Caroline Suh Discusses Making of Blackpink Documentary with Forbes

FORBES: Just a short time ago, Blackpink’s latest documentary Light Up the Sky premiered on Netflix, and fans rushed to see the in-depth look at the film, which details everything from the early days of their time together to their rise to superstardom and even looks at who the four members are as individuals, which is something that hasn’t been focused on previously.

Hugh McIntyre of Forbes had the opportunity to speak with Caroline Suh, who directed the movie and who spent time with the women in order to show fans a side of the world-famous bad they had never seen before.

Hugh McIntyre: You've been working on this for a long time and fans, from the moment they heard about it, were so excited. Are you nervous to have it finally out? Are you excited?

Caroline Suh: You're always a little nervous. You want people to enjoy it, but I'm also excited because we have been working on it for a while. And I think now it's a nice escapist film to watch with everything going on.

McIntyre: How did the idea for this documentary come up? How did you get involved?

Suh: I wish it was my idea, but actually, Netflix had been working with Blackpink to do their first K-pop project and they asked me to direct. And I'm Korean, so I love anything having to do with Korea. I was happy to go and spend time and learn about K-pop.

McIntyre: How long was it from the first conversation until, let's say now? And how long were you actually filming?

Suh: We started the conversation, I think last fall, the very beginning of last fall. And then I went and met Teddy Park, their producer, and I met the Blackpink members.

When we all decided we were going to work together, we pretty much started shooting soon after that. So we shot in the fall for a block of time. And then we went back in February of this year for another block of time.

We spent time with them in the studio and spent time with each of the members separately and together to film what they do in their downtime.

McIntyre: What was the most challenging part about this project and what was the most rewarding?

Suh: I think the most challenging part was at the beginning, getting everyone on the same page about what we were trying to do. I think the members hadn't been part of a documentary project like this before. So, it was making them feel comfortable and having them trust us. I think that was probably the biggest hurdle, but then when we got over that, things were pretty smooth.

McIntyre: Sure. And the most rewarding?

Suh: It's trying to tell their story in a way that's honest and interesting. And to show people, I think, a side of Blackpink that they haven't seen before.

Blackpink has done a lot of social media and videos and the people, their fans, are super devoted, so they already know a lot about Blackpink. So I think, through interviews and spending time with them, it was rewarding to be able to hear stories that we hadn't heard before.

McIntyre: You said you were happy to take this on and learn more about K-pop. Were you a Blackpink fan before this?

Suh: I wasn't. I didn't know very much about K-pop at all. I had heard of them and I had heard of a handful of other groups, but my nephew is in high school and he actually is a huge K-pop person and very knowledgeable. So he gave me a lay of the land. But no, I was not, I did not know about them very much.

McIntyre: What was the most surprising thing that you learned in this process about either the group themselves or the industry?

Suh: I think it was very interesting to learn about training school and to see how tenacious the Blackpink members have been. How really well-trained they were by the time the band debuted. It's not like they were overnight successes. They really worked for years, honing their craft.

McIntyre: Is there a scene in the film that particularly stands out to you for any reason?

Suh: I like when they're working in the studio in particular because I didn't realize how a song was created and how fluid a process it is and how it evolves. It's not just someone writing a song and then handing it over and they record it. It's very collaborative and it's certain things just happen and they make it into the song. It was fun seeing that process.

McIntyre: Coming out of this, do you have a favorite song from the group?

Suh: I'm old school in that I like “Whistle,” which is their first song, but there are many close seconds.

McIntyre: All right. Now I mean, the timing of this release obviously makes sense, as their album just came out. It's doing incredible things all over the world and I think we're going to see the group hit a new level in the next weeks, months, and years. Would you initiate a chapter two of this?

Suh: Sure. I would love to do a chapter two.

McIntyre: K-pop fans in particular are known to pick up news instantaneously, as they follow everything. They're so die hard. Was that encouraging to you? Because you knew there was a built-in fan-base or was that intimidating?

Suh: I think I came to understand that over time. I don't think I realized that right off the bat. And you try, I mean, you want to show something new, but you're also trying to try and shut it out as much as you can and make the film that you think is interesting and that you would want to see.

McIntyre: What's next for you?

Suh: So I am working on a Netflix project that I am not allowed to talk about. And then I have a couple of other... I have a film project in the works.

McIntyre: All secretive it seems.

Suh: Yeah, unfortunately. I would tell you if I could.

Read the original interview here.