Seoul International Drama Awards

The 2016 Seoul International Drama Awards were held on September 8 to celebrate excellence in television drama production.  This year marked the 11th anniversary of the awards, and there were 265 entries from over 51 different countries that were carefully reviewed and selected by a distinguished panel of judges.  I was invited to present the awards for “Excellent Korean Drama” and “Outstanding Korean Drama”  The first award went to “Descendants of the Sun (태양의 후예)” and the second award went to “The Flower in Prison (옥중화).”

Presenting awards with Fujii Mina

My award presentation partner was the talented and well-known Japanese actress Fujii Mina who was born in the United States and speaks excellent Korean.  Although we did not have a chance to rehearse together, it was really interesting to get a glimpse “behind-the-scenes” and see how the program was put together.  I had a lot of fun meeting and being seated next to the superstar actor and star of “Descendants of the Sun,” Song Joong-ki – it was fantastic to spend part of the evening with him.  The whole crowd cheered every time the camera was on him.  It was great to meet the various people from the industry who work so hard to produce great television dramas for millions of viewers all over the world. 

Presenting awards in Korean!

I was seated next to Fujii Mina and Song Joong-ki!

It was also nice to see my good friend Cho Yoon-sun, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, who also presented an award and gave a speech at the reception after the award ceremony.

With my good friend Cho Yoon-sun 

I also got to meet veteran actor Yoo Dong-geun and comedian Bae Yun-jung!

It was amazing to experience the international nature of the award ceremony.  There were people there from all over the world representing dozens of different countries and their television work.  It was a good reminder of how Korean film and television is really a special part of the international community.

It was also great to see U.S. programs represented at the awards ceremony.  Two U.S. programs won awards for the Mini-Series Silver Bird Prize (“Mr. Robot”) and the Comedy Golden Bird Prize (“Baskets”) in the Foreign Drama Category.  In fact, Michelle Outlaw, a former U.S. Embassy Seoul public affairs official who is now serving in Oman, returned to accept the Best Comedy award on behalf of “Baskets.”  She studied Korean in college and gave an impassioned acceptance speech in Korean.  It was wonderful to see her once again representing America here in Korea and accepting an award on behalf of our country’s cultural and artistic leaders.

Congrats to “Mr. Robot” and “Baskets” for being recognized at the Seoul International Drama Awards!

Many people asked me to name my favorite Korean drama at the award ceremony.  It was a difficult question to answer because there are so many good ones.  However, if I had to choose just two, they would be “Descendants of the Sun” and “Dae Jang Geum”--one old, one new, and both of them very different from one another.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have presented two awards, and I want to congratulate all of the winners and nominees once more for all of their hard work and success.

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