KOFIC response to global petition

2010-02-04 - chong

After global petition to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), it released a public letter to explain the fact and situation. It explained that it conducted a public tender to find a managing team for the Media Center in 2009, instead of appointing MediACT as the operator. However, considering MediACT's 7 years of experience and 300-pages planning document, some critics still questioned the fairness of the procedure. The formal response from MediACT is yet to be seen. But some independent people already raise some issues and questions. For example, why is a new management team able to oust MediACT who had been running the center for 7 years.

The public letter by KOFIC is shown as below:


Dear members of international film/media community,

Regard to the recent change of the operating team for KOFIC’s Media Center, we respect and appreciate your opinions on it. We, KOFIC would humbly like to explain the fact and situation on this subject to help your understandings.

KOFIC established the Media Center in 2002 under the consultation with independent filmmakers in Korea, in the purpose to support them with better facilities and education of its usages. We consider that our former operating team has executed well and have highly performed to manage our Media Center into a superior level over the past years. Since the establishment of the center, our policy to appoint the operating team was to continue the contract between us and the designated agent. Although we have maintained this policy, the contract was to be renewed annually.

However, becoming of 2009, the Korean government (Ministry of Culture & Tourism) had considered contracting with the same agent (or team) for many years without any assessment is not a fair policy for other agents in the industry. Therefore KOFIC was advised to consider the change of system into a public offering so that any group or agent can apply for the operation of the Media Center. We saw this would be more fair policy for the filmmakers. And as the contracted term for our former group has ended as of December 31, 2009, we have opened a public offering to find the managing team for our Media Center. Through an impartial, fair process, the assessment for the applied members has been held, and followed by its result a new agent became the operating team for our
Media Center for one year (2010). We believe that our process has been fair enough for all the applicants and it is true that we did not close down the Center nor dismissed the staffs. We understand that this change might seem abrupt decision in the international community but it is certain fact that it was a long time process and KOFIC has been discussing this matter with the film community inside Korea.

We sincerely hope you to understand the situation and we assure you that KOFIC will continue to do our best to support our independent filmmakers and media communication industry people as we have always done so. However, we will listen carefully of your concerns and would work hard to avoid any troubles that might appear cause of our new changes. Once again, we appreciate your opinion on our issue and hope you to keep having attention to our works.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

CHO Hee-moon,
Korean Film Council (KOFIC)

23 2月12:54

Independent film directors

By oiwan

Independent film directors protest KOFIC decision..

Some 155 directors who signed a boycott statement(*) say they cannot allow their films to be screened in theaters to be managed by the KOFIC-appointed ADKF

Independent film directors are sharply criticizing the outcome of the selection process for the new managers of the independent film theater IndieSpace and MediACT Media Center programs. Some are saying that a biased selection process has resulted in a government push to hand management rights to pro-government groups.

A press conference for “One Hundred Independent Filmmakers Opposed to the Unfair Independent Film Theater Management Selection” took place Thursday afternoon at Neutinamu Hall in the basement of the People’s Solidarity for a Participatory Democracy (PSPD) headquarters in the Tongin neighborhood of Seoul’s Jongno district. The eight directors in attendance included Lee Chung-ryul, whose film “Old Partner” set a monumental box office record by drawing three million viewers last year, and Yang Ik-june, whose “Breathless” elevated the standing of Korean independent film as it swept through acclaimed world film festivals. Some 155 independent directors signed a boycott statement saying that they could not allow their films to be screened at IndieSpace, a theater now managed by the Association for Diversity in Korean Film (ADKF), which was selected through the recent screening to manage the independent film theater program.

Lee said, “I came here not because my views or ideas differ from those of the current administration or the Korean Film Council, but simply because I feel that there has been a recent string of events that I cannot understand in common sense terms.” Lee also noted that last-place finishers in the first selection process for the independent film theater and MediACT project managers came in first in the second selection process. Lee added, “This is not suited to the Lee Myung-bak administration and its talk about efficiency.” Lee said the developing situation is “like watching some low comedy.”

Yang said, “Over the decade of my involvement in independent film, I have been learning bit by bit what independent film is.” However, he commented that the people selected to manage the programs “are people I do not know at all, and I have no way of knowing how they intend to run the independent film theater program or MediACT.”

Yang added, “It is ironic that creators, who should be encountering viewers through their films, instead show their faces before the media like this; it shows how constricted the windpipe of our culture is.” Yang said that current administration “is making someone like me, who did not even know what ruling and opposition parties were, read up on society.”

IndieSpace, the independent film theater program and MediACT are projects that were proposed to the government by the Association of Korean Independent Film and Video (KIFV) after more than a decade of preparation and discussions. Until last year, the projects were entrusted to the KIFV by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). However, in 2009 KOFIC announced that it was switching to a competitive selection system, and after failing to be selected as project managers during the first competition, ADKF and the Institute for Citizen Visual Culture (ICVC), were selected respectively to operate IndieSpace and MediACT during the second competitive selection process in January.