Digital intermediary: Korean transnational cinema



Publication Details

Yecies, B., Shim, A. & Goldsmith, B. (2011). Digital intermediary: Korean transnational cinema. Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: Quarterly Journal of Media Research and Resources, (141), 137-145.


Since censorship was lifted in Korea in 1996, collaboration between Korean andforeign filmmakers has grown in both extent and visibility. Korean films have beenshot in Australia, New Zealand and mainland China, while the Korean digital postproductionand visual effects firms behind blockbusters infused with local effectshave gone on to work with filmmakers from greater China and Hollywood. Koreancinema has become known for its universal storylines, genre experimentation andhigh production values. The number of exported Korean films has increased, ashas the number of Korean actors starring in films made in other countries. Koreahas hosted major international industry events. These milestones have facilitated anunprecedented international expansion of the Korean film industry. With the adventof the `digital wave¿ in Korea ¿ the film industry¿s transition to digital productionpractices ¿ this expansion has accelerated. Korean film agencies ¿ the pillars ofthe national cinema ¿ have played important parts in this internationalisation,particularly in promoting Korean films and filmmakers outside Korea and infacilitating international events in Korea itself. Yet, for the most part, projectsinvolving Korean filmmakers working in partnership with filmmakers from othercountries are the products of individuals and businesses working outside officialchannels. That is, they are often better understood as `transnational¿ rather than`national¿ or `international¿ projects. In this article, we focus on a range ofcollaborations involving Korean, Australian, New Zealand and Chinese filmmakersand firms. These collaborations highlight some of the forces that have shaped thedigital wave in the Korean film industry, and illustrate the increasingly influentialrole that the digital expertise of Korean filmmakers is playing in film industries,both regionally and around the world.

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