Hwang Dong-hyuk

Hwang Dong-hyuk (Korean황동혁, Hanja: 黃東赫; born May 26, 1971) is a South Korean film director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known for directing the 2011 crime drama film Silenced, and for creating the 2021 Netflix survival drama series Squid Game.

Hwang Dong-hyuk
20140114 Hwang Dong-hyuk.jpg
Hwang in January 2014
Born (1971-05-26) May 26, 1971 (age 50)
Seoul, South Korea
Other namesHwang Dong-hyeuk
  • Film director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
Years active2000–present
Notable work
Silenced and Squid Game
Korean name
Revised RomanizationHwang Dong-hyeok
McCune–ReischauerHwang Tonghyŏk

Early lifeEdit

Hwang Dong-hyuk was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea; he immersed himself in comic books and manga, spending hours in comic book cafes.[1]


2000-2010: Short films and My FatherEdit

After he graduated from Seoul National University with a B.A. in Communications, he wrote and directed numerous short films including Our Sad Life and A Puff of Smoke. Moving to Los Angeles to study for a M.F.A. in Film Production at the University of Southern California, he continued to make films, completing two shorts Heaven & Hell and Desperation (2000). His graduation thesis film was Miracle Mile (2004), a short starring Karl Yune as a Korean-American illegal taxi driver who helps his fare, a young Korean woman (played by Hana Kim) search for her brother who was adopted by Americans 20 years ago. Miracle Mile screened at over 40 international film festivals and won several awards, including the DGA Student Film Award and Student Emmy Award.[2]

For his feature film debut, Hwang returned to the topic of adoption in My Father (2007). Based on the true story of Korean-American adoptee Aaron Bates, the film is about a U.S. Army soldier stationed in Korea who appears on national television to search for his birth parents, then finds his father on death row for murder. Kim Yeong-cheol played the father opposite lead actor Daniel Henney, whom Hwang decided to cast despite the latter being typecast as a heartthrob. Henney and Kim were praised for their acting, as was Hwang for his non-melodramatic handling of forgiveness and acceptance, intertwined with issues of cultural identity and the death penalty.[3][4]

2011-2020: Commercial success with The Crucible (Silenced), Miss Granny and The FortressEdit

Hwang's second film became one of the biggest stories in Korean cinema in 2011.[5] Based on a novel by Gong Ji-young and starring Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi,[6] The Crucible (also known as Silenced) depicts real-life events at the Gwangju Inhwa School for the deaf where young students were cruelly treated and sexually abused by their teachers and administrators.[7] Hwang said he deliberated for about a month whether or not he should make the film, but decided to do it because "It had to be told."[8] Hwang said, "I thought about two things when making this film. First, I wanted to let the world know about this horrific incident. Secondly, I wanted to expose the structural problems of society as revealed during the process of how the case was buried. The issues portrayed in the movie -- sexual violence against children, corrupt ties between police and influential families, negligence of duty by civil servants -- is not fictitious, but can be seen regularly on the daily news."[9] The movie became a box-office hit in Korea, attracting 4.7 million viewers. But more significantly, it provoked widespread public anger and commentary, such that the case was reopened and lawmakers passed the "Dogani Bill" which abolishes the statute of limitations for sex crimes against minors and the disabled. Hwang said, "I took up filmmaking because I was so frustrated by all these unresolved social issues I saw. We can see through films how much we are changed by the world. You can't change society with just one movie, but looking at the repercussion of the release of this film, we can think about the power film has in terms of positively affecting society."[9]

In a significant departure from his previous films, Hwang's third feature Miss Granny (titled Suspicious Girl in Korean) focuses on a 74-year-old woman who regains the appearance of her 20-year-old self (played by Na Moon-hee and Shim Eun-kyung, respectively), in a movie that straddles comedy, family drama, music and romance. Hwang said at the 2014 film's press conference, "With My Father and Silenced, I always seemed to be making social films with dark subject matter, but in reality, I am a fun person. This time I really wanted to make a happy and light film."[10][11] Strong word of mouth propelled Miss Granny to the top of the box office chart, with more than 8.65 million admissions.

Based on Kim Hoon's novel Namhansanseong (the Korean title for the movie as well), The Fortress stars Lee Byung-hun and Kim Yoon-seok as rival advisors to King Injo at a critical moment during the Second Manchu invasion of Korea. A subtle tour de force in a totally different genre from Hwang's previous movies, it claimed both a popular and critical success with 3.8 million tickets sold in Korea, a distribution to 28 countries, and many awards across Asia.

