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KOFIC Prepares for COVID-19 Pandemic & Endemic Simultaneously

Jul 19, 2022
  • Writerby Kim Subin
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KOFIC News in 2022



The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has started to revive the Korean film industry, which has suffered from COVID-19 for 3 years. Since April, KOFIC has been implementing the 'Human Resources Support Project for Film Production to Overcome COVID-19' to create jobs in the domestic film festival industry and revitalize film production. The project supports the labor cost of 1,000 employees for up to 6 months at film companies that plan to produce films this year. The labor cost support period is 6 months from June to November, with a flat rate of 1.8 million won per person and up to five people per company.


The support is for all fields in the film industry except for the screening services. Based on the work promotion plan of the film project being prepared by the applied film companies this year, KOFIC comprehensively reviewed the facts of COVID-19 damage, the possibility of the film release, the validity and the suitability of the manpower operation plan, the business performance record, etc. With the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, KOFIC is also implementing 30.2 billion won worth of 'Movie Manpower Support Project' and 16.4 billion won worth of 'Special Support Project for Theaters' to spread watching movies through promoting Korean film releases. 


KOFIC also started to listen to the voices of filmmakers, which matters most. On April 15, KOFIC held a 'Debate on how to overcome the crisis in the Korean film industry' to examine the crisis and status faced by the Korean film industry. The 1st part of the debate was to share the difficulties faced by each field of the film industry, such as distribution, screening, and production, after COVID-19, and seek solutions. At the forum, everybody said in a chorus that the opportunity to overcome the crisis at this moment should not be lost not to repent of missing it later. At the forum, Kwak Sinae, CEO of Barunson E&A, stressed that if capital inputs are blocked, planning, investment distribution, and theaters will suffer as a whole, and that full support and care from various government ministries are needed to prevent it. The 2nd part of the debate focused on discussing the crisis of the independent art film ecosystem and the necessary coping with policy. Park Kiyong, Chairperson of KOFIC, said, "I fully agree with the opinion that realistic and active support policies are needed," expressing the need for a review and adjustment of the overall support project. 


On July 12th, KOFIC also held a forum on 'Suggestions for the Sustainable Future of Independent and Art Film Exclusive Halls' in cooperation with the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. The forum was organized to examine KOFIC's policy of supporting independent and artistic film theaters and find new policies that meet changes in audience consumption by deriving improvements. Won Seunghwan, Director of INDIE SPACE, presented the policy and operation status of supporting independent and artistic film theaters, and Professor Noh Chulhwan of the Department of Theater and Film at Inha University introduced examples of supporting independent and artistic film theaters abroad. During the heated discussions and presentations, KOFIC commissioner Kim Yiseok, who hosted the event, said that the alternatives from the discussion needed attention, and a lot of effort and interest should also be needed to connect the suggestions in the forum to policies. The suggestions of the forum will be reflected in the 'Research on the Status and Improvement Plan of the Operation Support Project for Independent and Art Film Exclusive Halls,' currently being conducted by KOFIC. Also, the study will contribute to the expansion of K-movie diversity by being used as business data to effectively support independent and artistic film theaters and to secure and increase stable support budgets.


K-Movie Night Opened in 3 Years 


K-Movie Night has come back after 3 years. K-Movie Night is an event to introduce Korean films and connect Korean and foreign filmmakers. KOFIC held a series of 'K-Movie Night' at the world's major film festivals, which were held for the first time in 3 years, meeting filmmakers and cineastes around the world through the event. 


First of all, 'K-Movie Night JEONJU 2022' was held at the Jeonju International Film Festival. More than 200 domestic and foreign filmmakers attended the event on April 29. A large number of Korean filmmakers, including Director Lee Changdong, the protagonist of the Special Presentation this year, and Director Shin Suwon, as well as lots of overseas film officials, including Programmer Roberto Cueto, a member of the San Sebastian International Film Festival Selection Committee, attended the event to prove their interest in K-Movie. 


