By Ko Dong-hwan
CJ ENM, a Korean entertainment company, has selected seven entertainers as the country’s leading artists and raised questions over the future direction of the country’s media industry in the face of AI and rapidly changing trends, it said, Monday.
In 2024 Visionary Awards and Open House at CJ ENM Center in western Seoul on Sunday, visionaries were selected from the fields of acting, webtoons, dance, K-pop and contents directing as they proved to be the most influential in their respective domains.
Lee Mi-kyoung, vice chairperson of the entertainment and media arm of CJ Group, said in a video message before receiving the award that K-content has met new challenges amid fast-changing trends in mass media and a worldwide economic downturn. To make Korean content more sustainable, diverse experiences should be shared among figures in various fields, she added.
The visionaries include webcomic artist Kang Full, Netflix series “Mask Girl” director Kim Yong-hoon, actor Ryu Seung-ryong from “Moving” on Disney+ and dancer Monika from all-female dance crew Prowdmon. Actress Uhm Jeong-hwa from the 2023 comedy film “Miss Fortune,” K-pop boy band Stray Kids and actress Song Hye-kyo from Netflix’s “The Glory” were also among the list.
“Being selected as a visionary doesn’t mean the end of their hard efforts. It instead means they should start pondering and challenging more about their creative careers,” the company’s CEO Koo Chang-gun said. “I hope this award will be the new beginning point of the new year for them to yield some productive discussions and propose a new vision for K-entertainment.”
Prior to the event, the company on Friday hosted the 2024 Visionary Conference to offer insights to its employees about the future of the country’s entertainment industry. The seminar broke down into sessions about trends, entertainment tech and inspiration.
Illustrator Baek Hee-na, the 2020 winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, joined the conference as a panelist and argued that AI cannot beat human creative ingenuity. She said her future creative content in picture books will focus on fantasies based on facts to stir readers’ sympathy.
The “Mask Girl” maker who also joined the conference said it was his “incorrigible courage” that opened doors and allowed him to create the series.
“Some people said I got lucky with ‘Mask Girl,'” Kim said. “But without courage, there is no luck. That’s how I dared to make a series where three different people acted as the same character.”