Meet Nash Ang, the Filipino actor seen in the ongoing Korean historical drama, Arthdal Chronicles, starring Halyu star Song Joong Ki.
Nash Ang is currently in the Philippine news headlines after Filipino viewers of the TVN drama, touted as the Korean Game of Thrones, recognized a Philippine-sounding language being spoken by Korean actors.
Nash Ang is actually a multiawarded filmmaker who is currently in South Korea on a scholarship for advanced studies in filmmaking. Ang is the prime mover behind the 1st Korea Pinoy International Film Festival slated to happen in September.
Ang is in fact a social entrepreneur behind many digital platforms including the Pinoy Store, a sari-sari store online servicing Filipino migrant workers in Korea.
Good News Pilipinas interviewed Nash Ang before he was to appear for the first time with Song Joong Ki on Arthdal Chronicles.
PINOY FILMMAKER IN KOREA
GOOD NEWS PILIPINAS (GNP): You moved to Korea in 2012 on a scholarship to study the arts and filmmaking. Why did you decide to move and stay in South Korea up to now?
NASH ANG (NA): I graduated major in broadcasting at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and was actively organizing art activities, practiced digital marketing and built online communities as a hobby. I threw away all the things I started and moved to Korea when I was accepted as a recipient of masters in film at the Korea National University of Arts in year 2012. I felt unique.
One of the reasons that I stay here in Korea is because of the lack of strong Filipino representation in both Korean entertainment and social entrepreneurship.
GNP: What is the appeal of moviemaking in South Korea compared to the Philippines where you made documentary films?
NA: My major in Korea is Masters in Filmmaking – Major in Directing. Korea gave me an opportunity to enhance my filmmaking skills. Who doesn’t want a fully funded scholarship? This made a way for me to enhance my talent and also to expand my network and understanding about life.
GNP: Among your many awards and recognitions in filmmaking, which ones are most valuable to you as a Filipino in Korea?
NA: When I restarted my life in Korea focusing on filmmaking, I continued to make socially relevant films. The best, most valuable one is when I won the Best Director Award at the 13th Pyongyang International Film Festival 2012 at Pyongyang, North Korea. Visiting the other side of Korea is an opportunity that even South Koreans themselves cannot achieve themselves. And not only that, I was able to carry a trophy when I went back home.
GNP: What was your best experience in creating and screening Seoul Mates as the first Filipino-Korean co-produced film?
NA: Being able to make the first ever Korean-Filipino feature film is a fresh experience. Most of the actors and staff are Koreans and everything is filmed in Korea. I started developing Seoul Mates as a short film in 2013 and it finally came to the big screen in November 2014 in the Philippines though Cinema One Film Festival. A PAL video featuring Filipino achievers across the world released on June 2015 featured the film.
GNP: Please tell us about the upcoming Filipino film festival in Korea that you are organizing.
In filmmaking, I think I achieved most of the things I want to. My documentary entitled “PARAISO” won as The Best Film Award in 21st Cine Eco Film Festival 2015 in Portugal. Continually living my life as a filmmaker garnered me two “Ani ng Dangal” awards in year 2012 and year 2016. Ani ng Dangal is a government recognition given by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under the Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
The first ever Filipino Film Festival in Korea, Korea Pinoy Film Festival is one of the initiatives I want to do to give back to the community where I came from. The 3-day event in Seoul is part of the celebration of 100 years of Philippine Cinema as proclaimed by President Rodrigo Duterte. The films will be presented with discussions with the directors, actors, producers and professionals in the entertainment industry and participation of Philippine Embassy of Korea, Filam Creatives of Los Angles, Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea, the Filipino community of South Korea and Koreans who have interest on Philippine arts and culture.
The Film Festival will take place on September 27-29 at Arirang Cinema Center, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul. Seongbuk district has great access to the Daehangno entertainment area, a popular meeting spot for Filipinos that has a weekly “Little Manila” Hyehwa flea market. If you are in the town on that time, come and visit us!
