KWEB FEST Coming to Seoul on July 30th & 31st
Korea’s first web series festival, KWEB FEST, will be held on July 30 – 31 at the K Hotel in Seoul. The event will feature new and popular Korean web series. A special contest designed to discover, award, and invest in an outstanding Korean web series will be held. This will be the first web festival held in Northeast Asia and currently the only one in Asia. KWEB FEST joins the family of 26 other web fests from around the globe and in partnership with the LAWEBFEST.
At this festival, you can experience the latest news out of Korea regarding popular and newly debuted web series. KWEB FEST will also host a series of panel sessions, showcases and masterclasses, focusing on the rise of web series, new media and new technology.
KWEB FEST is hosted by JSTop Entertainment which produces the weekend Korean drama Divorce Lawyers in Love on SBS, starring Jo Yeo Jeong. Sponsors include the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. JSTop Entertainment CEO Eun Seong Hee is the chair of the organizing committee, while film director Young Man Kang is the executive chairman and founder of this festival.
“KPop, KDrama, and Korean web series are expected to lead the new Korean Wave with their groundbreaking, contents and creative ideas.” - Young Man Kang
These series and more will be recognized and honored at the 1st KWEB FEST in Seoul, South Korea. For more information and pre-sale ticketing, visit www.kwebfest.com.
- The following is an interview with Young Man Kang sharing his journey of bringing KWEB FEST to Seoul.
A few years ago I had a screening of my web series “Kimchi Warrior” at the Korean Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Michael [Michael Ajakwe Jr., Founder/Executive Director LAWEBFEST] attended the screening, and we met briefly. He told me about LAWEBFEST and suggested I submit my show. I did, and I was accepted. My involvement in the festival was a great experience. I learned so much about web series and was inspired to set up KWEB FEST in Korea.
I was born and raised in South Korea. After college, I moved to the States. My filmmaking background is unique, influenced by both countries and cultures. I’ve been in Los Angeles since 1997 working as a filmmaker. Since then, I’ve made 6 feature films and one web series. I travel between Seoul and Los Angeles working on co-productions.
I am fascinated with the new technologies for filmmaking. In 2000, when I made my first feature “Cupid’s Mistake”, it was considered in Hollywood as part of the first generation of digital filmmaking that departed from traditional 35mm filmmaking. It screened at the theater with a video projector, not a film projector. At that time nobody imagined that 35mm film would disappear so soon. Then in 2009, 3D filmmaking came to Hollywood. At the same time in South Korea, 4D film started to screen alongside the 3D film “Avatar”. I had a chance to make the first 4D short film project “Brave New World: 4D Filmmaking” for the 4D movie theater in Seoul.
I’ve always experimented with new technology and new formats, and I wanted to do a web series. So I made “Kimchi Warrior”. I like feeling like a filmmaking pioneer, and I want to introduce aspiring filmmakers in Korea to the web series format. The best way to do that is to set up a web fest in Korea. That’s my motivation. Also, web series are perfect for smartphones.
In South Korea, Samsung and LG are strong in hardware, but they need content for their devices.
Tell us about your web series.
It's like a Korean version of Popeye. Eating kimchi supplies him with power to defeat all kinds of disease.
"Kimchi Warrior" is told through a unique blend of martial arts, comedy, and the promotion of good health. Based on the premise of Popeye, the story's hero character, Kimchi Warrior, obtains supernatural strength by consuming the most prominent Korean dish to defend mankind from the world’s most notorious diseases (i.e. Swine Flu, Mad Cow Disease, Malaria, SARS etc.)
Each episode features a new “disease character” summoned by the Evil Lord of Disease to wipe out mankind. Under the tutelage of the clairvoyant Kimchi Master, The Kimchi Warrior is sent to fight and ultimately annihilate the disease with a different “ingredient weapon”.
There are many warriors from each country, Each has its own food warrior, such as Tapas Warrior in Spain, Curry Warrior from India and Salsa Warrior from Mexico.
The growing popularity in web series that can be streamed on smartphones led me to create "Kimchi Warrior". It is targeted for a global market because of the large number of Samsung, LG and iPhone users.
Specifically, I was able to learn the painstaking process of creating digital creatures.
Known for their premium children’s free video content, batteryPOP.com is hosting "Kimchi Warrior".
What is unique about your festival?
There is almost no Korean web series community, but there are “webtoons,” which is like an online graphic comic book. Korea doesn’t even have an official word for web series. They are called a few different names, such as web dramas, TV casts, short films, and video series. Not many people know the term “web series.” KWEB FEST will give Korean creators the chance to learn about web series. That’s very important. My hope is that KWEB FEST will inspire them to create their own web series. I hope they will exchange web series culture with other countries.
Have you had any help putting together your first festival?
LAWEBFEST founder Michael Ajakwe and I worked together to jointly select 50 shows from the LAWEBFEST 2015 to screen at KWEB FEST and we are cross-promoting each other’s festivals. There’s already been one article about LAWEBFEST published in the Korean press. KWEB FEST will uncover many talented creators in Korea, and next year Korean web series will get to travel to LAWEBFEST. We have similar partnerships with other festivals (Melbourne, Rome, Dublin, Berlin, Bilbao, Rio, Montreal, Sicily). They will send their grand prize winners to Korea, and our winners will go to those festivals. We are all growing together. We will share panelists and award ceremony presenters, too.
How does your festival help the creators of web series?
KWEB FEST is holding a contest designed to discover, award and invest in an outstanding Korean web series. In addition, KWEB FEST will screen more than 70 international web series from all around the world focusing on diverse topics, geographies and minority groups.
Given the exciting rise of web series both here in Korea and the rest of the world and the spin off advantages these provide, KWEB FEST will also create networking opportunities and events to directly connect foreign buyers with Korean content producers.
What are some advantages of making a web series?
Web series don’t need to follow the existing distribution system. If you have a creative idea, you can produce a web series using a bottom-up structure, so anyone can create their own content. Web series can also serve as an idea testbed, when experimenting away from the traditional filming system.
What do you see happening in the web series world in the coming year?
I hope that Kpop, Kdrama, and Korean web series will lead the new Korean Wave with their groundbreaking, contents and creative ideas, like PSY’s 'Gangnam Style' did internationally.
The KWEB FEST hopes to promote Korean web shows within Korea and to share Korea's talents with the rest of the world.
Internationally through all the web fests we can build a huge web series community. Through web fests, creators and participants can gather and exchange information, receive awards, and build relationships at a really deep and personal level. I see this happening incrementally, growing like a spider’s web - the more webfests the world has, the bigger, larger and more effectively this community will grow and become.
by Melodie Everson
edited by Anna Ward
Key Light Magazine
Photos courtesy of KWEB FEST