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Korean Government Blacklist Angers Top Filmmakers

Filmmaker Kim Kim-duk (“The Net”) this week called for the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) to reveal whether it is providing or denying funding according to a government blacklist.

Last week politicians clashed with government over allegations that some 9,473 artists were on a blacklist, being operated by the right-wing government of President Park Geun-hye.

Among those understood to be on the list are leading filmmakers Park Chan-wook, whose “The Handmaiden” opens this week in the U.S, Lee Chang-dong (“Poetry”) and Ryoo Seung-wan (“Veteran”) and actors Song Kang-ho (“The Age of Shadows”), Moon So-ri (“Handmaiden”) and Jung Woo-sung (“Asura: The City of Madness”).

They may have offended the Park regime by protesting against the government’s handling of the Sewol ferry sinking supported the opposition Minjoo Party’s Moon Jae-in in the presidential bid in 2012; or supported Park Won-soon for Seoul Mayor in 2014. Local government intervention to silence discussion of the Sewol ferry was also at the root of the two year dispute that wracked the Busan festival.

Korean newspapers recently published a transcript of conversations which appear to show the at the Arts Council of Korea chairman saying “There is a list [of artists] that should be denied support.” The president’s office is also known to have sent the list to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Kim Ki-duk said that KOFIC should reveal the shortlisted nominees for the agency’s funding round and the jury members behind the selection. His latest application was rejected in August.

“At this time when the alleged ‘blacklist of dissenting artists’ is at the center of controversy, KOFIC should disclose the lists in order to prevent misunderstandings,” he said via email.

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