The World Discovers Korean Language and Culture in Korea University’s “International Korean UCC Festival”
The Festival, where foreign students create User-Created Content (UCC) in Korean, had its 15th annual event
Participants doubled in number compared to the previous year, as 63 teams from 20 countries partook in the competition
The 15th annual International Korean UCC Festival, where international students shared their perspectives on Korean culture, was held in Inchon Memorial Hall, Korea University on Friday November 10, 2016.
The Festival aims to raise awareness of the distinctiveness of the Korean language and Korean culture, and foster foreigners’ interest in them through a competition between the participating teams who generate UCC. Created in Korean, these videos are evaluated on the basis of their artistic value and creativity. Sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the National Institute of Korean Language, and the King Sejong Institute Foundation, the 15th annual Festival was the most energetic and colorful ever. As foreigners’ interest in Korea has increased, the participants in this year’s Festival doubled in number.
Hosted by Arum Park from the Korean Language Center, and Joseph from the University of Hawai’I, the Festival started with a performance by Zamstick, the percussion music group, followed by the opening speech of Hikyoung Lee, Director of the Institute of Foreign Language Studies, and the welcoming speech of Kee-hyung Kim, Director of the Korean Language Center.
“The Festival originally began as the “International Korean Play Festival” 15 years ago, and aimed to attract students who were learning Korean, but it transformed into the “UCC” Festival five years ago. I am delighted that the number of participants has been steadily rising,” Professor Lee said, who continued by saying, “I would like to thank the foreign and Korean students who have shown interest in this Festival, as well as the great sponsors.”
“This festival derives its meaning primarily from the fact that it is for everyone, including Koreans and foreigners. The Festival will be video-clipped and available on YouTube, so you can enjoy it anytime you want,” Professor Kim said. “Distinguished journalists, copywriters and scholars have agreed to take part as judges, and I would like to warmly thank them. Finally, I would also like to express my gratitude to the professors and staff members of the Korean Language Center, without whom this Festival would have not been possible.”
Kee-hyung Kim, a Professor at the Department of Korean Language and Literature, was nominated as the Chairperson of the Panel of Judges, which also included: (1) Professor Jungwoo Kim, from the Study of Cultural Contents major of the interdisciplinary program; (2) Gunsik Park, an MBC producer and the former president of the Korean Producers' & Directors’ Association; (3) Samuel “Sam” Okyere, who starred in JTBC’s ‘Bijungsang Hoedam’ and MBC’s ‘Jincha Sanai’; (4) Jinjoo Lee, a CJ E&M producer; and (5) In-Gun Choi, the Executive Vice President of SHARESPOT, Ltd.
The winner of the first prize at the 14th Festival last year, Dai Xi Yuan, sent a celebratory message about this year’s Festival in a short video clip, in which he said that “the Festival is not simply about evaluating the works submitted, it is also a place where you can enjoy Korea and share your dreams,” and he asked the participants to reflect upon what the Festival meant to them.
Before showing the finalists’ work, the MCs acknowledged the sterling efforts of all 63 teams from 20 countries.
Seven teams made the final. As this year’s Festival relaxed the eligibility criteria and imposed no limitations on possible topics, the contents were much more varied than before, comprising a broad spectrum of genres ranging from romance – between a man and a woman of different nationalities – to horror. Many of the UCCs also depicted how Korea is viewed by foreigners, including perspectives from India, Kazakhstan, Canada and Holland.
The video that was played first was “Eruhwa Jotta in Delhi” (Seo-Bin Sung, et al., King Sejong Institute in New Delhi, India). Describing how Korean language learners at the King Sejong Institute in New Delhi practice Samulnori, the Korean traditional musical performance, it related a story of those who love Korea and its culture.
The second clip “From Elton” (Ga-Young Park, Korea University K-FOP) made the audience burst into laughter with the story of a Korean-American student who struggles to get used to Korean college life.
The third, “The Strange Case of Woosong International School” (Anorboeva Azizakhon et al., Woosong University), dramatized the ghost story that spread on the campus of Woosong International School, which included appalling events.
The fourth team presented “Tell Me Your Wish” (Princess Abigail Ampol, Korea University), a story about a girl from the Philippines who makes a wish to improve her Korean so she can communicate with a boy she likes by floating a paper ship with her wish written on it, and the resulting comic episodes that take place between them. After the four works were shown, there was a 10-minute intermission before the second half of the Festival began.
The second part began with video-taped congratulatory messages from Carlos Gorito, the Brazilian Delegate to the Bijungsang Heodam, and the idol groups 24K and NCT. It was especially memorable that, as 24K sent their regards to the foreign students in Chinese and English, the audience responded with warm appreciation.
Three video clips were presented during the second session.
The fifth video “The Eraser” (Tae-Sung Kim, et al., the Korean Language Center at Korea University) was a story of romance between a man and a woman of different nationalities, where the man, who received a wedding invitation from his ex-girlfriend, tries to “correct” the past with a magic eraser that can “erase” what has happened.
The sixth piece titled “The Wish” (Chen Yang, Pusan National University) related the story of a boy who all of sudden comes to Korea and starts to live with a new family, as his divorced mother has married a Korean man, and who gradually becomes used to his new life, new family and new friends.
The final video was “The Picture of an Old Man” (Vincent Pearce-Caetano, Big Tree Local Children Center), in which a British man happens to discover a picture of a Korean soldier, comes to Korea, meets a local woman, and comes to know the country.
While the panel discussed the finalists’ UCCs at the end of the second session of the Festival, there was a short performance by Vanilla Acoustic, whose songs such as “Honsul Namnyu” and “Cheese in the Trap” feature in a popular drama. The audience applauded wildly and screamed with excitement, and in response Vanilla Acoustic played songs that they requested.
As the performance came to an end, the Awards Ceremony began. Professor Kim, the Chairperson of the Panel, explained the criteria the Panel took into consideration in evaluating the video clips: “First, we examined whether the topic is clear and speaks to everyone's heart, including Koreans and foreigners. The second factor is whether the narrative structure and editing is well-executed, such that the topic is expounded as well as possible. Finally, we also considered the pronunciations of foreign actors – whether they are clear enough to convey the ideas in the dialog – and how the audience responded.” He wrapped up his remarks by saying that “This Festival has been meaningful in that it has encouraged us to reflect upon how languages make connections between and among human beings, and upon the attributes of the Korean language and culture.” Alexander, a former member of U-KISS and currently an actor, then announced the winners.
The First Prize, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, was awarded to the team Princess Abigail Ampol, who presented “Tell Me Your Wish”. A trophy, a certificate and prize money of 1,500,000 KRW were awarded to the team. Other prizes were awarded as follows: (1) Second Prize, 1,000,000 KRW to “The Eraser” (Tae-Sung Kim, et al., the Korean Language Center at Korea University); (2) Third Prize, 500,000 KRW to both “Eruhwa Jotta in Delhi” (Seo-Bin Sung, et al., King Sejong Institute at New Delhi, India) and “From Elton” (Ga-Young Park, Korea University K-FOP); (3) Director’s Prize, 300,000 KRW to “The Strange Case of Woosong International School” (Anorboeva Azizakhon et al., Woosong University); (4) Best Scenario Prize, 300,000 KRW to “The Eraser”; (5) Actors’ Prize, 300,000 KRW to “The Wish” (Chen Yang, Pusan National University); and (6) The Brilliant Ideas Prize, 300,000 KRW to “The Picture of an Old Man” (Vincent Pearce-Caetano, Big Tree Local Children Center).