GNP: You are working with 3 Filipino service platforms – Pinoy Seoul, Dance Pinoy, Pinoy California – how do you manage to balance your filmmaking with managing these?
NA: These are online media portals managed by OBRA Incorporated. As part of the organization’s mission to unite overseas Filipinos, OBRA Incorporated founded online communities that provide support, useful information, and opportunities for Filipinos worldwide. I founded this organization way back year 2007 with a vision to unite overseas Filipinos though arts as the medium of communication.
GNP: Your Pinoy Store online is described as a sari sari store. Why did you get into this project?
Pinoy Store is an online e-commerce platform that provides Filipino products to migrant workers living in South Korea. The platform is developed and managed by people behind Pinoy Seoul. Similar to Lazada or Alibaba, we don’t source the products ourselves and we partner with a local distributor in Korea.
We just launched this service this May 2019 and currently in rounds of technical tests and market research. In fact, we just released an android application which you can download here.
If this goes well in Korea, we may soon expand our services to other countries like Japan and United States.
GNP: How do you balance your two identities – filmmaker and social entrepreneur?
NA: As for my priorities these days, let’s just say being a social entrepreneur is my day job and me as a filmmaker is my night job. You can do both things without distracting from the other. Instead, it’s a complementary thing for both sides.
GNP: To what do you credit your many successes as a filmmaker and social entrepreneur?
NA: First, is to my inner self to have such an optimistic point of view on most things. I always challenge negative thoughts because these are based on our own fears, doubts and self esteem. The failure itself isn’t what makes us unhappy, our reaction to them is. While we can’t change what happened before, we can change our response to what happened. These failures become a challenge to make myself better not only as a filmmaker and social entrepreneur, but as a human being.
Secondly, to my family and friends who are always there encouraging me to pursue my dreams. Thank you for helping me reach my goals and support me when I make new ones, no matter how impossible it is, it happens though the power of positivity!
Finally, is to the universe that made these mountains to success. What I can say is, it’s up to the person’s creativity and motives on how he can climb the mountain, or what mountain he will climb. It’s hard, but you need to be positive. To help you stay feeling optimistic, you need to surround yourself with positive minded people to appreciate what good in life in general. This also applies to other influences such as your hobby, movies and doing businesses. Pray, surround yourself with positive minded people and see the effect it has on your state of mind.
NASH ANG AND ARTHDAL CHRONICLES
GNP: What is your role on Arthdal Chronicles?
NA: I’m part of the new TV series starring Song Jongki as the leader of Wabi Tribe. My role is more than a cameo, but not a supporting cast.
Wabi is a tribe located on the southern part of the mythical land of Arth where it is typically warmer compared to the north; where ancient city of Arthdal is located. It also speaks a different language. Interestingly, the tribe speaks in “Tausug”, an indigenous language from Mindanao.
Off the screen, Wabi tribe was attacked by the people from the north and its members were captured as slaves, that includes my character. My story starts when we are being transported to the city of Arthdal and about to be rescued by Eunsom, the character of Song Jongki.
GNP: How did you get to be involved in the series?
NA: My talent manager recommended me to be part of the project. She is also the reason why I am a cast of other Korean dramas such as Cheo Yong starring Oh Jiho and The Undateables starring Hwang Jungeum.
Aside of being an actor in the series, the production team asked me to translate some dialogues to indigenous languages from the southern part of the Philippines. Aside from Tausug featured in this Korean drama, “Yakan” is also featured in some conversations. Minemorize talaga iyon ng mga Korean actors.
GNP: What more can we look forward to you as an actor on kdramas?
NA: Better not to look forward and just be surprised. Specially these days most of my roles are cameos na bigla na lang ako susulpot. I’m typically typecasted sa mga kinakawawang roles. Even here on a historical drama like Arthdal Chronicles, I’m casted as a slave. Ang wish lang there will be bigger roles that I can work with. I am more than willing to do that with determination, effort and hardwork.
Well, kahit I often portray small roles, I’m still thankful kasi that’s more than enough opportunity for a Pinoy to part ng Korean entertainment. Isipin mo may nagtatagalog pala sa Korean drama.
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