Brandmaker Profile features people and their work, on both the creative and the business side of branding, advertising and marketing in Asia.
Name: Sungmo Kang
Title: Director of Mo Pictures/Filmmaker
Current location: Seoul
School: Hongik University
Current gig: I’m my own boss
First project in your field: A clip for KFHI
Most recent: TV spot for channel EBS
Awards and accolades: Film project ‘One Liter for Life’ was featured by several major media outlets including the Huffington Post.
Website you visit most: www.vimeo.com
Book you think everyone must read: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Your obituary in 50 words or less: “He was grateful for his life, and hopes to see all you guys on the other side!”
Born, raised and educated in Seoul, South Korea, filmmaker Sungmo Kang is the founder of creative production firm Mo Pictures –a Seoul-based group that operates under a simple mission statement: “We inspire people with dreams and hopes for the better good.”
This mission has led Kang and his team to work with organizations such as Save the Children, the Korean-based NGO, KFHI and others who, like Kang, seek the better good through service to the international community.
In 2013, Kang and Mo Pictures earned international acclaim for their highly-popular split-screen clip documenting a day in the life of Korean actor Im Ji-kyu and a young, impoverished girl in Cambodia.
Produced for the Korean NGO Korean Food for Hungry International, the touching 2-minute short (see below) centers around the importance of clean water. Critics, as well as major media outlets, applauded not only the unique cinematography, but the beauty of the artistry’s underlying message.
Along with an impressive portfolio of creative commercial work including Jansport and Epson, Kang also worked with Save the Children on the wonderfully clever film, Stitch Hat Campaign – Look for the hands of Miracles, which documents the journey of two hats that were donated to charity trying to find their way back to the hands that made them.
Kang spoke with us from his office in Seoul.
What kind of brief or project do you enjoy working on most?
I think it’s all the same for everyone, but projects that give me a free hand are the ones I enjoy working on the most. Clients who do not interfere with the means of expression. Those are the clients I prefer.
Adding to that, myself and my staff mostly enjoy working the analog way, making props with our own hands.
In your field, what are some similarities and differences you’ve seen between branding and marketing in Korea and in the west?
It’s mostly similar. But there is one difference; it’s that most of the time Korea is still just bent on imitating what is happening in the West. If it worked in the Western world, Koreans will just blindly copy it. I think we still have a long way to go to be original and creative.
“I think it’s all the same for everyone, but projects that give me a free hand are the ones I enjoy working on the most –Clients who do not interfere with the means of expression.”
You can spend the day with anyone in your field.
Who? Why Where?
Technically, we are a filmmaking company, so if you could say film is also kind of our field, I would have to say Wes Anderson, the film director. I’m a huge fan of his. I really like his touch and his sense of humor. His studio would be a good place to hang out.
What are some productivity tools you simply can’t live without?
My iPad. It’s a lot easier to browse through Pinterest (where I get a lot of inspiration) and because of it’s mobility it’s a lot easier to share ideas with colleagues.
Another one is my iPhone. We need to record foley sounds for our projects from time to time, and quite a few times it was much easier to record it with our iPhones than heavy recording equipment.
What is your current passion outside of work?
I like riding my bicycle. But recently, I’m into interior design. I haven’t had many opportunities to try it, but moving into a new office and all, I’ve had a chance to research and study the field. And I really am attracted to it. My office looks real nice.
One Liter for Life: Water is Life (2013)
Actor: Lim ji kyu
Zaps Outdoor Mist – TV Spot (2015)
Project type: Film production/Animation
Animation: Park Mijae
Stitch Hat Campaign – Look for the hands of Miracles (2014)
Client: Save the children
Art: Sumi Rho
Score: Simply Acoustic by Andrew G
Notes: “Twin hats have come a long way from Mali to Korea. They’ve come to find the hands that made them. This video was made for the eighth season of the hat-knitting campaign launched by Save the Children.”
Pictures of Myself (2015)
“I’ve been on a personal project where I take pictures of myself everyday in my parking lot before I go to work. It’s been a year now, and here’s what it looks like!”
One Fine Day (2014)
Client: Film Forum
Assistant Director: Present
Actor: Lim ji kyu
Score: One moment in time by Olive Misuque
The making of One Fine Day
Epson TVCF Printer (2015)
Assistant Director: Present
Special Effect: Jong ok
You can see much more of Sungmo Kang and his team’s work on their website: www.mopictures.co.kr
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