KWeb, Asia’s First Web Festival Begins in Seoul Korea
D-Bo , July 30, 2015, 9:18 a.m.
Asia's first festival of online dramas kicked off with an opening ceremony in Seoul on Thursday. The KWeb Fest is screening 96 titles, including 70 that premiered at similar festivals abroad, and a national Web series contest during its two-day run at The-K Hotel Seoul in the southern part of the capital.
It also provides various conferences and seminars on Web series, with 10 founders of Web series festivals from such countries as the United States, Brazil, Italy, France, Australia, Spain, Germany, Canada and Ireland attending. They include Michael Ajakwe, founder and executive director of the Los Angeles Web Series Festival, one of the largest of its kind. South Korea's leading wire service Yonhap News Agency is one of the sponsors of the local event.
"We're happy to open Asia's first festival of Web series in South Korea," Eun Seong-hee, chief of the festival's organizing committee, said during the opening ceremony. "We hope this festival will serve as a chance to help good local contents advance in the world, so Web series can be the next runner after K-pop and K-dramas in the global boom of Korean culture."
Also among the conference participants are Brooks Wachtel, writer of the American animated TV series "Spider-Man," as well as producers from major foreign studios and YouTube officials. In the evening, a dozen Korean stars such as actress Chang Na-ra, Song Ji-eun, the main vocal of K-pop girl group Secret, and actor Cho Dong-hyuk, a publicity ambassador for the festival, walked the red carpet before making their way into the awards show to honor winners in the local contest and best overseas series. Korean actor Kim Bo-seong and Chinese singer Yang Chengang were also among the stars at the event.
Web series consist of short episodes that are 5 to 20 minutes long and are available only on the Internet. As a growing number of people prefer watching shows on smartphones rather than TVs, the number of annual festivals specializing in Web series has increased to 26 worldwide.
In South Korea, major television networks, such as KBS and MBC, as well as entertainment companies, such as CJ E&M and Sidus HQ, have recently released many new series online after Web series, such as "Love Cell" and "Dream Night," became big hits.