By: Patricia Yap
On October 13, K-pop girl group sensation Blackpink held a global press conference for their recently released Netflix Original documentary “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky” with Korean-American director Caroline Suh and New York-based producer Cara Mones.
Journalists from all over the world tuned in to the press conference, excited for the documentary release on October 14 which will be available in 190 countries. Blackpink: Light Up the Sky was said to feature the four members, Jisoo, Rosé, Jennie, and Lisa in a more genuine and authentic light; bringing them closer to the fans.
Here’s what to expect.
Ever since their debut in 2016, Blackpink was hastily thrown into the spotlight as the first girl group under YG Entertainment in over seven years. Months after, Blackpink released their debut single album, Square One. Their first songs “Whistle” and “Boombayah” were such a huge success that it skyrocketed them to the first and second ranking of the Billboard Charts.
Four years since this leap of success, many fans have grown to love and idolize the group. However, Blackpink is known for not appearing much in variety shows and fans don’t often get to see the journey and process the girls went through before all the fame and glamour. Through the documentary, Caroline Suh hopes to change this.
“It’s kind of a simple story—it’s about young people realizing their dreams through a lot of toil and some heartache, and I think that kind of story is always inspiring, to see people who are totally devoted and pushed through. There’s a lot expected of them as idols, so I hope the film helps humanize them, so people can see them as actual people,” said Suh.
According to the members they’ve never really had a chance to share their offstage moments to the public. Lisa via a translator said, “We were not really familiar [with] having cameras all around us 24/7. ButI think we got more comfortable and later on we would forget that there was a camera or a filming crew that was shooting us. We would start to get more playful and I think that environment was created by director Caroline Suh”.
Suh said she was interested in telling the story of how Blackpink came together as individuals going through their own paths. “We really wanted to tell the story from the point of view of the members and hear from them their thoughts and perspectives about what that journey was like,” she added.
Exclusive Trainee Footage
K-pop fans ravish in their idols’ childhood and trainee days. Seeing these moments makes them feel closer to the artists and view them more genuinely. In this documentary, Blinks (Blackpink fans) will get to enjoy just that.
According to Jennie the documentary allowed them to look back on their childhood; moments they themselves have forgotten, she said. “Since our trainee period till today, we wanted to show all the hard work manifested on the glamorous stage of Blackpink while also sharing the authentic and the more original moments offstage that we didn’t get to share with the fans before.”
Curious fans wanting to know more about the four members’ success will even get to see the gruelling process. Suh said she was surprised how deep the members went to discuss these with her.
“It was nice that they felt comfortable speaking openly about how intense that experience was. In a way, that’s really the heart of the film: They entered that process as teenagers and then, through sheer force of will, they made it through. By the time they debuted, they were totally prepared. They talked about how hard it was, but that’s something that each of them had in common in their interviews — they all said, “I’m not going to quit.”, added Suh.
The production crew were lucky enough that YG Entertainment provided them with a lot of material from the girls’ trainee days. Blackpink themselves gave precious photos from their childhood. Hundreds and hundreds of watch hours were spent going through each bit to find the perfect footage.
During the presscon, Lisa recommends that people watch and look forward to Rose’s childhood scenes. “When we were all together and were watching the video clips of our childhood,I felt that Rosé’s childhood was most impressive. I hope all the fans [can] have a look at that. All of it, but especially Rosé’s”.
Lucky fans that were able to attend Blackpink’s world tour and Coachella performance are about to get even luckier as the documentary will also feature never before seen backstage clips from these performances.
Jisoo via a translator said, “I’m sure a lot of our fans already saw our performance at Coachella but the documentary should also show some new footage that [was] not shared before. Some of the episodes show exactly the behind the scenes of Coachella and I’m glad all of that is included in the film.
No Language Barriers
Although subtitles will be available for the documentary, fans can expect to hear more of the girls speaking in the language they’re most comfortable in. Under the Korean spotlight since their trainee days, the three members, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa don’t get much of a chance to speak freely in their own language, but this documentary gives them that chance, especially during the most intimate interviews.
