10 Days Press Release
Muui Announces 10 Days in Saigon, New Wheelchair Travel Series
SEOUL, South Korea, January 4, 2017 /Muui/
10 days. 10 friends. 1 city. 1 wheelchair.” This opening line from the 10 Days in Saigon trailer lays out the concept for a new video series by Muui—a Seoul-based social venture focused on disability and accessibility. “The 10-week web series follows a rotating cast of local residents traveling around Ho Chi Minh City with series creators Kunho Kim (producer) and Samuel R. Mendez (director). Each “Day” consists of a few episodes each week, which incorporate local perspectives of popular places in Saigon: each Day’s guest host tells the audience about their first impressions of the sites or their memories of them from their younger days. These episodes end with Kim/Mendez breaking down what makes each site wheelchair accessible (or not). Adding even more excitement to the series, some experimental episodes are interspersed throughout its 10-week run, highlighting unique aspects of Saigon, from Tet holiday celebrations to its hectic landscape of motorbike traffic.
Crafting a first-of-its-kind travel series, the 10 Days in Saigon creators worked hard to strike a balance between two realities: the lighthearted nature of a shared adventure with friends, and the barriers of built environments often not designed to be used by all people. This tension is captured in an interview with Kim from one of 10 Days’ later videos. Describing his motivation for taking on this project, Kim says, “I really want to recommend people in wheelchairs to explore Saigon. And I want to show them it is possible to get around Saigon in a wheelchair.” As an avid traveler who grew up partially in Saigon, Kim is intimately familiar with the city and wants to let others know about the great things it has to offer. However, Kim also acknowledges the barriers to travel in Saigon while noting, “Accessibility is not something that’s emphasized. A lot of buildings are not equipped with ramps or other features…”
An experimental animator and filmmaker, director Samuel R. Mendez’s goal with 10 Days was to create something never-before-seen. Images of people with disabilities in popular culture are often lacking or are accompanied with questionable messages of “inspiration”. Wanting to create an alternative to these images, Mendez chose to incorporate accessibility information and a wheelchair user’s point of view as simply another way of experiencing the city, just as he incorporates his own handheld camera footage with Kim’s wheelchair-mounted GoPro footage and the voices/stories of their local friends.
The official release date of 10 Days in Saigon is January 11, 2017, and it runs through the end of March. The series is being released on Muui’s YouTube and Facebook accounts, and its “Day 2” episodes have already been selected for inclusion in the international Travel FilmFest. The team behind the series aims to use this series to bolster their work of helping to change the environment around disability and accessibility.
Muui was founded in 2015 with a simple goal: to change today's conversation about disability. Muui specializes in creative productions and the highest quality media content in order to tackle negative stereotypes and the societal stigma around people with disabilities. The group members strive to produce work in many languages and locations because they believe accessibility is something that needs to be addressed universally. The group’s work so far includes: a wheelchair travel series about Seoul, a collaborative miniseries with ALT media in Busan, and a set of Seoul subway station transfer maps for wheelchair users.
About the 10 Days in Saigon Creators
Director Samuel R. Mendez, 24, is a Chicago native, independent filmmaker, public health researcher, and 2014 Harvard College graduate. He strives to incorporate digital media and creative processes into public health research to help cities promote the well being of all residents.
Producer Kunho Kim, 23, is in his third year at Harvard College, where he studies environmental science and public policy. He is the coauthor of a travel book about a wheelchair-accessible road trip through the US, and is a cofounder of Muui.