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'Burning' earns praise from Ambassador Cho and film figures at DC event

Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Yoon-je celebrated the acclaimed new Korean film Burning from director Lee Chang-dong with key figures in film and diplomacy at a Washington, D.C. lunch and screening event on Nov. 6, hosted by the Embassy of Australia and the Motion Picture Association (MPA). 

Cho discussed the film’s nomination for Best Feature Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) and the rising status of Korean films in general along with Chairman Charles Rivkin of the Motion Picture Association of America, Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey, APSA Chairman Michael Hawkins, and Burning producer of Burning Lee Joon-dong.

“Everyone showed high expectations regarding the future of Korean films as they continue to demonstrate competitiveness in the global market,” Cho said in a Facebook post following the event. 

The event, under the theme The Soft Diplomacy of Film, highlighted Burning as an example of Korean excellence in filmmaking and a successful result of the Academy Film Fund, a partnership between MPA and APSA. 

Prior to the screening of Burning that followed the lunch, Hwang Joon Suk, director of the embassy’s Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. (KCCDC), spoke about the importance of film in public diplomacy. 

“Film plays a unique role in public diplomacy,” said Hwang. “Nations have realized the potential of soft power to shape their future.”

He went on to say that Korea has high hopes for its film industry, which has earned thongs of fans internationally as part of the larger Hallyu phenomenon of Korean pop culture in recent decades. 

“Just as the United States communicated culturally with the world through film in the 20th century, Korea is eager to introduce itself through film, and other digital media, in the 21st century.”

Burning, in theaters starting October 26, earned nominations for the Palme d-Or at Canne, Best Film at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, and will be Korea’s Oscar nominee for foreign language film. It won for Best Film at the prestigious Grand Bell Awards in Korea.