The Oscar-nominated film Minari is a beautiful film about a Korean-American family's search for the American dream. Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, the movie is set in 1980s rural Arkansas, but was actually filmed in Northeastern Oklahoma on the 260-acre Meadow Lake Ranch, just west of Tulsa in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
Tom Warren, who co-owns Meadow Lake Ranch, told Oklahoma's NewsOn6 that it was a joy to host the cast and crew.
"All of the crew was tremendous; it was easy to work with them, and everything just went very, very smoothly," Warren said.
Warren added that, to the surprise of some on set, Oklahoma was a great representation of the lush farmland of the screenplay.
"The people from California tend to think that Oklahoma is one big, large, flat plain, and it's all the Sahara Desert," Warren said. "They were very surprised to see how much green and how much water is in this part of Oklahoma."
The film employed 170 Oklahoma industry members and used several local businesses for everything from equipment to catering.
Minari, named for a Korean water plant, is a semi-autobiographical tale of writer-director Lee Isaac Chung's upbringing.
"Lee Isaac Chung, our director, grew up very similarly to to David's character: They lived in a trailer as his dad tried to start this farm. So in that sense, we did have a great sort of historian to help make sure that a lot of elements were factual -- or felt factually real -- because that's actually what happened when he was child," producer Christina Oh told The Oklahoman.
The film stars Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) as Jacob, who moves with his wife, Monica (Yeri Han) and their two children Anne (Noel Cho) and David (Alan S. Kim) to start a family farm. Monica's mother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) moves in with the family, leading to some of the film's most heartwarming moments.
Will Patton and Scott Haze also star in the film, which features several Oklahoma actors and was partially financed by Oklahoma-born, Missouri raised Brad Pitt's production company Plan B.
Minari earned six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture of the Year. (Nomadland, Sound of Metal, The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Mank, Promising Young Woman and The Trial of the Chicaco 7 make up the remaining nominees.)
The film won the 2021 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and the U.S. Dramatic Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
If you want to experience the land featured in the stunning, moving film, you can visit Meadow Lake Ranch, which is home to log cabins, a bed & breakfast and more.