ByRoxana Ortiz, writer at
'Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone.' -Ella Wheeler Wilcox Twitter/Instagram: @ThatSimpleRoxy
Roxana Ortiz

Over the course of two years, Justin Chon has written, directed, and starred in the upcoming film Gook.

Ignited by the acquittal of four LAPD officers after the beating of Rodney King, takes place right before the Los Angeles riots of 1992, where the Korean-American community suffered a devastating blow through the destruction of their businesses and the endangerment of their families. The film offers an inside look at the life of two Korean-American brothers with a struggling business who befriend a young African-American girl on the eve of all the chaos that is about to ensue.

Kickstarter Success

Justin Chon relied solely on the support from fans throughout every production phase of his film. He promoted it on his YouTube channel and in no time, Gook's kickstarter campaign reached its goal of $30,000 (and surpassed it). Chon was able to raise about $56,000 for post-production, a commendable feat for an independent film shot in black and white.

Sundance Film Festival Recognition

Founded in 1978, the showcases films from from up and coming American and international filmmakers in both competition and out-of-competition sections.

This year, Gook sits shoulder to shoulder with other great films in the Sundance NEXT program that features:

Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling. Digital tech paired with unfettered creativity promises they will shape a "greater" next wave in American cinema.

Never Too Late To Tell A Story

'Gook' [Credit: Justin Chon]
'Gook' [Credit: Justin Chon]

Though the LA riots took place 25 years ago, our present society fails to show that we've learned anything from these events. There is still a substantial amount of minorities that suffer abuse from the powers that be and even more individuals suffering from the aftermath these incidents continue to cause. Social media has made it easier for this violence to be seen around the world and has made it evident that things have not truly gotten better — they've become worse.

In a couple of days, the United States will go through a drastic exchange of power. Stories like these should teach us about a past that should not be our present, and most certainly not our future. We should strive to show compassion and understanding to our fellow citizens.

Catch a showing of Gook at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah from January 21st to January 29th.

Will you be attending the festival? Let me know in the comments below.


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