Ahn Pan-seok

Ahn Pan-seok (born November 1961) is a South Korean television director. Ahn directed the Korean dramas Roses and Bean Sprouts (1999), Ajumma (2000), Behind the White Tower (2007), A Wife's Credentials (2012), Secret Affair (2014), and Heard It Through the Grapevine (2015). He also directed the film Over the Border (2006).

Ahn Pan-seok
Born1961 (age 58–59)
Alma materSejong University
OccupationTelevision director,
film director
Years active1991-present
Korean name
Revised RomanizationAn Pan-seok
McCune–ReischauerAn Pan-sŏk


Ahn Pan-seok was born in Seoul in 1961. He graduated from Sejong University with a degree in English Language and Literature. In 1986, he and fellow cinephiles from Sejong collaborated on the 22-minute short film In Praise of Idleness; the crew consisted of Yoo Ha as the director, Kim Sung-su as cinematographer, Ahn handled the lighting, and poet Jin Yi-jeong wrote the screenplay.[1]

Ahn was hired by MBC's drama production division in 1987, then worked as an assistant director on Humble Men in 1991 and My Mother's Sea in 1993.[2] He made his directorial debut in 1994 with Love Greetings, part of the single-episode anthology MBC Best Theater; he would go on to direct eight Best Theater episodes throughout the 1990s.

His first series as a production director (or "PD") was the weekend morning drama Partner (1994-1998), which was followed by the popular family dramas Roses and Bean Sprouts (1999) and Ajumma (2000-2001), and the romantic comedy I Love You, Hyun-jung (2002). He resigned from MBC in 2003 and became a freelancer, working on A Problem at My Younger Brother's House for SBS.

After fifteen years in television, Ahn directed his first film in 2006.[3][4][5] Over the Border (titled South of the Border in Korean) was a melodrama starring Cha Seung-won as an orchestra horn player from Pyongyang who defects, then later re-encounters his North Korean sweetheart (Jo Yi-jin) but he's already married to a South Korean wife (Shim Hye-jin).[6][7] Ahn said, "Our society has greatly matured―enough not to ban the use of the North Korean flag or portraits of Kim Il-sung in movies. The audience should have fun watching images of a North Korea they've only heard about."[8] Over the Border received good reviews, but was unsuccessful at the box office.[9][10][11]

Back on the small screen in 2007, Ahn next chose a Korean TV adaptation of the Japanese novel Shiroi Kyotō by Toyoko Yamasaki, which had previously been adapted into a well-regarded Japanese film and two Japanese television dramas.[12] Unlike typical contemporary Korean dramas, Ahn's medical drama Behind the White Tower eschewed any romance elements, focusing instead on the hospital politics and power struggles surrounding an ambitious and brilliant surgeon played by Kim Myung-min.[13] White Tower drew high ratings and critical acclaim, and Ahn won Best Television Director at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[14] In May 2007, he became the co-CEO of JoongAng Media Network's then-newly-launched production company Drama House.[15]

One of the inaugural dramas of newly launched cable channel jTBC was Ahn's A Wife's Credentials in 2012.[16] Kim Hee-ae played the protagonist, a middle-aged housewife who struggles with the unforgiving expectations of her husband (Jang Hyun-sung) and his status-obsessed family, then finds a kindred spirit in her son's dentist (Lee Sung-jae). Praised for its richly drawn characters and the realistic depiction of affluent Korean parents' obsession with their children's academic achievements, the show was a hit, reaching 4% viewership ratings.[17]

In 2013, Ahn directed The End of the World based on Bae Young-ik's novel Infectious Disease, about a Center of Disease Control and Prevention scientist (played by Yoon Je-moon) who works to figure out a mysterious pandemic threatening mankind. Despite critical raves, the show's low ratings led to jTBC drastically reducing its episodes from 20 to 12.[18][1]

He reunited with A Wife's Credentials screenwriter Jung Sung-joo and lead actress Kim Hee-ae in 2014 with Secret Affair. Kim played an art foundation director who embarks on a passionate affair with a poor but talented pianist 20 years her junior (played by Yoo Ah-in), and the series also explored the hypocrisy and corruption amid the ranks of upper-class intellectuals.[19][20] Ahn, Jung and the cast again received accolades, which included a second win for Best Television Director at the Baeksang Arts Awards.[21]

Ahn returned to network TV in 2015 with Heard It Through the Grapevine, a black comedy dissecting the class divide as the teenage son of a wealthy, powerful family brings home his pregnant girlfriend (played by Lee Joon and Go Ah-sung).[22][23][24]



