 

In 1992, I was 10 years old when the Rodney King verdict ignited the Los Angeles Riots. On the final day of the riots, my father's shoe store in Paramount, CA was looted. Although I was too young to fully understand everything that was happening, the events from that day had a significant impact on me. I remember many friends and family members from the Korean community that lost everything. Some returned to Korea while some started over. As I grew older, I began to truly understand the magnitude of that tragic event and tried to justify a reason for why it happened. Through my research and conversations with my father, what moved me the most was just how much he sacrificed and the countless obstacles he endured just for me to live in this country. I will be eternally grateful.

Photographer: Melly Lee
Photographer: Melly Lee

For many years, I have always felt there was a need for a film to properly represent the 1992 riots and the Korean American experience during this tumultuous time. Every film that has come out to date about the riots unfortunately share a poor representation of the events that actually took place, especially towards Korean Americans and that has always struck a nerve with me. Next year is the 25th Anniversary of the LA riots and although I’ve heard of several more films going into production about the subject matter none of them truly captures the Korean American voice. That's when I decided this was the right time for me to make a real film about the riots, to share my experiences, and tell our story.

Last summer I began writing the script, recruited some actors, and with the help of my friends, we shot the film a year later. I am so proud of the film and what it represents. I truly believe the Korean American experience during the riots is an important perspective that must be shared. 

Photographer: Melly Lee
Photographer: Melly Lee

However, this is where we need your help from the community. We have a wonderful film but need additional resources to finish the post production such as composers, special effects, and graphics. And we also need funds to effectively market our film in order to reach as many people as possible. Although this is a Korean American story, we believe it encapsulates the voice of many who struggle with the same hardships of race and discrimination. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to look at this page. I am excited to share this film and hope we can do it together as a community.

FILMING IS COMPLETE, BUT HOW CAN I HELP?

Thanks to countless peers, professionals and believers in our project, we were able to raise enough money to get through production and finish shooting the film. Now we need your help to complete our post-production phase. The $30k budget will be used to pay for:

  • Editing 
  • Music Composer
  • Securing music rights 
  • Sound effects and Sound mix 
  • Color grading and correction 
  • Visual effects
  • Marketing and Film Festival expenses
Photographer: Melly Lee
Photographer: Melly Lee

When you join our Kickstarter, you will be an investor in the film’s future. Your support would help this vision come full circle and open the doors to great film festivals in 2017. These funds will also lay the groundwork for our digital, VOD, cable, and theatrical distribution. 

The Press

"With all of the talk about diversity these days, people are very astute to when there is even an iota of racism present. What does that mean for me? How do I do my own part? Because I've had some fortune in Hollywood and have been able to work regularly, some people do look to me for an answer, and the only possible thing I could think of would be to create. ..People may look at my content and decide it's not true art or not worthy of their privileged eyes, but I realize that it is absolutely imperative in slowly changing the paradigms that currently exists. So create." --Justin Chon, NBC News (NBC)

Photographer: Melly Lee
Photographer: Melly Lee

Special Thanks

This film has truly been a grassroots community-driven project. Thanks to our very talented cast and crew for their countless sacrifices. This film would not have been possible without their contributions and hard work. We also had tremendous support from companies and organizations such as the Fernando Pullum Arts Center, Fishbowl Studios, Foxtrout Studios, Tunnel Post, SnackFever, Pine & Crane and many many more.

Risks and challenges

Making minority centric films is extremely difficult and it's even more difficult to raise funding for them. Even though we have completed the production of GOOK, there is still so much more that needs to be done.

This has been an unbelievable journey and we believe that we have created something unique that is different from the typical portrayal of minorities in Hollywood. Supporting our film is a step in the right direction to diversifying our voice in media today, but we need your help to make this happen! Please join us in finishing what we started not only by donating but by sharing this project and raising as much awareness as we can. Thank you and see you at the premiere!

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    GOOK - Postcard

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    Digital Download of GOOK

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    Ask us about our experiences filming a low budget feature and pick our brains about any other questions you have + Digital Download + Postcard

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    Knockoff Signed Jordans

    These are the actual shoe props that were used on set! Only 6 pairs remaining of size 10 & 12 signed by Justin, David & Producers + Digital Download + Postcard

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    Korean BBQ Dinner for 2

    You and a friend can join Justin, producers and cast for a night out in Ktown for some Korean BBQ + VIP LA Premiere & After Party Tickets + Digital Download + Postcard

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    Associate Producer

    Be part of our amazing team and get an Associate Producer credit + join us for Krn BBQ Dinner + VIP LA Premiere & After Party Tickets + Digital Download + Postcard

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Funding period

- (30 days)