The move comes a day after the inauguration of Moon Jae-in as South Korea’s new president. Among Moon’s campaign promises was a shakeup of the film council.
Kim had been accused of embezzling public money and of colluding with Korea’s disgraced former President Park Geun-hye, who wanted the film industry to serve her nationalist agenda.
KOFIC, which is the leading regulator and financier of the Korean film industry, was seen to have slashed its financing of the Busan International Film Festival for political reasons and to have unfairly handled support programs for art-house cinema.
“I apologize for failing to protect the film industry from absurdities. Feeling deeply responsible, I would like to resign from my post,” Kim said in a statement. “Although I did my best by explaining and giving legal, administrative grounds, it was not enough.”
Last December, eight film industry groups filed charges against Kim and held protests calling for his resignation and detention.
Despite the stance of Moon and the local industry, the Ministry of Culture is unlikely to immediately accept Kim’s resignation, as KOFIC is currently being audited. Kim’s three-year term is scheduled to end Dec. 30.
Kim was recommended for the post by Kim Jong-deok, a former culture minister who is now under arrest in connection with his involvement in compiling the government’s blacklist of culture industry figures.