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No Longer Blacklisted, South Korea’s Park Chan-kyong Tries Again With Horror Film

Variety logo Variety 7/3/2017 Vivienne Chow
© Provided by Variety

After being blacklisted by the government of disgraced former President Park Geun-hye, award-winning South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-kyong said he has resubmitted his rejected proposal for a horror film project now that a new government has come on board.

“It was rejected by the film council last year because of the blacklist. After the new government took office I submitted the same proposal to the [Korean Film Council], so I’m waiting for the results now,” Park told Variety.

Park, winner of the 2011 Golden Bear for short film at the Berlin Film Festival with “Night Fishing,” which he co-directed with brother Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden”), was among about 9,000 artists and filmmakers whom the former South Korean government reportedly blacklisted for being unsupportive of its agenda.

The director said his film project was a fictional horror story about a ghost world in the mountains. But he said that the proposal did not receive a hearing from the Korean Film Council.

“They didn’t even put [my project] on the table. The selection jury didn’t even talk about my film,” Park said. “I didn’t know about [the blacklist] until I was told there was a big picture of me in the news, that I was among the artists excluded from government support.”

He said that the previous government – led by former President Park, who is now on trial for corruption – was driven by “great fear. They thought we were too leftist and dangerous.”

The rejection by the film council did not stop Park from developing his project. He had already written the script and some scenes, but instead of realizing it as a film project, he created “Citizen’s Forest,” a video installation (pictured) based on the script’s core images that premiered at last year’s Taipei Biennial and was exhibited at Art Basel in Switzerland.

Earlier this year, South Korean Culture Minister Cho Yoon-sun apologized for the blacklist. In May, left-wing leaning liberal politician Moon Jae-in was elected the country’s new president.

Park said he has submitted the exact same proposal as last time to the Korean Film Council and is now waiting to hear back.

“I think the new government is really against any kind of blacklist,” Park said, adding that Moon’s son is a media artist and designer. “[Moon] should have some idea about art.”

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