The heat in Jeonju led to Cannes in France. KOFIC operated the Korean Film Center at the Festival de Cannes and held the Korea-France Round Table, and shone Cannes' night through K-Movie Night Cannes 2022 on May 21. The event, which began in memory of the late Actor Kang Sooyeon, introduced Korean films, including Decision to Leave and Broker. Many officials from major overseas film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, and Venice attended the event along with Korean filmmakers and actors, including Lee Jungjae and Jung Woosung of Hunt, Director Jung July of Next Sohee. Dominique Boutonnat, President of France's CNC, said, "Many Korean films were invited to the Festival de Cannes Film Festival. And France really loves Korean movies. I look forward to how Korean movies will develop further in the future." 


At the world-renowned Annecy International Animated Film Festival, K-Animation Night was held. Also, on June 14, KOFIC co-hosted K-Animation Night with the Bucheon International Animation Festival. Through the event, KOFIC has set the stage for future overseas exchange projects by forming a global network of Korean animation. This year, 4 Korean animated films such as Things That Disappear, Persona, 25 YEARS, and Chun Taeil were invited to Annecy, raising the status of K-animation.


On July 8, K-Movie Night Bucheon 2022 was held at the 26th BIFAN. Park Kiyong, Chairperson of KOFIC, said, "We need to restore the movie ecosystem as soon as possible so that K-Movie can fly on the global stage. KOFIC, the 'K-Movie Capital,' will take the lead for the work,“ opening the event. Amid a series of greetings from directors who participated in this year's BIFAN major programs and a special presentation, It goes on: 39+1, KAFA, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of KAFA next year, domestic and foreign filmmakers prayed for the soaring of Korean films with a toast, 'For Korean movies!' KOFIC will also host K-Movie Night at the Seoul Women's Film Festival in August and the Busan International Film Festival in October.


Ahead of Its 40th Anniversary, KAFA & Special Exhibition 


KOFIC's Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), which has served as a cradle for fostering Korean film talents, is set to mark its 40th anniversary. The 26th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) held a special presentation, It goes on: 39+1, KAFA, which reflects KAFA's 39-year history and conveys expectations for the future. The film festival said KAFA is always the closest place to the scene to discover future possibilities, adding, "We are looking forward to the beginning of a new talent to take charge of Korean films." In the special presentation taken place in the theaters all over Bucheon, not only 5 KAFA feature films such as After My Death, Socialphobia, and Climbing, which caused sensation whenever they were released, but also 12 short films were screened, selected by KAFA, the film festivals, and directors such as Boo Jiyoung, Jo Sunghee, and Jung Yumi


The response to the special presentation in the field was very enthusiastic. Most of the theaters where the films for the special presentation were screened were full. Also, in the 'KAFA Special Mega Talk' held in front of Bucheon City Hall on July 8, Joh Keunshik, Executive Director of KAFA, and some representative film directors from KAFA, including Park Heonsoo, Min Kyudong, and Kim Kyungyeon, participated as panels to communicate directly with the audience. Executive Director Joh of KAFA said, "I'm happy that KAFA, which celebrates its 40th anniversary next year, can meet the audience at the film festival this year. We will continue to work hard to cultivate talented people who lead the Korean film industry." Programmer Mo Eunyoung of BIFAN said, "We support the new image of KAFA with 40 years of history, which will be made by 39 years plus 1 more year. With 39+1, we hope that the time of the Korean Academy of Film Arts, which creates future talents, will continue and shine in the future." 


For the past 39 years, KAFA has created more than 700 core talented people in the Korean film industry, including directors such as Bong Joonho, Kim Taeyong, Choi Donghoon, and Jang Joonhwan, adding fresh energy to Korean films and leading the K-movie renaissance. Nowadays, a lot of KAFA films and filmmakers have been invited or awarded at major domestic and international film festivals and have been recognized for their skills. At the Berlin International Film Festival held earlier this year, 2 films made by KAFA directors were invited. The Apartment with Two Women, made by Director Kim Sein, a graduate of the 14th feature course of KAFA, and House of Existence, made by Director Jung Yumi, a graduate of the 21st feature animation course of KAFA, were officially invited to the Panorama and Short Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival, respectively. Director Hong Sungeun, a graduate of the 13th feature course of KAFA, won the grand prize at the 17th Osaka Asian Film Festival for Aloners. As a representative film school in Korea, KAFA's performance will continue after the 40th anniversary.

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