Korean Film Council Appoints Kim Young-jin as Chairman

Patrick Frater
·2 min read

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has appointed academic and critic Kim Young-jin as its new chairman. He replaces Oh Seok-geun who reached the end of his three-year term on Jan. 7, 2021.

Kim previously worked at Film 2.0 magazine and at Cine21 as critic and senior editor. He was subsequently an executive programmer at the prestigious Jeonju International Film Festival. He is currently a professor at the Myongji University and vice-chair of KOFIC.

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Because he is already under KOFIC contract, Kim’s term will run only until Jan 2022 instead of the normal three years. His contract is then eligible to be renewed.

Kim will have the task of helping to revive the Korean film industry. The Korean entertainment industry had been riding high, with K-pop, TV dramas and film all achieving unprecedented international success, up until early 2020. The year began well with “Parasite” winning Oscar acclaim, but the coronavirus epidemic did not spare Korea. Cinemas are currently operating at minimal capacity, new releases have all but been halted and box office for 2020 tumbled by 73% in local currency terms.

“We will seek practical support measures to overcome these difficult times.. and will focus our capabilities to present a blueprint that actively responds to the rapidly reorganized film industry,” said Kim in a statement.

KOFIC was established in 1973 as a public institution under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Its role is “to improve the quality of Korean films and promote them and the film industry,” which in practice means it has regulatory, finance and promotion functions.

Filmmaker and Busan-based administrator Oh was appointed in 2018 for what was then a healing role. KOFIC had been buffeted by the political and economic scandals that led to the impeachment of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Oh’s predecessor Kim Sae-hoon resigned in dubious circumstances in May 2017 after being 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.

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