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'Okja' director throws jab at Cannes for abrupt rule change

All News 12:57 June 14, 2017

By Chang Dong-woo

SEOUL, June 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho on Wednesday threw a jab at the organizers of this year's Cannes Film Festival, saying that it should have fixed its rules regarding streaming-only films before inviting his Netflix-produced movie "Okja."

"It would have been preferable if the Cannes festival would have put the rules in order before inviting us. Inviting us and creating a controversy, what an embarrassment," Bong told reporters at a media event for "Okja" held in Seoul.

The Netflix film about the friendship between a genetically modified "super pig" and a farm girl was among 18 titles chosen for the main competition lineup for the 70th edition of the festival last month.

Bong Joon-ho, South Korean director of the new Netflix film "Okja," speaks to reporters at a press conference for the upcoming movie on June 14, 2017. (Yonhap)

Cannes changed its rules to exclude films without a commitment for a French theatrical release from next year, facing strong protest from the local film industry against the Netflix movie's advance to the Cannes' competition category.

"There were two Netflix films at this year's festival. We directors are busy people producing films. I don't think we can afford to study France's domestic laws while making movies," Bong said.

Co-written by Bong and Jon Ronson of "Frank," Okja follows a girl from a rural town who risks everything to prevent a multinational company from kidnapping her close friend and super pig named Okja.

The sci-fi film was co-produced by three Hollywood studios -- Plan B, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company -- while Netflix covered the film's entire budget of US$50 million.

It stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal of "Nightcrawler" and "Everest," and Paul Dano of "Love & Mercy" and "12 Years a Slave," and has Korean actors such as An Seo-hyun, Byun Hee-bong, Choi Woo-shik and Yoon Je-moon among its cast.


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