Korean Government Cancels Queer Film Festival
by Aaron Krach/indieWIRE
The 1st Seoul Queer Film and Video Festival, scheduled from September 19 -25, was shut down by the Korean
Government the day before it was to begin. Government officials ordered the festival closed, saying the
organizers had not registered the event with them. The statement threatened seizure of all equipment, a
$22,000 fine and a three year prison sentence if the festival began.
The festival was set to unspool in the Tongmun Theater on the campus of Yonsei University. In addition to
the government cancellation, the University threatened to cut the power to the theater if the festival
tried to open. University officials reported that Alumni, who’s funds help build the theater, did not want
the film festival to take place there.
The cancellation was a serious blow to organizers who had spent, “thousands of hours of work, not only to
organize the festival but also to try and find a way to hold it legally,” explained Seo Dongjin, Festival
Programmer. “There is a clear double standard at work here, for the same authorities are allowing the 2nd
Pusan International Film Festival to screen “homosexual-related films” as part of their selection; including
Tsai Minliang’s “The River” and Stanley Kwan’s “As Time Goes By,”” he continued.
Although the Korean government has allowed those films to be shown, Wong Kar-Wai’s most recent film
“Happy Together” has been banned in Korea. National censorship authorities said the film “is not
relevant to the emotional life of the Korean people.”