LONDON – Reps from the British and South Korean governments signed a fresh cultural agreement between the two countries at the gala opening of the London Korean Film Festival Wednesday evening.
The cultural pact was signed by the U.K. culture, media and sport minister Maria Miller and the Korean culture minister Yoo Jinryong in front of guests including Korean president Park Geun-hye, founder and former artistic director of the Busan Film Festival Kim Dong Ho, the current Busan Film Festival chief Lee Yong-kwan, directors Kim Jee-woon and Huh Jung.
Also on hand was David Puttnam, recently appointed U.K. trade envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma and the head of the Edinburgh Film Festival Chris Fujiwara.
The memorandum of understanding aims to boost cultural and creative exchanges between the U.K. and Korea and bolster the countries’ creative economies.
The gala opening of the London Korean Film Festival Nov. 6 ended with a screening of Huh Jung’s Korean box office smash Hide & Seek and helped herald president Park’s state visit to the U.K.
The festival runs Nov. 7 through 15 before touring Oxford, St Andrews and Bradford from Nov. 16-22.
Yoo Jinryong said: “Korean Cinema has arrived. Cinema is very important and I can’t think of a better way of encouraging relationships between our two countries to become even closer. Cinema is a medium that captures the zeitgeist of what’s happening now.”
Miller added: “I admire the very farsighted and strategic approach of the Korean government towards strengthening its creative economy and embracing digital technology. I’m keen for us to be working together in these areas and that’s why I’m delighted to have signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding and cooperation for our creative industries.”
President Park Geun-hye said it was her firm belief that there is “huge scope for synergy if Korea and the U.K. cooperate together in the creative industries as well culture and the arts.”
She added: “By making more cultural productions we will be able to bring the peoples of our two countries and around the world a greater joy and pleasure. When it comes to the film industry there is nothing as important as creative ideas, and even if you lack resources as long as you have creative ideas you’ll be able to make great accomplishments in this area.”
She gave a shout out to Billy Elliot as a British film she really enjoyed when released in Korea.