South Korea's Coalition for Cultural Diversity in Moving Images (CDMI) is an organising a symposium involving government ministers on November 8 due to continued fears that the country's screen quota system could be abolished.
The CDMI, which has carried out a global campaign for the retention of quotas over the last few years, is also due to meet with supporters in France within the next fortnight. Both moves come despite assurances from South Korean National Assembly member Shin Ki-Nam as recently Monday (Oct 9) that president Kim Dae-Jung's government is supportive of maintaining quotas, at least until Korean films have a competitive edge against movies from other countries.
"Supporting the quota system does not mean we are excluding other films. It is about preserving our uniqueness. That is our responsibility as Koreans," said Shin, who is also on the Committee for Cultural Tourism. "Hollywood movies have no difficulty earning money here. What we are emphasising is that Korean movies should be given an equal chance to survive."
Shin was speaking at a reception, hosted by the CDMI and the Korean Film Commission, for international guests attending the Pusan International Film Festival and the media. He made it clear the US was keeping up pressure on the government, which had to "at least hear their request".
Several guests at the reception accepted an offer to publicly declare their support for the cause including India's Aruna Vasudev, editor of Cinemaya magazine and a founder of the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema, London-based film critic Tony Rayns, Ulrich Gregor, head of the International Forum of Young Cinema based in Berlin, and local star Bang Eun Jin.