'House of Hummingbird' by Alumna Bora Kim '11 Wins Grand Prix at 2019 Berlin Film Festival

February 24, 2019

House of Hummingbird , from Korean director and alumna Bora Kim '11 won the Grand Prix for best film at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival's Generation 14plus sidebar for youth-oriented films. Kim is the writer, director and co-producer of the film. Members of the Generation 14plus international Jury- Nanouk Leopold, Pascal Plante and Maria Solrun said the directional debut showed ‘the maturity of an enduring artist,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.


Still from House of Hummingbird

Still from House of Hummingbird


The Hollywood Reporter went on, “Director Kim Bora brings an unblinking and feminine eye to her debut feature.” While ScreenAnarchy wrote, “Kim Bora's sensational debut House of Hummingbird is the Korean indie drama par excellence. A subtle exploration of local family and societal pressures crafted in a way that many other directors have aspired to but none have quite achieved until now, this sprawling period tale captivates early on and only builds from there, even as it sails past the two-hour mark.”


The film received the Pitch & Catch Megabox Grand Award from Seoul International Women's Film Festival as well as production support from Korean Film Council, Seoul Film Commission and Seongnam Cultural Foundation. It was also selected for IFP Narrative Lab and received post-production support from the Sundance Film Festival. House of Hummingbird had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, a major Asian film festival. The film has been met with praise and won the Audience Award as well as the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award.


House of Hummingbird follows a young woman coming of age. In 1994 14-year-old Eun-hee is the youngest of three children, sibling to a difficult middle sister and an overachieving but violent older brother. Eun-hee's parents run a small rice cake store and provide little structure for their three children, instead spending time quarreling and keeping their business afloat. As Eun-hee deals with the many relationships and pressures around her, summer wears on. Current events including the World Cup, the death of North Korean leader Kim II-sung and the collapse of the Seongsu Bridge leave Eun-hee feeling alone and in flux. Eun-hee dates a local schoolboy and gets up to mischief with her best friend until she meets her new Chinese language teacher, an adult who finally sees her for who she is.


Bora Kim is an interdisciplinary artist and sociologist from Seoul, Korea. Her process is based on cultural research revolving around the spectacle and performance of Asian femininity, particularly in the context of global media. Bora’s work addresses the public gaze and occupies the sphere of popular culture. She previously directed the 2011 short The Recorder Exam.