sure on Thu, 25 Sep 1997 15:44:08 +0200 (MET DST)

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nettime-nl: Steunoproep: Seoul politie maakt einde aan homo-festival

Via Wouter Barendrecht van Fortissimo Film in Hongkong
( bereikte mij de volgende dringende

De politie in Seoul heeft op zaterdag 20 september jongstleden een
dramatisch einde gemaakt aan de poging om voor het eerst een
gay filmfestival te organiseren in Zuid-Korea. Er werd gedreigd om 
de apparatuur in beslag te nemen en de betrokken organisatoren
in het gevang te zetten. De uitkomst is vooralsnog onduidelijk.
De organisatoren doen een dringend beroep op de Internet-gemeenschap
om hen via e-mail te steunen.

Dear friends,

please send your letter of support and/or protest to the following e-mail

Hieronder volgt het persbericht:

Seoul, Sept.20, 1997.
Yesterday (Sept 19) was the opening night of the 1st Seoul Queer Film &
Video Festival at the Tongmun Theater on Yonsei University Campus. The
festival was due to run until Sept 25, and included 85 films from all
over the world.
However, the authorities waited until that day to take action against
the festival, effectively preventing it from going ahead. The festival
was hit with a double whammy. 
First, the local government officials in the Soedaemun District of Seoul
where Yonsei University is located posted a notice on the door of the
theater declaring the event illegal. They threatened to seize all
screening equipment and materials to be screened, and also threatened the
organizers with a 20 million Korean won (approx. US$22,000) fine and a 3
year jail sentence.
Second, Yonsei University withdrew support, threatening to turn off the
electricity in the building. According to reports, they had come under
pressure from alumni, whose funds were used to build the theater in
The Seoul Queer Film and Video Festival staff and volunteers have put in
thousands of hours of work not only to organize the festival but also to
try and find a way to hold it legally. Over the last few months great
difficulty has been encountered with homophobic national censorship
authorities. Even Wong Kar-Wai's latest film HAPPY TOGETHER has been
banned in Korea, with authorities stating that it is "not relevant to
the emotional life of the Korean people." 
The same authorities stated that they would not permit the Queer Film
and Video Festival to import and screen film prints. In these
circumstances, the festival was forced to attempt a technique used by
other festivals in similar circumstances, namely to screen videos only
on a university campus. But now that attempt has also run into a brick
The Queer Film and Video Festival's difficulties raise serious
questions about civil rights and freedom of expression for all
Koreans. We believe that our struggle is of importance to all
organizers of film festival, all organizers of cultural events, and
Korean audiences in general.
Last night, the festival staff, volunteers and audience members who had
come for the opening night gathered in a bar nearby. One by one,
everyone present took the stage to express their feelings. Among those
who spoke were members of all sectors of the gay, lesbian and queer
communities, including cyperspace bulletin board organizers, members of
the film culture community, university teachers, and university and high
school students. 
Everyone agreed that the struggle to find a way to hold the 1st Seoul
Queer Film and Video Festival must go on. The festival will now try to
find an alternative legal venue to hold the festival in a few weeks
time, and will also continue to demand reasonable censorship procedures
to allow it hold a legal public event. Watch this space for further
Seo Dongjin
1st Seoul Queer Film & Video Festival.

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