2021-present: International acclaim with Squid GameEdit

Hwang had conceived of the idea for Squid Game based on his own economic struggles early in life as well as the class disparity found within South Korea. Though initially scripted in 2008, Hwang was unable to find a production studio to find support for the script until around 2019, when Netflix invested in it as part of their drive to expand their foreign programming offerings. Released on September 17, 2021, it became the most-watched series launch in Netflix history.[12] The stress of creating the series caused him to lose six of his teeth.[13] Due to Squid Game's success, Netflix brought Hwang's previous films Silenced, Miss Granny, and The Fortress to the service in the United States and other countries.[14]


Year Title Director Producer Writer Notes
2000 Our Sad Life Yes No Yes Short Film
2000 A Puff of Smoke Yes No Yes
2000 Heaven & Hell Yes No No
2000 Desperation Yes Yes Yes
2000 I Love Ultra Lotto No No No Short Film, Cinematographer, Editor
2004 Big Time No No No Short Film, Production Assistant
2004 Miracle Mile Yes No Yes Short Film, Editor
2015 Truck Stop Diner No No No Short Film, Actor, Grip
2007 My Father Yes No Yes Adapted Screenplay
2011 Silenced Yes No Yes
2014 Miss Granny Yes No No
2017 The Fortress Yes No Yes
2020 Collectors No Yes No Adapted Screenplay
2021 Squid Game Yes No Yes Netflix original series, Creator
TBA Killing Old People Club[15] Yes No Yes

Awards and nominationsEdit

Name of the award ceremony, year presented, category, nominee of the award, and the result of the nomination
Award ceremony Year Category Nominee / Work Result Ref.
Baeksang Arts Awards 2022 Best Director Squid Game Won [16]
Best Screenplay Nominated [17]
Beautiful Artist Award
(Shin Young-kyun Arts and Culture Foundation)
2021 Film Artist Award Hwang Dong-hyuk Won [18]
Director's Cut Awards 2022 Best Director in series Squid Game Won [19][20]
Best Screenplay in series Won
Gotham Awards 2021 Breakthrough Series – Long Form Hwang Dong-hyuk (with Kim Ji-yeon) Won [21]
Korea Image Award 2022 Stepping Stone Award Hwang Dong-hyuk Won [22]
Pony Chung Foundation Innovation Award Pony Chung Innovation Award Won [23]
Visionary Awards[A] 2021 2021 Visionary Won [25]


Name of publisher, year listed, name of listicle, and placement
Organization Year Award Ref.
Bloomberg Businessweek 2021 50 People of the Year [26]
The Straits Times (Singapore) The Straits Times Asian of the Year [27]


  1. ^ Visionary Awards, which started in 2020, selects and awards people who lead roles in the Korean entertainment industry. It highlights the meaning and achievements of a person whose chosen trend keywords penetrated the entertainment industry, including broadcasting, movies, music, and performances, and presents the next vision of the cultural sector with outstanding achievements and influence.[24]


