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TOTAL LICENSING
Han-Young Kang: “Of course the
main change is the move from 2D
Sunwoo Entertainment is involved in production, merchandise and distribution
animation to 3D. During the late 80s,
on a number of projects including Mix Master, their successful animated series
early 90s, Sunwoo had over 800 ani-
aimed at 7 – 13 year olds.
mators creating animation in house
The first series received the Korean Cartoon, Animation and Character Presi-
and everything was hand-drawn. It
dential Award in 2005 and a second series is now in production, scheduled for
was very labor intensive.
completion this year.
The Korean animation industry is re-
The initial series was exported to more than 27
ally relatively young. The first original
countries around the world with broadcasters in-
animation that was produced here
cluding Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Sun-
was in 1965. During the 70s and 80s,
woo were involved with the animation and the
we progressed very rapidly and by the
online trading card game together with partners
1990s more and more people were
including Omni in China and Hanbit Soft.
looking to create their own produc-
On the licensing side, toys were launched in
tions. They realised that the key to
2005 and more than 80 licenses were signed by Sunwoo.
success really was to own their own
The second series will be broadcast in May next year and Sunwoo are currently
IP .
putting together a comprehensive merchandising program including toys, games,
Before 2000, most animation was pro-
publishing and mobile content.
duced in the traditional hand-drawn
Metajets is a further Sunwoo Production comprising 40 x 22 minute episodes
2D way. The big change came around
aimed a boys aged six to eleven. The series was completed in June and launched
2000 where everything went digital.
in Asia on the Disney Channel. In North America
Today, virtually all animation in Korea
Teletoon in Canada have the rights and in Korea
is digital.”
broadcasting is through Tooniverse and KBS. On the
merchandising side, products have been signed in-
TL: Is there Government support
cluding film comic books, coloring books, puzzles,
for this?
footwear and toys.
Han-Young Kang: “Yes, in 2000 the
Finally, Kung Fu Dino Posse is a comedy action ani-
Korean Government launched The
mated series comprising 40 half-hour episodes and
Korean Cultural Contents Agency
aimed at boys aged six to eleven. The series, which
which has helped the industry grow
will launch this year, is a co-production between
hugely through funding and assistance.
Sunwoo in Korea and Singapore together with
All of this has given the industry a real
Cookie Jar in Canada and Optix Digital Pictures in
boost and has made it into the major
Germany.
industry that it is today.
For example, over 140 Universities in
styles there’s a broad range – some dren now have a lot of alternatives,
South Korea have animation majors
that are ‘Asian’ in looks and others both online and offline, all of which
compared with only a handful in the
which are very much ‘international’. presents a challenge to animators.
United States. There are more anima-
Today when we create animation, we However, animation won’t go away. I
tion students in Korea than anywhere
are always looking to appeal to mar- believe it needs to change and adapt
else in the world.”
kets on a worldwide basis.” to the new set of circumstances. At
Sunwoo, we’ve been gradually chang-
TL: Is there a specific style of ani-
TL: What about subject areas that ing the way we do business. In 2006,
mation that you would consider to
you feel work in animation? for example, we
be typically Korean?
Han-Young Kang: “It’s really impor- acquired an online
Han-Young Kang: “South Korea
tant to find a good subject for an ani- gaming studio and we
only has around 48 million inhabitants.
mated series. Here in Asia there are a also established a toy
This is small compared with Japan
large number of good stories that are company. These will
which has over 127 million. Our mar-
forming the basis of successful anima- help us take advantage
ketplace is relatively small so, unlike
tion. However, you need a great deal of new opportunities
the Japanese who could focus their
of talent to be able to interpret these as these areas grow. For
styles to suit their large marketplace
successfully for world markets.” example, we have enjoyed
and only later think about taking an-
success working with De-
ime etc outside Japan, in Korea we’ve
TL: Finally, how do you see the fu- signstorm on Iron Kid, a
had to focus our energies on creat-
ture of animation in Korea? full 3D animated series. We
ing animation that will work in world
Han-Young Kang: “At this present also have a number of proj-
markets. Korea itself is too small a
time, I think it is very difficult to tell ects we are involved with on
market on its own.
where animation will go next. As in a production and licensing or
What this means is that in terms of
other countries, South Korean chil- distribution basis.”
165
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