Korea's new film boss vows to regain public trust

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Kim Eui-suk, new chairman of the controversy-plagued Korea Film Council (KOFIC), said he will regain public trust in the organization, after officially taking appointment Wednesday.

It is the first time ever for a former movie director to take the position. Kim said his background as a film director will help him in the role.

"I've seen the real problems and conflicts in the field because I've worked as a film director," Kim told reporters at a press meeting in Seoul on Wednesday.

"I think that is one of the reasons why I was appointed for this position. I will do my best for the betterment of our film industry while keeping things fair and impartial."

Kim said he'd first like to improve KOFIC's public image which has been ruined by the series of controversies in the last couple of years.

"I'd like to regain the trust from the public," Kim said. "That would help us to concentrate on developing our films and the industry."

Kim has been acting chairman of KOFIC since last November when his predecessor Cho Hee-moon was forced to step down from his position, after being accused of pressuring committee members to select certain projects over others for an independent film grant program. Cho had only served 14 months before his resignation.

Cho's predecessor, Kang Han-sup, also prematurely resigned in July 2009 after a controversy over his mismanagement of the institution. Kim was serving as vice president of KOFIC at the time.

That year, KOFIC had received the lowest grade in the government's annual performance review of government-affiliated organizations.

Kim said he will push forward an official launching of contract forms for low-paid film crew workers, as well as stabilization of INDIEPLUS - a movie theater exclusively dedicated to independent films and filmmakers.

A graduate of Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), Kim directed "Marriage Story" in 1992 and "Sword in the Moon" in 2003.

Kim's three-year term ends on March 29, 2014.

Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug said he expects Kim to establish better communication between KOFIC and those working in the film industry.

"There have been a lot of conflicts within KOFIC in the past," Choung told reporters.

"I hope the new chairman can launch systemic measures to bring everyone in the film industry together - regardless of their age and political views - to work towards our main goal, which is to make films more competitive in the current international market."

Choung also said he would like to see KOFIC eradicate illegal online movie downloading, have more major theaters available for independent films, and take a more active investment approach when giving funds and grants to filmmakers.

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