  1. ^ Cuttle, Jade (October 4, 2021). "Squid Game's Jung Ho-yeon: 'The most powerful lesson I learnt was to have faith in humanity'". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  2. ^ "Miracle Mile". Independent Lens. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  3. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (September 6, 2007). "Father Paints Many Faces of Family Love". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  4. ^ Yang, Sung-jin (September 6, 2007). "My Father, a heart-wrenching drama". The Korea Herald. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Kwon, Jungyun (December 15, 2011). "A look back at the year's breakout films". Korea.net. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  6. ^ Choi, Eun-hwa (September 7, 2011). "Gong Yoo and Director Hwang Dong Hyuk on The Crucible". enewsWorld. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  7. ^ Lee, Claire (August 22, 2011). "Bestseller-turned-movie reveals real-life case of widespread child abuse". The Korea Herald. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (August 24, 2011). "Film examines child abuse case". The Korea Times. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "The Crucible Brings Demons of Child Molestation Case Back to Life". The Chosun Ilbo. September 28, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Song, Soon-jin (December 20, 2013). "Press Conference Held for MISS GRANNY". Korean Film Council. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "An interview with movie director Hwang Dong-hyuk". The Dong-a Ilbo. February 10, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Frank Pallotta and Liz Kang. "Exclusive: Squid Game is Netflix's 'biggest ever' series launch". CNN. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  13. ^ "Squid Game's creator: 'I'm not that rich. It's not like Netflix paid me a bonus'". the Guardian. October 26, 2021. Retrieved October 26, 2021.
  14. ^ Roth, Emma (November 3, 2021). "Netflix adds a trio of movies from Squid Game director". The Verge. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  15. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (April 4, 2022). "'Squid Game' Director Hwang Dong-hyuk Prepares 'Killing Old People Club' as Next Feature". Variety. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  16. ^ "'오징어게임' 황동혁 감독, 연출상 수상[백상예술대상-TV]" ['Squid Game' Director Hwang Dong-hyuk wins Best Director Award [Baeksang Arts Awards-TV]] (in Korean). Maeil Economic Daily. May 6, 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2022 – via Naver.
  17. ^ Ahn Byung-gil (April 11, 2022). "58회 백상예술대상 후보 공개…영광의 주인공은?" [58th Baeksang Arts Awards nominations revealed... Who is the hero of glory?] (in Korean). Sports Kyunghyang. Retrieved April 11, 2022 – via Naver.
  18. ^ Yoo Soo-kyung (November 9, 2021). "오징어 게임' 황동혁 감독·배우 정우성, 올해의 '아름다운 예술인' 선정" ['Squid Game' Director Hwang Dong-hyeok and actor Jung Woo-sung selected as 'Beautiful Artist of the Year'] (in Korean). Hankook Ilbo. Retrieved November 9, 2021 – via Naver.
  19. ^ Noh Kyu-min (February 9, 2022). "[공식] 제20회 디렉터스컷 어워즈, 24일 개최…'오겜' 'D.P.' '지옥' 노미네이트" [[Official] The 20th Director's Cut Awards, held on the 24th... 'Ogem' 'D.P.' 'Hell' nomination] (in Korean). Ten Asia. Retrieved February 9, 2022 – via Naver.
  20. ^ Lee Mi-ji (February 24, 2022). "[제20회디렉터스컷]'오징어 게임' 감독상 포함 3관왕..구교환 영화·시리즈 모두 수상(종합)" [[The 20th Director's Cut] 'Squid Game', including the Director's Award, won 3 awards.. All the movies and series in Kugwan (comprehensive)] (in Korean). Herald POP. Retrieved February 24, 2022 – via Naver.
  21. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (November 29, 2021). "Gotham Awards: 'Squid Game', 'Reservation Dogs' Win Breakthrough TV Awards". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 30, 2021. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  22. ^ Jang Ah-reum (December 16, 2021). "오징어게임' 황동혁 감독, 조수미·김제덕과 '한국 이미지상' 수상" ['Squid Game' Director Hwang Dong-hyuk wins 'Korea Image Award' with Jo Su-mi and Kim Je-deok] (in Korean). News1. Retrieved December 16, 2021 – via Naver.
  23. ^ Seo Mi-sook (May 11, 2022). "포니정재단 혁신상 수상자에 '오징어게임' 황동혁 감독" [Director Hwang Dong-hyeok of 'Squid Game' was awarded the Pony Chung Foundation Innovation Award] (in Korean). Yonhap News. Retrieved May 11, 2022 – via Naver.
  24. ^ Lee, Min-ji (November 24, 2021). 윤여정-황동혁-유재석-BTS-에스파-최정남, 2021 비저너리 선정 [Youn Yuh-jung-Hwang Dong-hyuk-Yoo Jae-suk-BTS-Aespa-Choi Jung-nam, 2021 Visionary Selection]. Newsen (in Korean). Archived from the original on November 24, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  25. ^ Kang, Joo-il (December 1, 2021). 올해 엔터계 빛낸 주역들 모였다! CJ ENM, ‘2021 비저너리 어워즈’ 개최 [The Stars Who Shined in this Year's Entertainment World are Here! CJ ENM, Hosts the '2021 Visionary Awards']. Sports Kyunghyang (in Korean). Archived from the original on December 1, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  26. ^ Lee Chang-gyu (December 2, 2021). "오징어 게임' 황동혁·'BTS' 방시혁, 블룸버그 '올해의 50인' 선정" ['Squid Game' Hwang Dong-hyeok and 'BTS' Bang Si-hyuk selected as Bloomberg's '50 People of the Year] (in Korean). Export news. Retrieved December 2, 2021 – via Naver.
  27. ^ "Creator of Netflix series Squid Game is The Straits Times Asian of the Year". The Straits Times (Singapore). December 6, 2021. Retrieved December 6, 2021.

External linksEdit