Document Type

Journal Article

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 and foreign filmmakers has grown in both extent and visibility. Korean films have been shot in Australia, New Zealand and mainland China, while the Korean digital post-production and visual effects firms behind blockbusters infused with local effects have gone on to work with filmmakers from greater China and Hollywood. Korean cinema has become known for its universal storylines, genre experimentation and high production values. The number of exported Korean films has increased, as has the number of Korean actors starring in films made in other countries. Korea has hosted major international industry events. These milestones have facilitated an unprecedented international expansion of the Korean film industry. With the advent of the ‘digital wave’ in Korea – the film industry’s transition to digital production practices – this expansion has accelerated. Korean film agencies – the pillars of the national cinema – have played important parts in this internationalisation,particularly in promoting Korean films and filmmakers outside Korea and in facilitating international events in Korea itself. Yet, for the most part, projects involving Korean filmmakers working in partnership with filmmakers from other countries are the products of individuals and businesses working outside official channels. That is, they are often better understood as ‘transnational’ rather than ‘national’ or ‘international’ projects. In this article, we focus on a range of collaborations involving Korean, Australian, New Zealand and Chinese filmmakersand firms. These collaborations highlight some of the forces that have shaped the digital wave in the Korean film industry, and illustrate the increasingly influential role that the digital expertise of Korean filmmakers is playing in film industries, both regionally and around the world.