Filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung and producer Christina Oh on ‘Minari’

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Alan S. Kim and Steven Yeun in “Minari,” a personal new film from director Lee Isaac Chung. Photo by Melissa Lukenbaugh, courtesy of A24.

The new movie “Minari” is a personal story from filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung. It’s about a Korean American family struggling to run a small Arkansas farm in the 1980s. Chung assured his parents that the characters in the film were not actually them, but they weren’t entirely convinced. 

Chung says, “My parents, they could see that I was getting a trailer home that looked remarkably like the one that we grew up in. There were two kids, the parents, the grandmother, all these different elements that were unmistakably from our lives. So I just lived in that space of terror for a while.”

Out of that terror has emerged a Sundance award winner and major contender in this year’s awards race. 

Chung tells us why he thought “Minari” was going to be the last script he ever wrote before leaving the industry entirely. He’s joined by Christina Oh, the producer at Plan B Entertainment who read Chung's script and fell for it. 

They talk about the lightning fast timeline to get “Minari” made, and remember an emotional premiere that had their parents bonding in Park City. 

Chung and Oh also explain why they believe the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made a hurtful mistake when it categorized “Minari” as a foreign language film in the Golden Globes competition.



Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker