Why It's The Reason to Live

Spiritual Cinema Circle

Boyoung Kim is a filmmaker from South Korea. In 2013, she came to America to study film and fulfill her dream of becoming a filmmaker. During her time in the U.S., she has directed a number of shorts, including our November film ​The Reason to Live​, which has screened at numerous festivals. Filmmaking is her number one passion, as she constantly explores new ways to express her creativity.

How did you discover Ron?

Last year, I would often pass by San Francisco’s Powell Street Station after class. After a few times, I took notice of a talented street musician, Ron Kemp, who consistently played the guitar and sang folk music at the station. I enjoyed listening to Ron’s soulful voice and watching him skillfully play the guitar with so much positive energy surrounding him. Those moments and his warm face are permanently stamped in my mind because his passion was just so inspirational.

One day, I talked to Ron about his life story, and I was amazed at his constant optimism as well as his determined pursuit of his childhood dream. Today, Ron brings that same level of determination to Powell Street station, which is a source of inspiration for Ron, even though he struggles with a difficult financial situation. After a conversation with Ron, I asked him if I could make a documentary film about his life. He agreed to help me, and my talented crew and I followed him around and tried to capture his life. It took almost 4 months for me to finish this film including pre-production, production, and post-production.

Why did you want to make a film about him?

As a documentarian, I love to create inspirational documentary films because I like telling stories about real people who have in some way transformed and influenced their family, friends or society as a whole. By watching this film, I hope people can see and experience how music has changed Ron's life and the positive effect that he has had on others.

Another reason I made this film is that a street musician is another occupation people don’t often acknowledge. I believe that many street musicians are very talented, passionate about their music and connect with people. Many people at the BART station or on the street in San Francisco are so busy with commuting, focusing on their work or looking at their phone. So, they don’t take a minute to appreciate beautiful songs playing at the BART station or street in San Francisco. Through my film, I hope that people take some time to appreciate hard-working street musicians.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on an experimental documentary about the legacy of the Korean war. It showcases how art can be used as a tool to portray the Korean immigration story; in addition, it reveals the truth of Korean history with an artistic performance by Korean creative performers.

Learn more at openeyepictures.com