Conference urges content creators to use Korean history

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Conference urges content creators to use Korean history

Koreans are proud of their country’s 5,000-year-old history. But just how well are we using it as content to create stories?

Sure, there are some arguably successful films like “Roaring Currents.” But there are also many movies and dramas based on history that flopped.

In addition, history-themed parks in Korea are generally not doing well. Marketing to foreign tourists are their best bet, but cliche programs like trying on hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) or watching tightrope-walking are the best programs they have to offer.

In hopes of changing this, the country’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism joined hands to hold an international conference for people in the content and media industries last Thursday at the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan District, central Seoul.

Dubbed “Humanistic Spirit and Traditional Resource for Creation: Classics, Blooming into Story,” the conference was supervised by five entities related to Korean studies, including the National Institute of Korean History and the Northeast Asian History Foundation.

During the one-day program, experts gave lectures to introduce ways to turn historical facts, ancient records, folktales and cultural legacies or traditions into successful content that generates profit.

Lecturers included Erwan de la Villeon, project manager of a historical theme park in France called Puy du Fou. In an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily, he said the key to successfully using historical content is interacting with people.

“It’s important to create activities for people. Puy du Fou offers performances in addition to restaurants, ateliers and showrooms for artisans, as well as shops,” he said. “With interactive entertainment, [a historical theme park] is no longer a museum but a living place.”

Another conference participant, producer Gigi T. Yoon, also noted how Korea only focuses on certain eras - for instance, Japanese colonization (1910-45) - when making historical films, dramas or novels.

“People who are engaged in Korean studies overseas are actually very interested in other eras of Korean history, too,” she says, “like for instance the Goryeo Dynasty [918-1392] or the Unified Silla era [676-935].”

Although it is also important to find new angles and twists for periods or incidents that are regular motifs, it is also necessary that Korean content creators look for new muses, she said.


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