Notice to all budding filmmakers out there: an avenue to fame and fortune (and a new car!) may have just opened up. Sorry, I’ve already taken the idea of writing the smash sequel to Sharknado (my pitch: just think that trailer, but 3 ½ hours long and the sharks are BIGGER).
No, your avenue to fortune may be the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) 2013 Video Contest about Korea, which is taking submissions until August 9TH. This year, there are two themes to choose from — “My favorite Korean food is…” and “My best Korean friend is…” Contestants must submit a 3-minute video to be posted on YouTube or a similar (read: legal!) media sharing site. Ten of the best videos will be featured on Arirang TV with prizes ranging from digital cameras to a brand new car.
Don’t let the colorful cartoons on the contest poster and the kid-friendly themes fool you: this competition isn’t just for children. A quick look at last year’s gold and silver contest winners (the 2012 theme: “I love Korea, because…”) displays some mature talent with serious hardware at their disposal.
One major thing to note about this contest – and definitely stressed in all of the application materials – is that MOFA is looking for “non-Korean perceptions of Korea.” This means, unfortunately, that no Korean citizens, overseas Koreans, or people of Korean descent are eligible to enter. (This makes us wonder, too, whether technically this means North Koreans can enter the contest — though our guess is that whatever would be produced North of the border may not have quite the right tone that MOFA is looking for.)
It means, too, that the entries will all have a very distinct perspective to them: that of the outsider looking in. In my previous life before the soul-destroyer known as grad school, I was both living in Japan and majorly into film making. Like these contestants, I too have experienced first-hand the exhilaration and frustration that comes from attempting to cinematically capture a place that you love but is not quite yours.
For MOFA, this decision makes sense as well. As a foreigner, you typically have a very good idea of what will pique other foreigner’s interest about a place, making these videos a great recruitment tool for tourism, study abroad, or any other vehicles for cross-cultural exchange. For a domestic audience, these submissions will prove both flattering as well as fascinating – I personally would love to see the flip-side of this contest for foreign perspectives on the U.S.
At any rate, the clock is ticking. You have about two weeks left to submit your videos. Everything you need to enter is attached to this press release on MOFA’s site. Get to it, guys!