You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Korean Film Council Apology Reveals Devastating Extent of Blacklist Policy

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has admitted to being involved in some 56 cases where artists, whose names appeared on a government blacklist, were denied public funding.

The revelation came on Wednesday as the new chairman of KOFIC Oh Seok-geun read out a letter of apology to the film industry. The cases were unearthed by a Ministry of Culture and Sport fact-finding commission.

Both the previous minister of culture and a senior advisor to Korea’s previous president Park Geun-hye have been jailed for assembling the blacklist. The existence of the secret list, which ran to over 10,000 targeted individuals who did not share Park’s politics, was a significant contributor to Park’s impeachment.

Oh detailed how KOFIC had colluded with the government, and revealed for the first time that the policy extended not only to Park’s regime. It also collaborated with the regime of previous president Lee Myung-bak.

“Under the past two governments, KOFIC had been involved in creating the ‘blacklist’ of cultural industry talent and discriminating and excluding them [from support programs],” said Oh. “In 2009, KOFIC unfairly intervened in a number of support programs’ selection processes and employed expedients to select the beneficiaries, following the Blue House (office of the president) guidelines.”

Oh said government authorities issued guidelines to KOFIC in 2009, listing what filmmakers were proscribed from when applying for KOFIC support. KOFIC then reported back the names of disqualified filmmakers and companies, and let the government make final decisions.

The list included individual filmmakers and communities who participated in the mass anti-government protests or were considered “progressive.” Also targeted were films classified as “problematic” by the Blue House because they addressed themes including labor, the Sewol ferry disaster, national security laws, or sexual minorities. It hit companies, festivals and theaters that produced, distributed or screened those films. The screening of documentary “The Truth Shall Not Sink with Sewol,” at the 2015 Busan festival sparked a schism within the industry from which it is only now recovering.

Oh promised further investigation, compensation for victims, and new policies to prevent a recurrence. He also suggested that KOFIC, which is both industry regulator and film financier, may halt investment through its use of the fund of funds top-up mechanism.

“Film financing is now so market-driven now that it may no longer be our role to intervene. Our task force was skeptical whether KOFIC’s investments through the Fund of Funds actually causes trickle down effect for small films,” said Kim Hyun-soo, KOFIC’s director of planning and coordination.

Oh said that he will steer KOFIC to become a pan-Asian film industry-support organization; seek to make Korea the hub of the Asian film industry; and set up a production guarantee fund to revitalize mid to low budget Korean film productions.

More Film

  • Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Honored

    Thierry Frémaux, José Luis Rebordinos Named Honorary Argentine Academy Members

    BUENOS AIRES — In a ceremony just before Friday’s prize announcements at Ventana Sur, Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, were named honorary members of Argentina’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in a new move for the Academy, out through by its new president, Bernardo [...]

  • Nona

    Film Review: 'Nona'

    Twenty years and 12 features down the line, it’s still hard to peg the directorial sensibility of Michael Polish, with or without the presence of brother Mark as frequent co-writer and actor. His output has been all over the place, from early Lynchian quirkfests to the very middle-of-the-road inspirational dramedy “The Astronaut Farmer,” not to [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Wins for Best Film, Director at European Film Awards

    “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white romance set in the 1950s, scooped the prizes for best film, director and screenplay at the 31st edition of the European Film Awards on Saturday. “Cold War” star Joanna Kulig also won the award for best actress. Marcello Fonte, the star of Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” won for best actor. Armando Iannucci’s [...]

  • The Favourite Bohemian Rapsody Star is

    The Best Movie Scenes of 2018

    When we think back on a movie that transported us, we often focus on a great scene — or maybe the greatest scene — in it. It’s natural. Those scenes are more than just defining. They can be the moment that lifts a movie into the stratosphere, that takes it to the higher reaches of [...]

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    Box Office: 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Soars Toward $35-40 Million Debut

    “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is swinging into theaters on a high note. Sony-Marvel’s latest output is launching to $42 million from 3,813 North American locations in its debut, though other more conservative estimates place that number at $35.5 million. The animated superhero story picked up $12.6 million on Friday, easily leading the pack for the weekend. [...]

  • Ventana Sur : Cinema226 Closes Four

    Cinema226 Announces Four Intl. Co-Productions, Hints at More (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexico’s Cinema226, run by Marco Antonio Salgado and Sam Guillén, is driving into a raft of Mexico, Argentina and Spain co-productions, playing off the current vibrancy of Mexican film production funding and distribution outlets. Among the projects are titles which have been standouts at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, the next film by Mexico-based Argentine filmmaker [...]

  • Ventana Sur Debates Gender Parity in

    Ventana Sur Debates Gender’s 50/50 in 2020 for Argentina Film Industry

    BUENOS AIRES — Despite recent gains, namely the equality pledge towards 50/50-2020 signed at the Mar del Plata Film Festival on Nov. 12, producer Magalí Nieva, pointed out that no representative from INCAA was present following the apparent resignation of its vice-president Fernando Juan Lima. “We are left without an interlocutor to discuss gender policies [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content