“All of our members when we were having the interview were able to open up and share some of our genuine thoughts and we were speaking in the language we were most comfortable in. There are a lot of languages included in the documentary but I think that in itself symbolizes a part of Blackpink,” shared Rosé.
Deeper Than the Sound
Blinks are probably familiar with Teddy Park but curious soon-to-be fans might not. Blackpink: Light Up the Sky will also feature Teddy Park, YG Entertainment’s top producer and a main mastermind behind most of BLACKPINK’s biggest hits.
Not much is known about Teddy to the public but people are looking forward to what he has to say about Blackpink’s music and the girls themselves. “There’s a lot of mystery around Teddy, definitely. When I met him at first I found him to be extremely nice and thoughtful but intimidating. He really didn’t want to be in the film; he hates being on camera. At the beginning, he only would agree to do an audio interview. But as time went on, and we kind of got to know each other better, he agreed to do an interview on camera,” said Suh.
During the press conference, Jisoo commented that she believes Teddy knows them individually very well. He listens to what they have to say and is able to reflect that into the direction of Blackpink’s music, said Jisoo.
“You know, sometimes what happens with people who really don’t want to participate — they end up having a lot to say. He is incredibly well-spoken, and all the girls talk about him fondly but also as a revered figure, and over time I could understand why. He does have this kind of very old soul. He really is a great friend to them,” Suh added.
As Blackpink continues to make groundbreaking music, questions during the press conference poured in asking what exactly is the key to their success. Jisoo said it was definitely their music.
“I would say music does not stop at music these days. The visuals are important and the audience that listens to music they like to take part in it and imitate it as well. I think it’s changed to something that has very different and numerous factors involved. In that sense, we always want to bring something new to the audience and I think our fans appreciate that and that’s why they love us,” added Jisoo.
Closer and Closer Bonds
Most important of all, Blinks and Blackpink will become closer after watching the documentary.
According to Jennie, having been together with the members since they were teenagers, they were really able to see each other grow. They experienced all the emotions in the world together and now fans will get the chance to feel these moments with them.
“We are very comfortable with sharing our opinions with each other and when we were shooting the film I believe we were able to bring out some of the more playful, girly aspects of ourselves and I think that made our bond and relationship stronger. I think it got us to think about the relationship that we would have in the future as well,” said Jennie.
Not only will the glamourous parts of Blackpink’s journey be highlighted, but even the moments of insecurities, vulnerabilities and self-doubts will be shown. When asked how this made them feel, Jisoo answered, “We started out on this project thinking that we wanted to show the more honest side of ourselves, the more genuine sides. So through having heart to hearts and very genuine and honest conversations we were able to get to know each other even deeper.”
For Blinks, she said, “We really wanted to share more of us with them and that’s why we started this project. And I think it was very needed for us”.
Through this documentary, Suh said she hopes to paint the girls in their true light. “In a way, they seem like sisters—they’re a family, basically. They all talked about the balance of the group. It’s almost like a selfless thing, how they manage their own feelings and emotions and life so that it works with the group. They’re all very conscious about the little ecosystem that they live in. They all want it to be happy and healthy and they all want positive things for each other, and realized that once they joined the band, they were now responsible to other people”.
Truly, Blackpink has come a long way and isn’t stopping any time soon. This documentary is only the start of even greater promises for the group. When Suh was asked whether Blackpink felt this was a “big turning point in their career”, Suh said the members don’t feel this way.
“They feel like they’re in the middle of it, still. They just want more and more experiences. As Jennie said, she feels like they have more to show everyone. I think a lot of people would feel pressure—like, “we were so successful, we have to top ourselves”—but I really feel like they’re enjoying the ride”, Suh said.
Today, October 14, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky marks a milestone in K-pop and is available on Netflix. Proving that music knows no borders or language barriers, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky offers a personal look at the four members of Blackpink, from their years as trainees to their current global success as the most popular K-pop girl group of all time.
Netflix definitely has an already wide variety of titles to choose from and this time, Blackpink will be a part of its history.
Watch “Blackpink” Light Up the Sky” here: www.netflix.com/BlackpinkLightUpTheSky
Watch the trailer here: