Entertainment shows typically cast males and those that have women cast members usually exploit the women by either sensualizing their face or body or treating them like flowers. Females are forced to dance provocatively or take on supporting roles. Until 2020, Korean entertainment shows have not kept up with the changes in society. Women are speaking up against the discriminatory activities by broadcasters and TV producers. FILM SOGNO represents a new type of entertainment show called <Newtopia> that features anti-corset women. SMT met FILM SOGNO and learned more about its mission to promote the idea that words and actions taken for granted are discriminatory speech and behavior.
Before we get started, would you please introduce FILM SOGNO to our readers?
FILM SOGNO is a women's media contents company that was founded by seven feminists to create media content. It creates contents for women and the contents are uploaded onto our YouTube channel. At first, it began with just web-dramas, but now, FILM SOGNO has expanded into creating documentary, infotainment, and web-entertainment content. Recently, we created the web-entertainment show named <Newtopia>.
Members of FILM SOGNO are all Sookmyungians. How did you all come together to form FILM SOGNO?
The web-drama <There are no bad kids> was our collective motive. I am a friend of Kim Eunha, who planned and produced that web-drama, so she casted me as an actor for the web-drama. Other FILM SOGNO members joined the project as staff. After shooting the web-drama was completed, it was uploaded onto YouTube. We then recruited additional staff to manage the YouTube channel. This is how FILM SOGNO came into being.
YouTube has been very influential in these days. Have you ever experienced the popularity of your videos as a contents creator using YouTube as the platform for your work?
In one video, we discussed the discomfort felt by female students wearing university ambassador clothing. Soon after uploading the video, we got news that the ambassador outfits at Sungshin Women’s University had changed. While I do believe Sungshin students had a lot to do with it like raising objections and voicing problem awareness, I heard that our uploaded video also helped. Also, the documentary video entitled, ‘The reason why the word “pretty” is not a compliment’ has been used in gender equality trainings in elementary school. Learning about the effect our videos have had, I realized that thousands of people are watching our videos.
How do you deal with malicious comments?
ILM SOGNO has a lot of content that involves interviews with the general public. Therefore, in principle, we must delete comments that might harm the cast such as slander and derogatory comments on a person’s physical body. However, we don’t erase other types of comments like disagreements or criticism. We are not that concerned about comments unless they are constructive criticism because we are too busy to pay attention to petty grievances.
What was the most worthwhile video that you created?
It is hard to pick just one. It took over a year for FILM SOGNO to reach 10,000 YouTube subscribers. For many months, the number of subscribers stayed at hundreds and then in the thousands. Nevertheless, we never gave up, and we continued to make content diligently. Though viewership was low, we worked steadily. For this reason, I would have to say that all the videos we created have been worthwhile.
Then, if you had to choose just one, which one do you have the strongest affection for?
Frankly, I would choose the first episode of <HeowhistleJeaon>. Personally, I think it is a masterpiece. Every time I watch it, I think about how really well-made it is. We made it humorous and witty. <HeowhistleJeaon> started from the thought that there were few female narratives in Korean classical literature. Moreover, those that did exist were not as well known as the male narratives. With the objective of increasing female narratives and creating good quality work, four members came together to create the video.
Then, what has been the most challenging video to shoot?
It would be <Newtopia>. It is the product of many staff and cast members. All have gone through hardships and lack of sleep to create it. Nonetheless, it is very rewarding. The other series <HeowhistleJeaon> was also tough. For that one, we lacked funds and filming equipment and we did not have a complete production system firmly established. Moreover, all involved were also doing other work besides <HeowhistleJeaon>, so we did the filming at night. At first, we had planned on <HeowhistleJeaon> being a web-entertainment show, but after we began filming, it naturally directed itself into a fusion historical drama. Unlike a web-entertainment or v-log, a web-drama has to focus on scene connection, so that makes it extremely hard.
How did you plan and film the video ‘Interviews with 100 default women’?