  • Humble Men (MBC, 1991) - assistant director
  • My Mother's Sea (MBC, 1993) - assistant director
  • MBC Best Theater "Love Greetings" (MBC, 1994)
  • MBC Best Theater "To Mr. Lee Jong-beom" (MBC, 1994)
  • MBC Best Theater "He Lives in Nokcheon" (MBC, 1994)
  • MBC Best Theater "Did Mom Love That Person?" (MBC, 1994)
  • Partner (MBC, 1994-1998)
  • MBC Best Theater "On Line 2's Platform" (MBC, 1997)
  • Yesterday (MBC, 1997)
  • MBC Best Theater "Subway Pervert Report" (MBC, 1998)
  • MBC Best Theater "The King and I" (MBC, 1998)
  • Living with the Enemy: Bear and Fox (MBC, 1998)
  • Shy Lovers (MBC, 1998)
  • MBC Best Theater "My Soulmate Park Soon-jung" (MBC, 1998)
  • Roses and Bean Sprouts (MBC, 1999)
  • Ajumma (MBC, 2000-2001)
  • I Love You, Hyun-jung (MBC, 2002)
  • A Problem at My Younger Brother's House (SBS, 2003-2004)
  • Behind the White Tower (MBC, 2007)
  • A Wife's Credentials (JTBC, 2012)
  • The End of the World (JTBC, 2013)
  • Secret Affair (JTBC, 2014)
  • Heard It Through the Grapevine (SBS, 2015)
  • Something in the Rain (JTBC, 2018)
  • One Spring Night (MBC, 2019)




  1. ^ a b "세계의 끝 (The End of the World) - Finale: Last Man Standing". The Vault. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  2. ^ "DB - 안판석 (Ahn Pan-Seok)". Dramatic Eye. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  3. ^ Lee, Young-jin (3 August 2005). "그가 감독이 됐다 (3) - 안판석: <국경의 남쪽>으로 영화 데뷔하는, 드라마 PD 안판석" [He's the director (3) - Ahn Pan-seok: Drama PD Ahn Pan-seok's film directorial debut Over the Border]. Cine21 (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  4. ^ Lee, Na-ree (26 April 2006). "Producers driven by money enter new formats". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  5. ^ Huh, Mun-myung (27 April 2006). "Go South". The Dong-a Ilbo. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  6. ^ Jeong, Jae-hyeok (11 May 2006). "<국경의 남쪽> 차승원 vs 안판석 (1)" [Over the Border's Cha Seung-won vs. Ahn Pan-seok (1)]. Cine21.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  7. ^ Jeong, Jae-hyeok (11 May 2006). "<국경의 남쪽> 차승원 vs 안판석 (2)" [Over the Border's Cha Seung-won vs. Ahn Pan-seok (2)]. Cine21.com (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  8. ^ Joo, Jung-wan (28 January 2006). "South Korean films embrace defectors". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  9. ^ Lee, Yong-sung (27 April 2006). "Movie Review: Comic star's melodramatic acting in South of the Border". The Korea Herald via Hancinema. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  10. ^ Kim, Tae-jong (4 May 2006). "Border, Personal Stories of NK Defectors". The Korea Times via Hancinema. Retrieved 2015-04-25.
  11. ^ "K-Film News & Box Office (2006, May 9)". Twitch Film. 9 May 2006. Archived from the original on 22 April 2016. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  12. ^ Jeong, Jae-hyeok (26 January 2007). <하얀거탑>의 안판석 감독 인터뷰 [Interview with White Tower director Ahn Pan-seok]. Cine21 (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  13. ^ Moon, Seok (12 March 2007). (온라인 인터뷰) <하얀거탑> 방영 끝낸 안판석 감독: "장준혁을 제대로 그려내는 게 유일한 목표였다" [Online interview with director Ahn Pan-seok after White Tower finished airing: "Properly depicting Jang Joon-hyuk was the only goal"]. Cine21 (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  14. ^ Bae, Ji-sook (29 April 2007). "Va. Tech Still Tops Web Search". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  15. ^ Lee Dong-hyun (June 17, 2007). JMnet 산하 제작사 ‘드라마하우스’ 안판석 대표 [JMnet's newly-launched "Drama House" appoints Ahn Pan-seok as co-CEO]. JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  16. ^ Sung, So-young (1 December 2011). "TV enters new era with launch of four networks". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  17. ^ Choi, Jin-shil (11 December 2013). "JTBC '아내의 자격'팀 '밀회'로 재회" [JTBC's A Wife's Credentials team reunites for Secret Love Affair]. TenAsia (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  18. ^ Yu, Seon-ju (12 April 2013). "(유선주의 TVIEW) 안판석 스타일: <세계의 끝> 특유의 밀도를 들여다보니" [(Yu Seon-ju's TVIEW) Ahn Pan-seok Style: The distinctive density and look of The End of the World]. Cine21 (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  19. ^ Lee, Jeong-bong (17 March 2014). "The cougar and the pianist". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  20. ^ Bae, Sun-young (7 April 2014). "'밀회' 훔쳐보기② 안판석 PD의 특별한 스토리텔링". TenAsia (in Korean). Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  21. ^ Chung, Joo-won (27 May 2014). "Song Gang-ho, Jun Ji-hyun get top nods at Baeksang Awards". K-pop Herald. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  22. ^ Sung, So-young (26 January 2015). "Lee Joon lands another role". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  23. ^ Jeong, Jee-won (2 February 2015). "Lee Joon, Ko Ah Sung and More Attend Script Reading for I Heard Some Rumor". enewsWorld. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-26.
  24. ^ "Heard It Through the Grapevine First episode delivers successful beginning of black comedy". Hancinema. 23 February 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-25.

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