I am working on my 100th film now. Although I admit that the foundation of the strength that sustained me as a director this far was laid by my previous films over the years, I in fact try to avoid my early works. For during the early stage of my career I shot films with an almost excessive speed, indifferent to our life and only with box-office success in mind. Looking back, though, I indeed shot those films doing all my best, but that does not seem to be enough. I have never received a regular education on filmmaking. My education on filmmaking began on film production site as an apprentice to director Jeong Chang Hwa learning skills and techniques for making films. And I got much affected by Hollywood cinema watching films by John Ford, Billy Wilder and William Wyler. Inevitably I became a director much influenced by Hollywood style and it took me a long time to shake off Hollywood's influence afterwards.
A study in directorship cannot follow a formula, because a director should put into his film his view of life and direct/indirect experiences, and his personality and sensitivity in a creative manner. For example, if 24 of you were individually to make a film about 'flowers,' 24 entirely different films would come out. That is because highly distinct individuality of each person is bound to be reflected on his cinema. In addition, if there is anything that I learned from my long career as a director, as actors and staff in various fields collaborate to make a film it is more important than anything else to create an atmosphere that enables them to display their creativity to the full.
You are gathering here from different countries to make films together and it is most desirable that this kind of exchange will broaden mutual understanding among you. And indeed that is what must happen. I hope you will note that you are joining 'Asian' Film Academy. In order for Asian Cinema to gain internationalism, it is important that we imbue our films with individuality and cultural identity of Asian people that will naturally differ from those of the western world or other regions and extract their universality. I once got engaged in a conversation with a friend from the western part of the world about "what is cinema?" He told me "life melts into cinema and cinema melts into life again. We filmmakers live such rotation, do we not?" I always agree to that every time I make a film.