Christina Yoon


Christina Yoon




New York



Own Words

I was raised in Jericho, Long Island, N.Y., until I was 11 years old. Then I lived in Duluth, Georgia (a suburb of Atlanta) until I graduated from high school. In some ways I didn’t have a very typical second generation Korean American upbringing because my parents both immigrated to America when they were 11 and 15 years old. They grew up here in the 70s and 80s and are both completely fluent in English. I was raised listening to classic American rock and watching classic American films. But in many ways it was typical because my parents still had very strict traditional Korean ideals — academics, respect, family values, etc. Also, Korean food. We still ate Korean food every day.

My biggest influences and favorite directors are mostly French and Italian directors from the 1950s-1970s: Federico Fellini, Francois Truffaut, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Pierre Melville, Louis Malle, and Jean-Luc Godard. Of modern filmmakers, I really admire the Koreans. Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk, and others are making some of the most incredible films of the past two decades with some of the most talented actors. Korea’s influence in cinema right now is actually why I’m moving to Korea after graduation to make my first feature film. My parents and family are very supportive. My dad was an artist when he was younger before becoming an attorney, so he’s always encouraged my sister and I to do what we love. Perhaps they’re skeptical at times about where I’ll end up – and I don’t blame them, but they’ve never discouraged me from pursuing my dream. I’m very appreciative of that.

I'm currently directing my senior thesis film, titled "White Rabbit". I knew I wanted to write a script exploring the early teenage years of my life — maybe as a way to better understand it, but mostly to share the experience with others. It was a time when I felt unhappy, confused, alienated from everyone else, and powerless to change anything.

Then one day, I was thinking about my film in the shower, and the image of a slaughtered white rabbit came to my mind. A very powerful image – and something that symbolized my teenage years in a visual way. The rabbit is innocent, powerless, and lost, like a child who is beginning to grow up. The act of slaughtering a rabbit felt to me like killing one’s childhood identity.

When I combined the murdered rabbit element with the story of a young girl searching for answers, I knew I had the dark and dramatic world in which I could tell this story. Lastly, I decided to make the protagonist of White Rabbit an Asian girl. Although the film isn’t about being Asian in America, it’s about an American who happens to be Asian. This is very important to me to try to make more of a norm in American media.

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