[PRESS RELEASE] ‘Real,’ gritty issues dominate world drama trend

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  • 2016-10-06
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‘Real,’ gritty issues dominate world drama trend


 Competing at the 11th Seoul International Drama Awards are a wide array of pieces from around the globe, from the renowned British detective thriller “Sherlock” series starring actor Benedict Cumberbatch to Korea’s quaint family drama “Reply 1988,” set in late 1980s Seoul. 

This year’s selections are more realistic, as opposed to fantastical, said actor Yoo Dong-geun, a Grand Prize judge, at a press conference for the awards Wednesday at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

“A lot of TV movies dealt with timely subjects like elderly welfare, racial discrimination and religion,” Yoo said.

The awards ceremony on Sept. 8 at the Yeouido KBS Hall will have a host of international celebrities attending, including actor Sean Richard Dulake, the male lead of Viki’s K-drama parody “Dramaworld”; Japanese actress Fujii Mina, who recently starred in the Korean film “My New Sassy Girl”; Turkish actor Burak Ozcivit, who starred in the Turkish rendition of U.S. TV series “Gossip Girl”; and Taiwanese actor Wang Ta Lu, who starred in the romance flick “Our Times,” which screened here in May.

A record 265 works from 51 countries are vying for awards in categories that include TV Movie, Mini-series, Serial Drama, Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Actor and Best Actress. The Comedy category has been newly added. 

Judges for the Seoul International Drama Awards speak at a press conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Gwanghwamun, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Also notable this year is the predominance of procedural, crime dramas from Norway and Sweden, and historical dramas -- including Germany’s “Deutschland 83,” set in a divided Germany, and Korea’s “Reply 1988” -- according to British journalist and critic of Korean films James Bechervaise, a judge for the mini-series category.

Works that stood out included Sam Esmail’s American thriller “Mr. Robot,” which follows a young programmer who works as a cybersecurity engineer by day and a vigilante hacker by night, he added.

Kim Jung-min, the head of KBS’ drama department, pointed to the universality and global themes in many of the submitted works.

“There are also a lot of Korean dramas that are being remade in developing countries,” Kim noted.

South American works have shown significant development, according to Yoo Soo-yeol of The Corea Drama Production Association.

“Their pace and the scale of their cinematography were very promising,” Yoo said. He further lauded the awards’ diverse selection while expressing regret at the lack of African entries.

The Seoul International Drama Awards will be broadcast live on KBS on Sept. 8.

By Rumy Doo (