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Director Diplomatic in 'Okja' Screening Controversy

2017/06/15 Source

Director Bong Joon-ho (center) speaks at a press junket for his latest film "Okja" in a hotel in Seoul on Wednesday along with cast members. /Newsis

Bong Joon-ho took the blame Wednesday for the screening controversy about his latest film "Okja" and expressed hope that the spat between producer Netflix and Korean cinema chains can be resolved amicably.

"I am responsible for all this fuss. I had just thought it would be great to provide viewers with more channels and opportunities to watch my film, but it seems I wanted too much", Bong told reporters at a press conference in Seoul.

Market leader CGV and other cinema chains here are up in arms at Netflix's insistence on releasing "Okja" simultaneously in theaters and online, saying this "will disturb the entire distribution system in Korea".

The theater chains threatened to boycott the film unless they can get their usual theatrical release first.

But the streaming service, which spent US$50 million on "Okja", wants to release it online simultaneously on June 29.

Next Entertainment World, which distributes it in Korea, said the film will open the same day in around 70 independent theaters here.

"Multiplexes want a three-week hold-back, which I understand because that's what is natural for exhibitors. On the other hand, Netflix has its simultaneous release policy, which I also respect", said Bong. "New rules are being made because of these controversies".

He said one example was this year's Cannes Film Festival, which normally excludes TV productions, and expressed hope that the industry here will also use it as an opportunity to revise its set rules.

Meanwhile, Bong revealed that his next film "Parasite", starring Song Kang-ho, will be a 100-percent Korean-language film.

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