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Yeon Sang Ho


Yeon Sang-ho (born 25 December 1978) is a South Korean film director and screenwriter. He gained international popularity for working on his adult animated films The King of Pigs (2011) and The Fake (2013), and the live-action film Train to Busan (2016), its animated prequel Seoul Station (2016), and live-action sequel Peninsula (2020), and first South Korean superhero film Psychokinesis (2018).


Born in Seoul on December 25, 1978, Yeon Sang-ho graduated from Sangmyung University with a degree in Western Painting. He directed his first animated short film, Megalomania of D in 1997, followed by D-Day in 2000 and The Hell in 2002, then set up his own production house Studio Dadashow in 2004. 


His next two animated shorts The Hell: Two Kinds of Life (2006) and Love Is Protein (2008) were invited to various international film festivals. 


The Hell: Two Kinds of Life won the Asian Ghost Award at the Short Shorts Film Festival Asia and the Public Award for Best Film School (Short Film Battle Royal) at the 2007 Lyon Asian Film Festival, and Love Is Protein screened in competition at the 2009 Curtocircuit International Short Film Festival of Santiago de Compostela in 2009. 


Love Is Protein was later included in the three-short omnibus Indie Anibox: Selma's Protein Coffee. Yeon also directed the animated opening trailer for the Busan International Film Festival in 2010.


Yeon's first feature-length animation was The King of Pigs (2011), about a man who kills his wife after his business goes bankrupt, and seeks out his long-lost friend, a ghostwriter, 15 years after both had been severely bullied as adolescents in middle school. Inspired by the works of Satoshi Kon and Minoru Furuya, Yeon said the incidents in the film were drawn from his own life, and he cried while writing the screenplay. 


The low-budget (US$150,000) film drew widespread critical acclaim for its raw portrayal of bullying, violence, and systemic poverty (and the lifelong effects of such oppression), as well as the psychology of public attitudes toward a hero figure. It became the first Korean animated film to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival, where it screened in the 2012 Directors' Fortnight sidebar.


 It won numerous awards at domestic and international film festivals, including the Director's Guild of Korea Award for Best Director, the CGV Movie Collage Award, and NETPAC Award at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival, the Satoshi Kon Award for Achievement in Animation, and Special Mention (New Flesh Award for Best First Feature) at the 2012 Fantasia International Film Festival, and the Jury Prize at the 2013 Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.