[EDITORIALS]Message to the film industry

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[EDITORIALS]Message to the film industry

Director Kim Ki-duk won the Silver Lion for best director for his latest film, “3-Iron,” at the 61st Venice Film Festival, which ended last weekend.
It was the second international award that he has received, following the best director award for “Samaria” at the Berlin International Film Festival in February.
It is rare for a director to win more than one award in a year at major international film festivals, such as Cannes, Berlin and Venice.
It is certain that Mr. Kim has positioned himself in the front tier of international film directors, considering that the best director award means his own directing style is recognized.
It is known that there are rabid fans of Mr. Kim’s films in Europe. France has set up a Kim Ki-duk film week, and there is a Kim Ki-duk boom in Berlin. “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring,” which was screened in the United States last year, earned over $2 million in U.S. cinemas ― a first for a Korean film.
But Mr. Kim is a heretic in the film world in Korea. Among the blockbusters whose net production costs total about 10 billion won ($8.7 million), Mr. Kim’s movies, made on a low budget and over a short timeframe, have failed to attract a domestic audience. The more Mr. Kim’s inspiring deed shines, the more dense is the shadow over the Korean film world.
It is time for Korean film industry to examine itself in order to improve continuously.
Since 2001, when Korean movies took over 40 percent of the market share, Korean films have moved ahead with irresistible force.
In Seoul, Korean movies amounted to 58 percent of the market this year through July, with the number of viewers up 38 percent compared to the same period last year. In contrast, the audience for foreign movies declined 12 percent during the same period.
Commercialism lies in the shadow of the tremendous popularity of Korean movies. More than a few films that young, highly motivated and ambitious directors have made on low budgets disappeared after failing to find a cinema to screen them. Some complain that marketing costs are as big as net production costs. The Korean film industry would not gain anything from a worsening of the current situation.
We hope the Korean movie industry, that has produced a world-class director, will transform itself to grow further.
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