The job of an editor can be tedious and quite overwhelming at times, but due to Sunghwan Moon’s vast experience, his knowledge of editing, and understanding of a film’s narrative and the importance of continuity allows Moon to work quickly and thrive.
Moon has worked on projects as diverse as animated feature films such as Garfield's Pet Force to hard-hitting dramatic films like Tracks.
Written and directed by Logan Sandler, Tracks centers on a skater faced with parental duties on the day of an important skateboard tournament.
“At first, I wanted to be a director, but soon I found out that I enjoyed editing more than any other fields in filmmaking. I kept working that path, and got my first job at a small company that was creating video pieces for mobile services such as Verizon. After that, I ended up working mostly on trailers, promos, and music videos. After doing that for about eight years, I was accepted to AFI and now I work mostly on narrative movies.”
It all started for Moon when he dropped out of law school in Korea and decided to enroll in a small arts school in San Francisco, California.
"I always wanted to do something related to film. I first wanted to be a film critic, but while attending college, I found that editing was the most fun to do. You shape the performance, the rhythm, the emotion-- the movie is really created in a cutting room," says Moon of his initial decision to get into film editing.
In 2009, Moon became the sole editor of Iris, the number 1 hit show in Korea, which consisted of 20 episodes. The work schedule for such a show was hectic and needed to be completed immediately. The quick paced editing schedule helped Moon learn on the job at a rapid-fire speed, which also helped fine-tune him skills for future productions.
Shortly after in 2011, Disney launched the Disney Channel and Disney Junior Channel in Korea and Moon was hired as the lead editor, which meant working long hours and often collaborating with many producers in a number of capacities.
While editing the film And The Wind Falls in 2014, Moon began to fully realize how subtleties in film can truly affect the outcome of the story. “Things happen to the main character, but so many things are only implied that you will miss them if you're not engaged completely,” says Moon.
Luckily for Moon, his outstanding attention to detail coupled with a great working relationship with director Shuming He, earned them both some well deserved praise at the Singapore Short Film Awards where the film garnered a Special Mention Award.
During his most recent project Tracks, Moon found himself more tested then ever in the editing room. Tracks was shot from a documentary style point-of-view in which the camera follows the main character continuously without any rest, which is also known as a tracking shot. The film’s director had a particular vision inspired by Andrea Arnold’s film Fish Tank.
In order to grasp the idea, Moon reached out to Fish Tank editor, Nicolas Chaudeurge, and by studying his method Moon learned how to successfully execute the director's vision for the film Tracks.
Once again Moon’s focus on the subtleties of editing made the film a hit among festival goers and was nominated for AFI Fest’s 2015 Grand Jury Prize.
Regardless of any project Moon takes on, he sees filmmaking as the ultimate collaboration and quotes Jeong-min Hwang, the most famous actor in Korea by stating, “All the other people prepared such a great meal. I did nothing. I just added my fork and knife, and enjoyed the meal. It was all possible because of them who prepared the meal.”