When Jennie was 12 years old, her family emigrated from South Korea to Southern California. Like many Korean immigrants, she and her brother were tasked with choosing “American” names—혜정 (Hye-Jung) became Jennie and 영준 (Young-Jun) became Kevin.
Film student Kevin Jin Kwan Kim has a similar story to Jennie’s—and depicts it excellently through his short film “Daniel ‘Jun Ho’ Lee.” The film follows “a 1.5-generation Korean-Canadian boy as his name changes from his birth-given name after immigrating to Canada.”
Credits: Director @kev.jkk, Producer @nastya_itkina, 1st AD @nastasjasedi, DP @azlflrs, 1st AC @vicente.v.h, 2nd AC @bernininingo, Gaffer @trackingzach, Grip @ivar.k.s, Swing @elaine_yanyy, PD @rikcaleray, Set Dec @sharons.neverland, Costumes/Scripty @sheeeebang, Sound Mixer @matildalauze, Colourist @pat.gong, Sound Editor, @ayanamadi, Editor @kev.jkk
Q&A with Kevin
Kinn: Tell us about your origin story. How old were you when you came to North America? What do you remember about that experience?
Kevin: I was born in Korea and moved to Prince Edward Island when I was 7 years old. The story depicted in the film is pretty much exactly what I went through. On the first day of school, the teacher called me Kevin and I had no idea that was me. Being so young, I adapted very quickly to the new country and my new name. However, I soon moved to Vancouver and became a teen and I was suddenly exposed to so much of my own culture again as there's a big Korean community here. It really made me reflect on who I was, what my name meant, and eventually began accepting and learning about my own culture again after straying away from it for all my youth. I'm still learning and adopting, but I have felt much more fulfilled about who I am and what I am doing after I have started exploring this side of myself.
Kinn: Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to create this film?
Kevin: I wanted to create this film because it's a story millions around the world can relate to. Our name is significant and often overlooked as we immigrate and assimilate into western culture. I wanted to bring this story to light and hope that people will rethink about replacing their birth-given names.
Kinn: In the film, the protagonist ‘Jun Ho’ becomes Daniel. What is your Korean name?
Kevin: I used "Daniel 'Jun Ho' Lee" because each of those names are very commonly used so I thought others would be able to relate to it better. My own name is "Kevin 'Jin Kwan' Kim" or 김진관.
Kinn: How did you choose your western name, Kevin?
Kevin: I wanted to include this in the film but didn't fit in the timeframe. One random afternoon my aunt put a website in front of me with a list of English names and their meanings. I didn't really understand or care about those names (I was 6) and chose Kevin because it meant "a strong man" and thought it sounded cool. Took me maybe 5-minutes to choose.