"Hollywood domination is dangerous for world cinema" declared leading Korean actor, Moon Seong-keun today as he led a call for the establishment of a new international organisation to protect cultural diversity and promote film from outside the Hollywood system. "We have yet to determine which is the best means to combat it effectively" added Moon, a veteran who has long been the figurehead of Korea's Coalition for Cultural Diversity in Moving Images (CDMI).
Moon set out plans for an organisation involving national film support bodies from ten or 12 countries that would circulate and promote a film from each territory for a month at a time in each participating country.
Moon made the appeal at a seminar on the dangers of globalisation held by the Puchon International Festival of Fantasy Film (PiFan). He was echoed by speakers who included French film-maker Bertrand Tavernier, Cannes film scout Pierre Rissient, Korean director Lee Hyun-seung and actor Jeong Ji-young.
Yang Gi-hwan, general director of the CDMI, said that moves are now well underway to establish a permanent multi-national body that would grow out of lobby group International Network for Cultural Diversity (INCD). Together with the International Network on Cultural Policy (INCP), an organisation made up of culture ministers, this would be expected to put the case for the continuance of the "cultural exception" accorded to the arts under GATT.
Tavernier said that the notion of a cultural exception had been turned against its supporters who had been made to appear nationalist or elitist. "What we really want is an agreement that applies to everyone including imbeciles and the unpleasant, and protects their creativity. Only then can we talk in terms of good and bad films." Yang said that the three years of his organisation's renewed campaign had produced concrete results. Although he did not claim credit for the 42% market share enjoyed this year by Korean films, he said that Korea's screen quotas had helped create a virtuous circle through which more money was retained within the local system and reinvested in Korean films. He said that more Korean films are now being released and, now that film-making is viewed as a success, applications to film-schools had soared.