Pic accused of plagiarism by rival helmer

The foreign language Oscar race has kicked off with South Korea among the first countries to unveil its choice.

But its selection, helmer Kim Tae-gyun’s “Crossing” (Keurosing), a drama about a North Korean defector, has already caused controversy.

“Crossing,” produced by Camp B, has been accused of plagiarism by local helmer Lee Kwang-hoon, who has applied for an injunction preventing the film’s continued release. It began its Korean run June 5. Camp B denies the charge.

The Korean Film Council (Kofic) will select another contender if “Crossing” is found guilty when the issue comes to court in three weeks.

Pic beat four higher-profile contenders that had been shortlisted — “The Good the Bad the Weird,” “Forever the Moment,” “Sunny” and “The Chaser.”

The seven members of the jury assembled by Kofic said “Crossing” was the most appropriate contender “considering the characteristics of past winners and the traditional preferences of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.” Jury also considered its potential for distribution and commercial success in the U.S..

The Academy has invited 96 countries to submit films for foreign-language Oscar consideration. Deadline for submission is Oct. 1, the nominations will be announced Jan. 22, and the award ceremony takes place on Feb. 22.

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