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The Real Life Incident That Inspired The Film "Socialphobia'

BY Julie Jones | Apr 02, 2015 11:08 AM EDT

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The k-movie "Socialphobia" is a story about the power of the Internet.

"Socialphobia" is about the fury inspired by one netizen's comment and the steps taken by other netizens to request an apology.

The indie film stars Byun Yo Han and Lee Joo Seung as police officer candidates Ji Woong and Yong Min. They become upset about a comment posted about an athlete during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The young men want an apology from the women who tweeted the comment so they find out her real name and show up at her home, only to be very surprised.

The film is based on a true story. In an interview with the Korean media outlet Joongang Ilbo, the director of "Socialphobia" spoke about why the story attracted him.

"Usually when people have their personal information revealed online and the level of criticism gets intense, they get scared and stay low," said the film's director Hong Suk Jae. "But she didn't. That really aggravated some netizens, and they tried to start a group online to confront the woman offline, but that didn't happen in the end."

The men seeking the apology reported what happened in real time, prompting more netizens to comment and become involved.

But the story gets even more interesting when the confrontation moves offline. When the men arrive at the woman's home, they are shocked to discover that she is dead. But the director said that it's less a movie about why dies than it is a movie about how netizens use the Internet to convey the frustrations that they can't act on in real life.

"I was more focused on explaining why the group of people wanted to embark on an offline confrontation against Lena and how they acted as a group after they found her dead," said Hong.

The indie film struck a chord with young viewers. According to the Korean Film Council, between the film's premiere on March 12 and March 30, it earned almost $500,000. That's good for an indie film.

Some of the film's success may be attributed to the draw of its rising stars. Byun Yo Han starred in the cable hit drama "Misaeng" and will soon be seen in "The Ex-Girlfriends Club" with actress Song Ji Hyo. Another draw may be actor Lee Joo Seung who played Park Shin Hye andLee Jong Suk's police officer friend in "Pinocchio" and also played Joo Hong Joo in "Blade Man."

The movie is likely to inspire netizen comments.

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