For First Time, Chinese Drama Wins “Best Creative” Award at South Korea’s International Film Festival

Chinese suspense series “The Bad Kids“ won two prizes at the Asia Contents Awards unit of the 25th Busan International Film Festival.

The series, originally produced by Chinese online entertainment platform iQIYI, Inc., won the Best Creative award. It is the first time a Chinese TV series has won this honor. And Rong Zishan, the series’ child star who plays the protagonist in the drama, won the Newcomer Actor award.

A 12-episode suspense drama, “The Bad Kids” tells a story of the web of consequences among different families after three children accidentally filmed a murder. Since its debut in June, it has earned wide praise for its plot, casting, soundtrack and pacing.

A huge hit in China, the series achieved the most daily view counts during the summer. It’s currently rated 8.9 out of 10 by over 800,000 people on Douban, an influential Chinese social media platform known for its movie and TV show reviews.

“The Bad Kids”, whose Chinese name translates to “Hidden Corners”, is one of the drama series among iQIYI’s Dense Fog Unit, a suspense drama series unit launched in the second quarter this year. It contains six short suspense series, aiming to enhance audience’s watching experience by switching from usually over 40 episodes per season to around 10 episodes.

“We are trying to implement new ideas,” said Dai Ying, vice president at iQIYI who heads the company’s original drama division at the awards ceremony. “It will be our privilege if you can remember the three little children who came into our world and inspired us to think this summer. Thank you for everyone’s love for this show.”

Industry insiders commented that iQIYI’s move also cultivates an upstream and downstream industry chain with platform as the core. The three shifts of the week, the co-branding promotion of offline brands and the series, and the advertising relevant to the plot are all new attempts in the online drama industry.

The winning of The Bad Kids this year marks a new milestone for Chinese drama series’ entrance into the global market, according to iQIYI. “Chinese streaming platforms are increasingly capable of producing original productions of international standards. This represents a growing phenomenon of Chinese productions ‘going global,” according to a statement from iQIYI.

The Asia Contents Awards, newly established last year, is an award presented by the Busan International Film Festival, which is held from Oct. 21 to Oct. 30 in Busan, South Korea. The Awards recognizes outstanding drama series, as well as talented producers, writers and actors, from diverse platforms that have been released in the past year throughout Asia.

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Other drama series that were nominated for the Best Creative Award include Netflix’s Crash Landing On You, JTBC’s The World of the Married and Taiwan CTV’s Someday or One Day.

Mr. Sunshine, a drama series directed by South Korean screenwriter Kim Eun-sook, was last year’s recipient of the Best Creative award of the Asia Contents Awards. The series became the highest-rated Korean cable drama in TVN’s history with an 8.9 rating and scored an 8.9 on Douban in China.