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Ko Suk-man to head Jeonju International Film Festival

South Korea’s Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) has named Ko Suk-man its new festival director.

Ko was previously president of the Educational Broadcasting System (EBS), head of the Korea Creative Contents Agency (KOCCA) and executive director of the Yeosu Expo 2012.

JIFF is perhaps best known for its annual Digital Project omnibuses comprised of three directors’ films. Controversial Chinese filmmaker Ying Liang won Locarno’s best director prize this year for politically-hued film When Night Falls, his part of Jeonju Digital Project 2012.

Ko’s appointment follows the resignation of his predecessor Min Byung-lock last month. This year’s JIFF, which ran April 26-May 4, saw more controversy than that surrounding Ying’s film. Long-time programmer Yoo Un-seong engaged in a battle with regional media over the role of the film festival, which ended in his dismissal in June. Yoo rallied support in the local and international film communities, and Min resigned over the brouhaha. Yoo has not been reinstated since.

While at EBS, Ko established the EBS International Documentary Festival (EIDF) and won a national award as an innovative CEO while at KOCCA. His background also includes directing production headquarters at major broadcaster MBC and a professorship at Chung-Ang University.

JIFF’s organisation committee stated it expects Ko’s experience and leadership to strengthen the festival’s identity and provide a new platform from which to launch forward anew.

Ko pledged to do his best to further stabilise the fest and make it one that could “continually transform and grow while communicating with filmmakers at home and abroad as well as audiences.”

His appointment is effective Sept 1 for a term of three years.

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