Hello, Hallyu fans—we're back to put the spotlight on another Filipino making a name for himself in the Korean entertainment industry. Meet Nash Ang, a Filipino based in South Korea who wears many hats. He's a filmmaker, an actor, and a tech-social entrepreneur.
The multi-hyphenate has been living in South Korea since 2011. In 2010, he visited the country for the first time when he was invited to the DMZ International Film Festival for his film, Water Ghetto. It was in this event where he met someone, and the thought of applying for a scholarship for further studies crossed his mind.
The next thing he knew, he was admitted to the Korea National University Of Arts as a scholar, where he pursued his Masters in Filmmaking.
In 2019, Nash organized the Korea Pinoy International Film Festival, the first Filipino film fest in South Korea. His goal was to open doors and provide opportunities for Pinoys to collaborate with Korean directors and actors. Currently, he's producing a documentary series featuring Filipinos abroad, in cooperation with the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
Also in 2019, Nash joined the cast of the Netflix drama Arthdal Chronicles. If you remember, Filipino fans were so surprised to hear a character speak in Tausug, and you guys, the actor is no other than Nash himself! (READ: )
Aside from filmmaking and acting, Nash is also an entrepreneur. He founded a start-up company called PS Media Enterprise, which developed Pinoy Store, a mobile app where you can buy Filipino items in South Korea. He's also the person behind Pinoy Seoul, a media portal that provides relevant info to Pinoys in SoKor, and to those who are interested in the Korean culture. Nash shares that one of his goals is to connect the Philippines and South Korea through social inclusion that advocates cultural awareness.
In an exclusive email interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Nash shared his experiences about studying in South Korea, his passion for filmmaking, and what it was like working with with Song Joong Ki:
You took up Masters in Film at the Korea National University Of Arts—what was it like studying in a different country?
The experience is like something out of K-dramas! You get to see new surroundings, talk to different people, and experience snow for the first time. But as time went by, I felt the struggles of living overseas. The first challenge would be the language. I would do hand gestures, facial expressions, and other body movements to convey my thoughts. The second would be the climate. It was winter season when I settled in here, and I got sick and was hospitalized. The scholarship coordinator even suggested that I should go back to the Philippines and delay my studies, but of course, I said no to that!
What can you say is the difference between our local film industry and South Korea's?
They have the technology, and we all know that South Korea is one of the leading countries when it comes to gadgets. This is incorporated in how they work in their local film industry, and it reflects in the quality of the K-dramas and movies we see. On the other hand, what I love about the Philippines' film industry is that we are so resourceful. We can utilize a lot of things around us and transform them into objects that are not just useful, but also award-worthy.
How many films have you directed both in South Korea and the Philippines? What's the most memorable for you?
I've directed numerous documentaries and short films for the past decade as a director. The most memorable would be the first-ever Korean-Filipino feature film I directed, Seoul Mates. It was a part of the Cinema One Originals Film Festival in 2014. The cast members include Ji Soo and Seoul Mates is his first leading role in a full-length movie. After that project, he gained recognition, and is now considered an A-lister. I'm glad that as a Filipino, I contributed to his success in the Korean entertainment industry.
You've appeared in a number of K-dramas and movies—what's your favorite project so far? How did you end up being cast?
My favorite project as an actor would be Reset (2021), a masterpiece by Choi Jinyoung. It's a film that doesn't use a single spoken word and there are two lead characters, including me and another Korean actor. In Reset, we communicate through visual wall art and a set of hand-drawn images which makes it a unique movie. I was cast when the director sent me a DM through Instagram, and we found out that we were actually neighbors in Itaewon! When we first met, the director discussed his concept and I was instantly hooked with the unorthodox concept. This film is still in the works and we recorded it in the midst of the pandemic.
What was it like working with Song Joong Ki in Arthdal Chronicles?
I was with him for a week when we filmed near the DMZ, the boundary of South Korea and North Korea. The weather was freezing cold (it was around -20 degrees!) at that time and I was only wearing slippers! There was one scene where water was splashed onto my face. After the director said “Cut!”, Song Joong Ki approached me, gave me heat pads, tapped me on the shoulder, and said “Good job!" He's that nice on the set. Being a cast member of Arthal Chronicles is a one-of-a-kind experience because of its thematic concept. Getting my hands and feet tied while being dragged by horses felt like I was really held captive in an ancient kingdom.
You're an actor, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. How do you manage your time?
The pandemic has made artists, in general, less busy compared to before. As an entrepreneur, I work from home. When there are roles that fit me, my agency would call me. I finish my tasks before going to the shoot. Time is more manageable now with the social distancing measures and restrictions.
If you can work on your next Korean film, what genre would it be? Which Korean celebrities would you cast?
If I ever have a chance to direct a Korean feature film again, I would like it to be well-financed and without budget constraints. With the proper resources, I can cast more celebrities in any genre. Next time, I would like to do a rom-com starring Korean celebrities who are popular in the Philippines, like Sandara Park.
*Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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