It’s Women’s History Month! What better way to celebrate than by highlighting some of South Korea’s hidden female directors?
Being a director is sometimes a thankless job, as oftentimes, people are more focused on the actors. Being a female director in South Korea is even more so. Most of the time, if you look at directors in Korea, 90% (and maybe even more) are men. Interestingly enough, K-Dramas seem to almost always be directed by men and written by women. Female directors are usually easier found for web series, movies, and short films, though even there, they are rare.
We have found 10 outstanding K-Dramas directed by women that everyone should know more about!
1. Beyond Evil
Beyond Evil tells the story of two men, Lee Dong Sik (Shin Ha Kyun) and Han Joo Won (Yeo Jin Goo), who break the law to catch a serial killer. While uncovering the killer’s identity, the two begin to question the innocence of the people involved in the case, including themselves.
Shim Na Yeon first gained success with her drama, Moment at Eighteen, and with a short hiatus, is back making a name for herself in 2021!
More dramas by this director: Hip Hop Teacher and Moment at Eighteen
2. Coffee Prince
Choi Han Gyul (Gong Yoo) is the grandson of a company that has a thriving coffee business. He has never had a job and doesn’t care. Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is a tomboy who is often mistaken for a guy. Her father died when she was 16 and has since been the main source of income for her family. When Han Gyul and Eun Chan meet, he (not knowing she’s a girl) decides to hire her to pretend to be his gay lover so that he can escape blind dates. After getting an ultimatum from his grandmother, Han Gyul takes over a rundown coffee shop to prove that he’s responsible. To attract female customers, he only hires good-looking male employees, including Eun Chan.
Lee Yoon Jung has made two enormous hits important to the Hallyu Wave. These, of course, being, Coffee Prince and Cheese in the Trap. She continues to make dramas but has slowed down during COVID-19.
More dramas by this director: The Lies Within, Argon, Heart to Heart, and Cheese in the Trap
3. Love Alarm
If someone likes you and they are within 10 meters of you, the Love Alarm app rings. The app also shows how many people like you, but no specific details about them. Kim Jo Jo (Kim So Hyun) is a cheerful person, but her parents died when she was young, resulting in her living with her terrible aunt. Hwang Sun Oh (Song Kang) is the son of a wealthy family, but he is not loved by his parents. His best friend Lee Hye Yeong (Jung Ga Ram) also attends the same high school. Hwang Sun Oh notices that his best friend Lee Hye Yeong likes Kim Jo Jo. Hwang Sun Oh wants to know if his friend really likes her, so he kisses her.
Lee Na Jung has made several amazing dramas, but perhaps one of her most creative and popular K-Drama is Love Alarm. Although her career started slow, it’s easy to see that Na Jung will continue to make even more modern classics.
More dramas by this director: MINE, Fight For My Way, Oh My Venus, and The Innocent Man.
At the age of 8, Park Joo Hyung (Song Joong Ki) was adopted and went to Italy. He now goes by Vincenzo Cassano and is a lawyer who works for the Mafia. Because mafia factions are at war with each other, he flees to South Korea, where he gets involved with Lawyer Hong Cha Young (Jun Yeo Bin).
Kim Hee Won is not afraid to try something new, dark, and possibly even crazy. Her classic, Fated to Love You, launched her into popularity, and soon her more modern dramas showed that she wasn’t playing any games! Now directing the mafia-thriller Vincenzo, fans are curious to see what she can do!
More dramas by this director: The Crowned Clown, Money Flower, Warm and Cozy, and Fated to Love You.
5. Be Melodramatic
Hwang Han Joo (Han Ji Eun) is the head of a marketing team for a drama production company. She is a single mother who struggles to balance her work and personal life. Im Jin Joo (Chun Woo Hee) is a drama writer with a unique personality. Lee Eun Jung (Jun Yeo Bin) is a documentary director. She runs her own production company, although she’s the only employee. One of her documentaries surprisingly becomes popular overnight. These three friends go through the ups and downs of their thirties together.
Not much is known about Kim Hye Young as this seems like her only work. Nevertheless, she was an assistant director to Lee Byung Hun and helped make this show a symbol of girl power!
6. The School Nurse Files
Ahn Eun Young (Jung Yoo Mi) is a new school and can see jelly-like monsters made from the residue of human desire. She uses a toy knife and a BB gun to destroy the jellies. Hong In Pyo (Nam Joo Hyuk) is a Chinese language teacher at the same school that has a special energy. Hong In Pyo has a special energy. Ahn Eun Young and Hong In Pyo work together to eradicate the jellies to protect the students.
Lee Kyung Mi does not have many works under her belt, but that didn’t stop her from winning several Blue Dragon Film Festival awards! Her stories are endlessly creative and now, with a Netflix show, we can probably expect even more in the future!
More dramas by this director: Persona
7. Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency
Growing up as an ordinary blacksmith, Lee Soo (Seo Ji Hoon)had no idea he would rule all of Joseon, but he is now king at twenty-three. Having loved commoner Gae Ddong (Gong Seung Yeon) for as long as he can remember, he always thought she would be the one he would marry. Now, as king, that dream is impossible. Hiring the best matchmaking agency in Joseon, Lee Soo asks the “Flower Crew” to transform his first love into a noblewoman so he can marry her. Accepting the king’s request, Ma Hoon (Kim Min Jae), Do Joon (Byeon Woo Seok), and Go Young Soo (Park Ji Hoon) take Gae Ddong into their care.
Kim Ga Ram‘s career is just starting to pick up, and we love that we’re here for it! Her upcoming drama I Already Know is already being talked about! She really seems to have a way to make love stories unique and entertaining.
More dramas by this director: Devilish Joy and Vampire Detective
8. 365: Repeat the Year
365: Repeat the Year is a drama where ten people get the chance to go back in time by one year, but mysterious situations start to occur as their fates change. Ji Hyung Joo (Lee Joon Hyuk) is a detective who used to be part of the traffic police but was promoted when he arrested a wanted criminal. Though he is happy at first to have the chance to “reset” his life, he begins to search for the truth when mysterious events start to appear.
Kim Kyung Hee‘s K-Dramas have been criminally underrated for years, yet she still brings creativity and passion every time!
More dramas by this director: Lucky Romance and Hero
9. It’s Okay To Be Sensitive
The story revolves around five first-year students and the challenges they face on and off-campus. The web series brings awareness to gender issues such as sexual harassment, discrimination, and more.
Choi Sun Mi is known for her stories with strong feminist themes. Her projects always aim to allow women to love themselves and be themselves even in the face of a male-dominated society.
More dramas by this director: The World of My 17 and When You Love Yourself
10. Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol
Goo Ra Ra (Go Ah Ra) is a naive rich girl, who dreams of being a great pianist. Her dream becomes difficult when her father passes away, and she goes bankrupt. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she soon is involved in a car accident and is hospitalized with a broken arm and nowhere to go. Diligent worker Sun Woo Joon (Lee Jae Wook) decides to take care of her, slowly warming Go Ra Ra’s heart.
Kim Min Kyung was launched into popularity last year when her second-ever full drama Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol was released. Hopefully, she has many more successes as the years go by.
More dramas by this director: Matrimonial Chaos