I came up with the idea while preparing for the performance of Seoul WOmen’s Playground (SWOP). The theme of the performance was anti-corset (taking off one’s corset). I felt the performance was meaningful, so I wanted to show the faces of women not wearing make-up and with short hair on a screen while I perform. Also, after hearing that default women often feel lonely and empty, I wanted to show them that they were not alone. There are 100 women in the video who are united. It took three days, 10 hours each day, for a total of nearly 30 hours to film, but the result was powerful.
Recently, FILM SOGNO hosted the female variety show <Newtopia> which gained a lot of attention both in and out of Sookmyung. As the CEO of FILM SOGNO, what do you think is reason for the success of <Newtopia>? Also, will there be a season 2?
In regard to a season 2, nothing has been decided, so there is neither talk for nor against it. Even if it were to happen, we would want it to be a surprise, so I wouldn’t spill the beans yet. I think the reason for <Newtopia>’s popularity is because of the need. People realized they needed this type of content on a variety show. Above all I suppose it’s because <Newtopia> is fun. Naturally, there are aspects that could have been improved, but the authenticity of the cast having fun in the video made it popular among viewers. Also you can rarely see any TV show or variety show casting 8 women, all of whom do not wear makeup, or wear little makeup, and have short hair. Even female comedians tend to put on makeup. It was a fresh look for viewers to see 8 ‘natural’ looking people all on one screen at the same time.
What content can viewers expect from FILM SOGNO in the future?
All content has been planned until the end of 2020. We plan content for the year at the beginning of the year. We have already planned our content for the year, but I cannot tell you what that will be or I would be spoiling the surprise. Personally, however, I hope to film more dance videos. Not just dance choreography but videos that are artistic from a cinematic view.
What is the biggest value FILM SOGNO pursues?
FILM SOGNO pursues laughter without discomfort. Though we film videos that are thought-provoking, laughter without discomfort is the biggest objective we hope to give audiences. Therefore, content must be fun. It can be helpful, but it must be fun and directed at women. In other words, we hope women tune in to laugh and enjoy the content without getting upset at what they see. For me, laughter does not only refer to humor, it also involves interest, so we focus on content women are interested in.
What do you ultimately hope to achieve through FILM SOGNO?
When we first established FILM SOGNO, the goal was to create video content that matched our wishes. However, we have amended that to include content that matches the interests of our seven members but also the audience. We want to make FILM SOGNO our full-time job. Until now we have not yet made any income from FILM SOGNO, but we are hopeful. I think this will come sooner than later in the future. FILM SOGNO is just at its beginning stage, so every member of FILM SOGNO will keep putting forth a strong effort to achieve self-fulfillment and success.
Would you please share some advice to people dreaming of being a female media creator?
I'm not sure I am qualified to answer this, but from my personal experience, to quote the words of Director Byeon Yeongju, “A female narrative should not be the topic of just any work”. In other words, the female narrative in media content must not be lost in the name of work centering on women. Also, the making of content itself is hard work, so you must be willing to put in the hours of thinking and creating content for women, which will make other parts of your life suffer. As a feminist, myself, I always think about the female narrative in everything I do, so I think when making content, pay attention to quality. Also, consider discomfort that may arise in an audience, so that you don’t make others uncomfortable when they watch your video content.
Last, would you like to leave any final words for Sookmyungians?
I have always felt we are lucky to be Sookmyungians. Also, since we are attending a women’s university, there are more adventurous and reformative people. I would like to encourage all Sookmyungians by saying I will always have an affection for our university because it’s my lifetime alma mater. Circumstances today make everyone fearful of COVID-19, but look after your health well, and all will be fine. I promise that l will always support every Sookmyungian.
- Department of Nanophysics '12
- Master’s Degree in Cultural Administration French Cultural Management Major at 17th Graduate School of Professional Studies
- CEO of FILM SOGNO
- Choreographer of FROMZERO DANCE STUDIO
Ahn Ha Yura / Culture Section Editor
Lee Hwang Hayoung / Woman Section Editor