Filmmaker-turned-administrator Oh Seok-geun has been appointed chairman of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), South Korea’s film industry regulator and funding body. The position had been vacant for six months following the resignation in dubious circumstances of Kim Sae-hoon.
Oh takes up the post with immediate effect, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism. He has a three-year term running until January 2021.
The council has been buffeted by the political and economic scandals that led to the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. As a result, Oh will have to rebuild bridges and help KOFIC regain the trust of the industry.
Oh directed 1993 film “The 101st Proposal” and then became GM of the Busan festival before directing “Love Is a Crazy Thing” in 2005. In 2010 he co-produced Korea-Japan-Thailand co-production “Camellia,” which was the closing film of the Busan festival that year. Oh subsequently became director of the Busan Film Commission, which has played a leading role in Asia.
“We put emphasis on appointing the [right] figure with experiences and abilities to bring together and communicate with the film industry as well as to solve pending issues,” said the Ministry. “We expect that [Oh’s] appointment will help re-establish KOFIC’s role and status which have been tarnished by the ‘blacklist,’ as well as solve industry’s pending issues.”
Kim was accused of embezzling public money and of colluding with Park’s regime. Park and her associates interfered in film policy and operated a secret list of cultural industry talent who were denied public funding because of their political views. Kim resigned in May, a day after the inauguration of current president Moon Jae-in.