In today’s digital age, more people are watching movies on their electronic devices than ever before. So, it only makes sense to distribute films on those platforms.
For filmmaker Young Man Kang (who’s founder of both the Seoul Webfest and the Asia Web Awards), it’s a trend that’s growing exponentially. Further, he says that delivering Korean web drama series to smart phone users around the world offers them a taste of Korean culture. Last year’s Seoul Webfest drew attendees from Germany, Japan, the United States and more to his native country.
Below, Kang discusses creating and distributing web series on the internet, the upcoming 4th Annual Seoul Webfest held in South Korea, and the online Asian Web Awards.
IE: What are some of your duties as the Festival Director of Seoul Webfest?
Young Man Kang: The primary duty of the Festival Director is to know online trends and to understand online content. Also, because there are so many big online content communities all over the world, integrating them and building up online content communities will make them stronger. The creators are scattered throughout the world. Now, they’re slowly having a chance to mingle with other creators and build up a community through web fests. So far, there are over 60 web fests in the world.
IE: How did you come up with the idea for the Asia Web Awards?
Kang: I’ve been running the Seoul Webfest for four years. During this time, I’ve received many questions about submissions to our festival. The Seoul Webfest is a web series festival, so we only accept web series submissions. There are many independent filmmakers who want to submit their web film (web movie) to our web series festival. There are a lot of short films on the world wide web. They are only being shown online, so they are all considered web films. Because of this, I felt we needed a web fest that accepts a broader web content. So, the Asia Web Awards accepts web series, web films, trailers, music videos, VR content, and drone content.
IE: Both events have a common goal to help indie filmmakers grow an audience. Can you share some success stories?
Kang: Asia Web Awards is new, so only Seoul Webfest has results to show.
- Korean web drama for the western world: Over the last four years through Seoul Webfest, we showed over 30 Korean web series (web dramas) to audiences in several western countries. A few of the series even received awards. Now, we’re talking about distribution and co-production.
- Drawing a general audience: Most web fests are new. I have visited over 10 web fests in the world and realized most web fest audiences are only other filmmakers. There were hardly any general audiences to be found at the web fest events. So, I have been really focused on drawing general audiences to our Seoul Webfest. Each year, our general audience attendance numbers are growing.
- FAM (Familiarization) tour: Two years ago after the Seoul Webfest event was over, most overseas creators left Seoul soon after—even though they were visiting here for the first time. I thought If we offered a FAM tour program for overseas creators, it would be a great way for them to get a cultural experience. So I contacted the local chamber of commerce to form the FAM tour program. Last year, we had a two-day FAM tour program in Damyang, a southern province of South Korea. The creators loved it! It worked for both sides. The overseas creators had fun and a great Korean cultural experience. The local government was also satisfied because the overseas creators took photos and uploaded them to social sites. It’s a great promotional tool for local tourism. After our success, one of our partners Die Seriale Webfest in Germany followed the FAM tour program. Also, Bilbao Seriesland did a boat tour and old town city walk tour.
IE: Do viewers have to log in or create an account to watch the Asia Web Awards?
Kang: No. The audience does not need to log in or create an account anywhere. We will have live broadcasts through major social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, and maybe YouTube, as well, at the same time.
The Asia Web Awards (Online Worldwide Series Award) happen on November 4 at 4:00 p.m. (KST). For more information, visit www.asiawebawards.com. The Seoul Webfest will take place on August 30-September 1, 2018. For more information, visit www.seoulwebfest.com.