Koreans mum on quotas

Silent protest speaks in volumes

CANNES — The South Korean film industry’s protests against the screen quotas moves to Cannes’ red carpet today.

Protests against the government’s January decision to halve the quota, which forces the country’s theaters to unspool local pics, echo the demonstrations that have taken place in South Korea and which attempted to grab the media spotlight at the Berlin festival in February.

Mobilized by the Coalition for Diversity in Moving Images, “Old Boy” star Choi Min-shik will head a delegation of bizzers that will hold a Korean-style silent protest in front of the Palais des Festivals ahead of tonight’s “The Da Vinci Code” preem.

Other delegates in Cannes for the protest include former PiFan Festival programmer and helmer Kim Hong-joon, Choi Yong-bae, prexy of production shingle Chungeorahm (“The Host”) and CDMI’s Yang Ki-hwan. Demo will be followed by a news conference Thursday and from Friday three days of street campaigns, a candle-light vigil on Saturday and a Franco-Korean symposium on culture at risk. Dates coincide with Un Certain Regard screenings of “The Unforgiven” and Directors Fortnight bow of “The Host.”

The quotas currently require South Korean movie theaters to show local movies for 146 days a year. Under pressure to sign a bilateral trade treaty with the U.S., the government is halving the number from June.

Country’s film industry contends that the quotas are necessary to protect a sector that is still young and developing. It argues that the government acted against the local film industry and in favor of Hollywood.

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