The Jeonju International Film Festival has appointed leading art-house producer Lee Joon-dong (“Burning”) as its director. The festival is usually regarded as the second most significant in South Korea, behind Busan.
The appointment was announced on Wednesday by Kim Seung-su, chairman of the festival’s organizing committee. It follows several months of internal discord and the resignation of three senior programmers last month.
Kim Young-jin, Lee Sang-yong and Jang Byeong-won, who had led festival as a programming team since 2015, said their departure was in response to political interference by the local authorities.
Lee, who will enjoy a three-year mandate, is CEO of Nowfilm and Pinehouse Film, the company behind many of the films by Lee Chang-dong. Lee has production credits on “Poetry” and “Oasis” by Lee Chang-dong, as well as on “Hwayi: A Monster Boy,” “A Brand New Life,” and “The Mermaid.” He is also a former vice-chairman of Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and former vice chairman of the Korean Film Producers Association.
“We will continue our efforts to preserve the unique identity of Jeonju International Film Festival,” while expressing his ambition,” said Lee in a prepared statement. Next year’s festival will be held for 10 days from April 30 to May 9, 2020.
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“After former festival director Lee Chung-jik left in June, the festival committee recommended executive programmer Kim Young-jin as the new head. The majority of the board of directors, which is the festival’s decision-making body (and is controlled by the city), opposed the appointment,” said the three departed programmers in a widely-circulated statement from last month.