South Korean Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Yoo In-chon, has announced that he has accepted the resignation of Korean Film Council (KOFIC) chairman Kang Han-sup.
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance had made public on June 19 an evaluation of government organisations in 2008 in which Kang was found “insufficient” as an organisational head and KOFIC received the lowest possible grade. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance recommended Kang be dismissed.
“Chairman Kang tendered his resignation on the 20th of last month. I consulted members of the film community and after consideration, decided to accept,” said Yoo at a press conference earlier today.
He went on to say that six KOFIC commissioners had also tendered resignation but that he was still deliberating on the matter as they “are responsible for actual KOFIC operations.”
This follows a series of disruptions and discord in the local film industry concerning Kang’s outspoken behavior, in which he declared the film industry in crisis while criticising past KOFIC administrations months into his own, coupled by a lack of organisational action.
Kang also failed to put forth any concrete policy until his fifth month in office, at which point he announced a $55.5m plan that failed to garner positive response.
Different groups in the film industry, including the KOFIC labour union, had made public announcements denouncing the chairman. A recent labour dispute regarding the unexplained dismissal of several freelance employees ended up with KOFIC suing heads of the labour union that it accused of threatening behavior.
Kang’s term started May 28, 2008 and was due to run until May 27, 2011. KOFIC will be headed by vice chairman Shim Sang-min in the interim before a new chairperson is nominated.
Yoo also called for a quick resolution to KOFIC’s labour issues, suggesting restructuring and also closing down or modifying the Korean Film Academy of Arts (KAFA) and KOFIC’s film laboratories so that they would “complement and not compete with non-governmental organisations.”