Jul 30, 2007

Jumong executive producer and others seeking co-production arrangements in Philippines

CO-PRODUCTION is key, a Koreanovela producer told his Filipino counterparts in a workshop held in Makati on July 20.
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The "international co-production" workshop was spearheaded by the Korean Broadcasting Institute (KBI), in cooperation with the National Broadcasting Network (NBN), the Philippine government station.

Young-Jun Ryu, KBI director, told Inquirer Entertainment

that the Korean governmental organization is initiating co-productions with five Asian countries--Vietnam, Mongolia, Indonesia, China and the Philippines.

"Through workshops like this, we hope to share skills and ideas with our neighbors," he said, adding that the "similar cultures of Asian countries create a lot of opportunities for communication."

He said KBI's commitment was clear, noting that three top producers/directors from Korea were flown in to deliver lectures on production (Tae Won Kim), soap operas (Hyung Min Lee) and documentaries (Yong Don Lee).

The first speaker, Kim, was executive producer of the Koreanovela "Jumong," currently airing on GMA 7.

In explaining the historical soap opera's success throughout the region, the Korean producer said: "The passion of the actors, directors, writers, producers made the 'Korean wave' possible."

In more concrete terms, that "passion" could be seen in the time and effort his company poured on "Jumong," Kim said.

He related that two years was spent on pre-production, and one-and-a-half years on building the show's set, an ancient village. (He showed video of a mountain area being flattened prior to construction.)

'Jumong' fever
A toprater in Korea, "Jumong" has been sold to at least eight Asian countries--Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

"Asia is the biggest market in the world," Kim asserted. "No other market is growing at the same pace."

However, he conceded that "Hollywood is staging a comeback." That was why, he said, it was necessary "for Asians to make the market grow bigger."

He said that could be achieved only "if Asian countries cooperate with one another."

He outlined three strategies: 1) co-productions; 2) workshops/interactions among artists and producers; and 3) use/sharing of locations and sets in different countries.

He said there was an urgent need for more research, as well, "to find out what Asia wants to watch."

From Manila, Kim's next stop is China. "I am visiting the Shaolin Temple. I want to find out what makes this martial art famous all over the world," he said.

That's another rich source of story ideas that could appeal to a wide audience, Kim said. "Stories on martial arts, history, even natural calamities, can show the human spirit overcoming suffering."
Bayani San Diego Jr.

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