Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

Perspectives on Contemporary Korea 2020-21 | South Korean Film Industry Conference

Friday, April 16, 2021
8:00-9:30 PM
Register for the conference here:

South Korean cinema provides one of the most striking case studies of non-Western cinematic success in the age of the neoliberal world order, in which Hollywood dominates the global movie consumer’s heart, mind, and soul. Against the onslaught of US products in the world’s media marketplace, South Korean cinema has successfully defended itself. In 2001, South Korea became the first film industry in recent history to reclaim its domestic market from Hollywood. In 2006, local films had a 67 percent market share—the highest such figure in the world except for the US and India—and they have continued to maintain a market share of around 50 percent in the 2010s (52 percent in 2019). Admissions per capita in 2019 also reached 4.37, up from 1.1 in 1998 and 2.92 in 2010, the highest around the globe, when it was 3.5 in the U.S. The number of screens in Korea has soared, from 511 in 1997 to 3,079 in 2019. Based on the increasing numbers of moviegoers and domestic films produced, South Korea has become one of the world’s major film markets (ranked 5th in 2020). Adding to this success, the high-quality South Korean local product has flowed outward to global film markets to connect with international audiences in commercial cinemas, in art theaters, and at major international film festivals. Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy (2003) received the Grand Prix at the Cannes International Film Festival. Hong Sang-soo had great success in Cannes, Berlin, and Locarno with Hahaha (2010), Right Now, Wrong Then (2015), and On the Beach at Night Alone (2017). Other breakthrough auteurs, art-house and genre-bending specialists alike, followed: Lee Chang-dong, Im Sang-soo, Kim Jee-woon, Ryoo Seung-wan and Kim Ki-duk. Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite marked the culmination of South Korean cinema’s global success. Parasite became the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars (2020), and swept other major awards including Best Director, Screenplay, and International Feature.

In English-language academic circles, likewise, interest in South Korean cinema as a serious scholarly subject has been growing exponentially. The evolution of South Korean cinema scholarship has been noteworthy. Such scholars as Isolde Standish, David James, Rob Wilson, Kyung Hyun Kim, Soyoung Kim, Paul Willemen, and Kathleen McHugh initially ignited the field of South Korean cinema studies and, almost simultaneously, two monographs followed in the UK and US: Hyangjin Lee’s Contemporary Korean Cinema: Culture, Identity and Politics (2000) and Kyung Hyun Kim’s The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema (2004). Since then, the field has witnessed a blossoming of South Korean cinema studies in the form of monographs, edited volumes, and special issues. Although the field has recently greeted many significant scholarly achievements that have extensively discussed South Korea’s cinematic legacies, it is still difficult to find scholarly articles on pre-1990s South Korean films – and almost none are available on films from the 1970s and 80s. There is also a shortage of articles on individual films and directors, and no systematically structured book-length study on the South Korean film industry has been published as of the time this conference is being prepared.

The South Korean Film Industry conference will bring together scholars from major sites of Korean film and media Studies research in the Anglophone world (including Canada, U.S., U.K., and Australia) with scholars from Korea and Singapore for an interdisciplinary dialogue on the diversity and complexity of the South Korean film industry. This conference aims to showcase innovative scholarly work examining wide-ranging coverage of subjects such as the production, exhibition and distribution of South Korean cinema, state policy and censorship, coproduction, film festivals and cinephilia, independent cinema, and Hallyu and the global reception of South Korean cinema.

Full conference details and schedule available at:

Friday, April 16

8:00-9:30pm Director Spotlight: KIM Bora (Director: House of Hummingbird)

With Maggie Lee (Film Critic)

Moderator: Ungsan KIM (University of Michigan)

Film Screening: House of Hummingbird (2019) will be available for download from April 12-16. Additional details will be provided to all conference registrants.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Off Campus Location
Location: Virtual
Event Type: Livestream / Virtual
Tags: Asia, Film, Korea
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Nam Center for Korean Studies, International Institute, Asian Languages and Cultures