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Yoon touts alliance’s role in promoting growth of K-culture

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President Yoon Suk Yeol, right, receives a Black Panther film poster signed by the late Chadwick Boseman by Charles Rivkin, Motion Picture Association chairman and CEO, during a film and content forum held in Washington on Thursday. [JOINT PRESS CORPS]
President Yoon Suk Yeol, right, receives a Black Panther film poster signed by the late Chadwick Boseman by Charles Rivkin, Motion Picture Association chairman and CEO, during a film and content forum held in Washington on Thursday. [JOINT PRESS CORPS]

President Yoon Suk Yeol attended the Global Creative Industry Leadership Forum in Washington on Thursday and asked if anyone had watched the hit Korean film, “Ode to My Father.”

Yoon said the film depicts the dire situation Korea faced before the alliance with the U.S. was forged.

“Not only has our economy grown, but Korean culture has grown significantly, too,” Yoon said during a speech at the forum, jointly organized by the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

“While the Korea-U.S. alliance developed over the last 70 years, Korea could rise from the ruins of war to become a cultural powerhouse,” Yoon said. “I hope we will work together as leaders of the global culture market.”

President Yoon promised that Korea will adhere to global standards.

“I believe as with economy and trade, there are no borders for culture industries,” Yoon said. “Especially with culture, countries should not build borders.”

Korean Culture Minister Park Bo-gyoon stressed that promoting Korean cultural content is a key diplomatic objective for President Yoon’s visit to the U.S. along with promoting Korean national security and business.

Park is the first Korean culture minister to join a president on a trip to the U.S.

“It is rare for the executives of the MPA and the world’s top six film content companies including Paramount and Disney to gather in one place with a state guest,” Park said.

Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of MPA, praised the competitiveness of the Korean content industry.

“As I travel around the world in my current job and my former job as an assistant secretary, it is repeated again and again how many countries want to be like Korea, to emulate the success of K-content and create their own industry, modeled on Korea’s success,” Rivkin said.

Rivkin also mentioned how the world has enjoyed watching the video of President Yoon singing Don McLean’s “American Pie” at the State Dinner at the White House on Wednesday.

However, he jokingly said there would be no singing today.

The MPA chairman presented a gift to President Yoon of a Black Panther movie poster signed by the late actor Chadwick Boseman.

Rivkin said it was the last signature Boseman made before he passed away.

President Yoon said he will hang the poster in his office and use it to remind himself on the need to boost the film content industry.

Companies that attended included Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Paramount and Netflix.

These companies not only account for 77 percent of the world’s film and video market, but also 45 percent of the online streaming market.

Korean cultural figures who attended the meeting included CJ Group Vice Chairman Miky Lee, SLL (Studio LuluLala) CEO Jung Kyung-moon and Park Tae-hoon of Watcha.

CJ’s Lee is known for producing the film “Parasite,” which won Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars. SLL is a drama production, distribution and talent management company and a subsidiary of JTBC. Watcha is a local streaming service provider.

According to the president’s office and the culture ministry, the six major companies plan to invest in at least 45 pieces of Korean cultural content.

On the first day of President Yoon’s arrival in Washington, Netflix promised $2.5 billion in investment in Korea over the next four years.

Ode to My Father poster.
Ode to My Father poster.

BY PARK TAE-IN, LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]