Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Heart Project Runway Korea

I miss Korea. There's just no denying it, and a show like Project Runway Korea makes me wish even more that I could still be there. I never got to see the waterway that now runs through Seoul. I never got to take a ride on Korea's high speed train, either. But a show like this makes me so proud to see just how far Korea has come since I first stepped foot in the country in the 1970s.

I am a huge fan of the American original. I thought the Canadian version hosted by Iman was, dare I say it, a bit more fabulous, thanks in no small part to what Iman brought to the show. But I have to say I was not disappointed by the Korean version. Hosted by Lee So-ra, one of Korea's premier superdmodels (I think she placed second in Elite's Look of the Year in Korea) (who I also saw trashed out of her mind at a bar in Itaewon one night with singers Uhm Jung Hwa and Koo Bon Seung), PRK showcased some really talented people. Many of the challenges were taken from the American show, but one of my favorites was when the designers had to create a look inspired by a world famous designer. I was so surprised to hear these young Koreans (a few of whom had never traveled abroad) speaking so intelligently and knowledgably about designers like Rei Kawakubo and Dries van Noten and Alexander McQueen.

Unlike the American version, there was very little cattiness. Overall, the atmosphere in the workroom was congenial and cooperative. In other words, the best of what makes Koreans Korean. I suspect that a few of the male designers were gay (not to mention their Tim Gunn-host) but that was never really touched upon. In this show, the focus was clearly on the clothes, not on personal dramas.

For all you die-hard Project Runway fans, here's the link if you want to download some, or all, of the series. It's only 10 episodes, and they're not subtitled in English, but you get a great glimpse into the Korean fashion aesthetic.


dannie said...

J.T.'s out of the cave. seems like America is obsessed with drama. i think i'll check out PR Korea :]

J.T. said...

My head was still in the Peruvian clouds. I'm a little bit returned to NYC now. Sadly... :-P

dannie said...

aww. welcome back we missed you!

Rob said...

The mountain air had cleansed your mind and lungs! Now you just need a trust fund to go on a year long tour of South America!

Raven said...

Missed you! Glad you're back!

Also, where do I sign up for a trust fund? :D

J.T. said...

Raven, I recently finished my third screenplay, the one about the father who kills his son. I wavered about writing them as white characters but in the end the story felt so much truer with everyone being Asian. And you know what? I totally love this story, morbid as that may sound.

Any advice on what my next step should be? I've been lucky to have several people read the (since revised) script that you were so good to read for me. The feedback has been very encouraging. I was thinking of entering some scriptwriting contests. What do you think? (I'm ready to start building a trust fund... lol)

Raven said...

Unfortunately a lot of this year's contest deadlines are already past. They tend to cluster in the spring. The trackingb contest has a fall deadline, though, and I've heard it's a good contest.

I think your next move depends on your ultimate goal, though. Are you interested in making your scripts yourself or finding an indie director who might be interested? Or are you aiming for representation and a studio production?

My feeling is your material might be better suited to the indie route, if you're up for that. You're also more likely to see the material actually make it to film that way. On the other hand, many if not most indies never find distribution.

Re: your third completed script, congrats!!! :) My advice would be to market it as "a script about such-and-such (which happens to star Asians)" rather than an "Asian script." I say that thinking about a particular independent film which was marketed as a "Korean film" instead of a "gangster film" (which is what it was, although it happened to star Koreans). It didn't make much of a splash, and I couldn't help thinking it could have made more if it had been marketed more broadly.

Since you do have the advantage of being Asian, you might check out the CAPE contest (Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, I think it stands for). I'm not sure when their deadline is. Winning that one gets you a partial staged reading in L.A. (and some other stuff, I'm sure).

J.T. said...

thanks for the holler back again Raven. As for making my scripts myself, no, no. I don't think I am ready to do that. I went to see the filming of the short that I wrote, and the director was taking shots from a million different angles that I would never have thought of or would have had the patience to shoot. LOL. I will stick with the writing.

I've been researching producers and actually wrote a letter to the people who produced the indie flick Saved! that came out a few years ago, the one starring McCauly Culkin. I thought the themes were similar enough that they might be interested in revisiting them.

I wasn't sure which contests to enter. Yeah, I kind of realized that most of the deadlines were already gone. I will check out trackingb. Thanks for that.

If you're talking about West32nd, I'm still wondering why that hasn't had a wide release yet. Will it ever?

Raven said...

West 32nd it is. At this point I don't expect it to get anything more than it already got. Did you see it? If so, what did you think? I keep waiting for Netflix to pick up a copy so I can check it out.

J.T. said...

You know, now that John Cho is a relative big shot with his turn in Star Trek the time may now be right to release w32. The studios might simply have been trying to capitalize on his exposure from Trek.

I did not see it when it played at Tribeca though I heard there was a LOOOOOOOONG line of Koreans to see it. I am anxious to see. I did see a trailer and the one girl I heard speaking Korean did not speak it very well. That turned me off. I mean, that right there would hurt the movie's credibility in Korea. Or maybe I just did not hear enough.

Raven said...

The movie has no well-known Korean stars, either. True, John Cho may be a little better known in Korea after Star Trek (did Harold & Kumar make it to Korea?). I don't know if Michael Kang is still looking for distribution; maybe he is and that's why the DVD is unavailable. I notice CJ has some kind of role in the film, too. I wonder if they tried to get it exposure. I mean, they must have, right? I haven't heard anything about the film in a while.