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World Premiere

Director: Coleen Baik

United States, 2023, 6 min

Shooting Format:Digital

Festival Year:2024


Crew:Design, Animation, Cinematography, Producer: Coleen Baik


A meditation on personal and collective grief through looping animations on a turntable.

About the director

Coleen Baik is a Korean American artist, designer, and writer based in NYC. Areas of focus include memory, and women's labor in the context of trauma. She documents her process on

Filmmaker's note

The “phonotrope” is a simple looping animation that comes to life on a turntable. It invites a meditative regard, while simultaneously establishing remove—the animations cannot be seen with the naked eye.

In 2022, the mother I knew disappeared, suffering from depression and the strain of caregiving for almost a decade. A slow burn over summer and fall months exploded over three days in which my mother was involuntarily committed, and my father died. This six minute film of watercolors and phonotropes, was a way for me to be present with the raw, intense, and inexpressible in a way that felt both honoring and tender. The process of making it helped me see what I couldn't yet look at directly.

The film is also an exploration of what I believe are parallels of longing: traumatic reverberations in an historical and national—as well as the personal and familial—context. As I delivered this film, I found myself confronted with difficult emotions around hidden labor and the price it exacts from Korean women across generations. Legacies of absence and division further complicate how I feel.

Much of the footage was shot with an iPhone and macro lens attachment, held one inch away from images spinning 45 revolutions per minute. Inherent repetition in the medium leads to stillness in attention, while the way it forces fragmentation of narrative, underscores realities of fracture.

The film’s loose structure is inspired by salpuri, a traditional Korean shamanic dance of “exorcism.” It’s often referred to as an expression of han, which can be thought of as deep sadness in the context of Korean culture and history. It begins slowly, speeds up, then slows down again, returning physically to where it began—but transitioning spiritually beyond.

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