Netflix commits half a billion dollars to original Korean content
Netflix announced that it will be investing a total of $500 million in Korean content this year alone, recognizing its success on the global streaming platform and its future potential.
“Even before Netflix entered Korea, the scale and size of the fandom for Korean content has been high,” Kim Min-young, vice president of content (Korea/SEA/ANZ) at Netflix, said in an online event “See What’s Next Korea 2021” held via YouTube on Thursday. “My role has been focused on providing and securing the creative freedom for Korean content creators to tell their stories, and simultaneously assist in spreading the influence to more countries and reach more fans.”
At the event, Netflix revealed that it has finalized production of two new original films, the first since it backed director Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja” in 2017. They are a romantic film tentatively titled “Moral Sense” by director Park Hyun-jin and action film “Carter” by director Jung Byung-gil. “Moral Sense” is the platform’s first attempt at creating a Korean romantic film, which was said to be about a woman and a man with “unique sexuality” forming a relationship.
Netflix also invited directors, writers and actors to introduce 13 new series on the platform in the near future.
These series include the following dramas: space sci-fi “The Silent Sea” featuring Gong Yoo and Bae Doo-na; a film about survival game “Squid Game” featuring Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo; “D.P.,” a webtoon-based series about military camp featuring Jung Hae-in and Koo Kyo-hwan; “Hellbound,” highly anticipated director Yeon Sang-ho’s first Netflix project featuring Kim Hyun-joo, Yoo Ah-in and Park Jung-min; “Move to Heaven,” a story about trauma cleaners featuring Lee Je-hoon; action noir “My Name” featuring Han So-hee, Park Hee-soon and Ahn Bo-hyun; “Love Alarm 2” featuring Kim So-hyun, Song Kang and Jung Ga-ram; zombie apocalypse “All of Us Are Dead;” and “Kingdom: Ashin of the North” featuring Jun Ji-hyun.
Producer Kwak Ik-joon will take the helm of sitcom “So Not Worth It,” a story about group of students living in the international dormitory of a Korean university. Kwak is well-known for creating various popular sitcom series in Korea, such as “Guys n Girls” (1996-1999) and “Nonstop” (2000) on MBC.
Chef and entertainer Paik Jong-won will be introducing Korean alcohol and food culture in reality show “Paik’s Spirit” and comedian Lee Su-geun will be hosting his own stand-up comedy show in “Lee Su-geun: The Sense Coach.”
As announced earlier this month, Venice International Film Festival-invited “Night in Paradise” by director Park Hoon-jung will be released via Netflix on April 9.
“When I started developing the story for ‘Kingdom’ in 2016 after I wrapped up my other drama series ‘Signal,’ I thought it was [almost] impossible to see this series on broadcasters, due to its degree of violence, and high production cost due to its unique fusion of zombies and historical drama,” Kim Eun-hee said. “But Netflix, without hesitation, approved of it. Not once did the platform say ‘no’ to my script. They were only very curious about what’s happening next.”
Yoon revealed that her production company Studio 329 was working another Netflix series “Glitch” with writer Gin Han-sai of “Extracurricular,” about a woman trying to find her boyfriend who disappeared after leaving a mysterious video.
“It’s true that for Netflix series, I am feeling more pressured to satisfy the needs of not only Korea but as well as the global audience,” Bae Doo-na said. “But it is much more meaningful, and I feel more proud when I appear in Korean content and it is received so well across the globe, even more than when I am working individually as an actor for foreign films. In creativity and in quality, it’s proving our influence, our strength over something that only we can create and do.”
BY LEE JAE-LIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]