Film festival opens in Korea after film industry crisis
KOREA’S film industry is reeling from a crisis in its financial health that has seen its stock drop by as much as 70 per cent in the past few months.
More than two million Koreans had their livelihoods threatened by the crisis.
The government and the industry have been locked in an impasse since the start of this year.
The International Federation of the Korean Film Industry (IFKF) said last week that it had asked the government to allow it to begin taking loans to cover its financial needs for the next six months, including the costs of paying off creditors and the debt owed to foreign investors.
The situation is the worst in 20 years, it said.
It is now working with the Korean Association of Cinematographers (KAC) to begin an orderly restructuring of its finances.
The IFFKF has warned that its financial condition has been dire for years, and has suffered cuts in funding due to the crisis, as well as other threats.
The crisis was sparked when the government failed to pay off debt, which was owed by foreign investors, and which had led to a collapse in demand for film.
It also forced KAC to cut its membership to one-third.
It has been forced to shut down the main film production facility in its southern city of Gyeonggi and to sell the film industry to a private company, KAC said in a statement.
The decision to shut the film production and export industries was not made lightly, said Kim Joon-sung, president of the IFFG, adding that it was a “difficult decision”.
“We are very, very sad to see this film industry collapse and our country is in deep financial crisis,” he told reporters.
“We need a fresh approach.”
Kim said he would hold a meeting with representatives of the industry to try to resolve the crisis and to get some of the money it needs to keep its operations running.
The industry has been a major driver of the economy, producing more than 100,000 films annually.
Its annual turnover is estimated at $3.8bn.