"SF8," the Korean equivalent of the "Black Mirror" anthology series, unravels philosophical questions throughout each episode's futurist premise, including the presence of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
This anthology piece, created by eight different directors, is comprised of eight episodes that each last over 50 minutes ― "The Prayer," "Manxin," "Blink," "Empty Body," "Joan's Galaxy," "Love Virtually," "Baby it's over outside" and "White Crow."
Starring Lee Yoo-young and Ye Soo-jung, "The Prayer" revolves around an AI caregiving robot that faces a dilemma between saving its patient or the patient's guardian. "Manxin," featuring Lee Yeon-hee and Lee Dong-hui, shows how the public is fooled by an AI fortune-telling service.
Director Han Ga-ram's "Blink" draws the collaboration of a police officer, played by Lee Si-young, and an AI robot, played by Ha Jun, in resolving a murder case. In rookie director Kim Ui-seok's "Empty Body," actress Moon So-ri stars as a mother who tries to bring her dead son back to life by merging part of his brain with AI.
Rising stars Kim Bo-ra and Choi Sung-eun star in director Lee Yun-jeong's "Joan's Galaxy," a commentary on social division. Singers-turned-actors Uee and Choi Si-won partner in futuristic rom-com "Love Virtually."
Hani, a former member of EXID, plays the role of a popular game broadcaster who gets trapped in a virtual world in director Jang Cheol-soo's "White Crow." Director Ahn Guk-jin's "Baby it's over" is an apocalyptic fantasy-romance piece starring actors Lee David and Shin Eun-soo.
Cinematic drama "SF8" is a crossover project between Wavve, MBC, the Directors Guild of Korea and film production company Soo Film.
Set in the near future world, the series focuses on technological advancement and the symbiotic relationship between people and robots.
The project's executive producer Min Kyu-dong explained that their attempt to venture into the sci-fi genre and distribute the series through TV and over-the-top (OTT) platforms is to adapt to the fast-changing media landscape.
In recent years, interest in OTT services has surged and the COVID-19 pandemic has made several film distributers skip theatrical releases and premier on streaming platforms.
"The sci-fi genre is known for being ambitious because it has long been monopolized by Hollywood for decades and requires big budgets. We hope to change this perception and open more doors to filmmakers," Min said during a press conference held in Seoul, Wednesday.
Due to the pressure of providing high quality experimental and visual narratives that exceeds people's expectations, local filmmakers and content creators have long avoided the sci-fi genre.
Min stressed that "SF8" will raise difficult philosophical questions about the world, adding that inter-woven storylines are equally important as the visual spectacles. He added that the total production cost for the eight episodes was less than that of a budget for a small commercial film.
"There were people who said that SF8 was a far-fetched dream, but I think the eight filmmakers who got involved in the project were satisfied with the new way of telling their inventive stories," he said.
Director Roh Doek, who helmed "Manxin," agreed that the directors were granted much more creative freedom.
"Commercial film productions usually involve many conflicting interests that inevitably limit the directors' freedom as a creator. With SF8, we had more independence in production," Roh said.
"Although we were under tight budget and filming schedules, I think we were able to find new possibilities and joy."
When asked whether "SF8" will be the local equivalent of Netflix's "Black Mirror," Min said "SF8" will offer more diversity because each of the episode is made by eight different filmmakers.
The eight episodes will be available on Wavve starting July 10, and air Mondays and Tuesdays on MBC from Aug. 17.
source: The Korea Times