The junior Cinematic Arts major has found his home and passion at APU
Not many 21-year-olds have ‘trophy presenter at the Oscars’ listed under the honors section of their resume.
Junior Cinematic Arts major Bryant Hyun has managed to earn not just that, but recognition from the likes of many well-known producers and writers in the movie industry. Through multiple professional opportunities and internships, Hyun got a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the film industry in many different capacities.
Stepping on campus his freshman year flooded Hyun with a wave of opportunities, since Los Angeles is a great place for an up-and-coming videographer to be. Hyun had no idea the impact his three years in college would have on his life and his future career.
His story began in the state of Washington, where he first picked up a camera in his senior year of high school.
“It was a camcorder,” Hyun said, “I carried it around on this big heavy tripod making vlogs to remember moments with my friends.”
Hyun’s experience opened his eyes to a new possibility, one that struck him to his very core. Whether or not he knew it at the time, it altered the direction of his life.
“When I started showing people the videos I was making and the pictures I was taking, I saw this like spark in their eyes while they watched it,” Hyun said, “It made me feel like a magician who just did some crazy trick — and I was hooked after that I guess.”
As a high school senior, Hyun and his friend Jared Brown began travelling to downtown Seattle to explore the best possible places to capture pictures and videos of the city. From that, Hyun was able to continue to sharpen his skills. When looking at colleges, he felt he needed to be near L.A. so he could pursue his passion.
Everything came together perfectly for Hyun, as he also looked for an opportunity to continue his baseball career. APU became the perfect destination for him to fulfill his film major requirement, continue playing baseball and be close to LA.
In Hyun’s win-win-win situation, he quickly took advantage of everything he was given. During his first year in college, Hyun was motivated. He reached out to company after company, while making trips to downtown Los Angeles to continue building his portfolio.
In the beginning, Hyun did many gigs free of charge because he knew he needed experience. It didn’t take long for his work to get noticed.
After submitting a one-minute short film to the “I Am 2018 Film Festival,” Hyun’s video was tabbed as the best in a crowd of more than 700 short films. The film detailed the significance of the Civil Rights Movement from today’s perspective, honoring those that fought so hard for the privileges the current generation enjoys. The award did a lot for Hyun’s confidence and it proved that all of his hard work was paying off.
“APU gave each (member) of my team a grant to fly down to Memphis to accept the award,” Hyun said. “We stayed in a hotel and premiered the short film, (I) even gave a speech to hundreds of people, and attended the other events.”
This was just the start for Hyun as he has continued to gain momentum with each and every resume builder. Over the next year or so, Hyun created many diverse videos and even expanded his range into the music video arena.
Another big stepping stone for Hyun took place in the summer of 2018 with an internship at Panavision — one of the largest companies in the motion picture industry. After talking with Kimberly Snyder, the CEO of Panavision, Hyun applied for an internship position at the world famous Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
With all his previous experience built up from over a year’s work, Hyun’s resume was picked as one of the top 117 out of a pool of thousands of applicants. The significance of this internship cannot be understated — a 20-year-old kid with enough quality content and experience to earn a spot with the Academy is remarkable.
Not only was he able to learn from the best in the business during the summer internship, but he was then selected as one of four interns to be an award presenter at the 2020 Oscars. Hyun presented some of the Academy’s biggest awards, including Best Picture.
“Parasite took home four awards, tying the most in history,” Hyun said. “It won Best Picture, the first time a foreign movie has ever won Best Picture in cinematic history, and I was the one to present it.”
As a Korean-American himself, the moment became that much more special and personal for Hyun.
“It was unbelievable, being Korean-American, and being a part of the historical moment of a Korean film winning top movie of this year. Pretty indescribable,” he said.
Being around some of the best producers, writers and actors from an array of backgrounds for that one night humbled Hyun and re-ignited his drive.
He has now turned his focus on his senior thesis film, “Saigu.”
“[It’s about] a Korean-American girl and a black kid who are forced to settle their views and cultural differences during the Rodney King (L.A Riots) of 1992,” Hyun explained.
“As a filmmaker, I want anyone who watches what I make to think about it after they’ve seen it,” Hyun said. “I want to see wonder and conflict in the eyes, in the sense that if I presented something, a life situation, an experience, to someone in a way they’ve never seen or been able to experience themselves, I’ve done what I set out to do. Filmmaking is the best way to communicate with people without them even knowing you’re doing so.”
That is exactly what Academy Award-winning director Bong Joon-ho was able to accomplish so masterfully in “Parasite,” and what Hyun aims to achieve in all of his future endeavors including his senior thesis film.