The Korea Herald


Just one K-blockbuster helmed by female filmmaker in 2023: data

By Kim Da-sol

Published : March 8, 2024 - 18:00

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Director Yim Soon-rye (right) is seen on the set of Director Yim Soon-rye (right) is seen on the set of "The Point Men' which opened in January 2023. (Plus M Entertainment)

Of the 35 Korean blockbuster films that opened last year, just one film was directed by a female filmmaker, according to data.

Korean Film Council data showed that director Yim Soon-rye of the action drama flick "The Point Men" was the only female filmmaker to have directed a movie with a budget of more than 3 billion won. Representing 2.7 percent of the 35 blockbusters, the figure is the lowest since KOFIC began gathering data in 2017.

There was no female cinematographer for any Korean blockbuster movie released last year. There were 13 female producers (23.6 percent), nine female lead actors (25.7 percent) and 12 female screenwriters (21.8 percent) who participated in blockbusters from last year. The number of production company CEOs who are female was at 22, or 23.9 percent.

When low-budget films, indie films and art films were tallied, the number of female producers went up to 49, or 22.8 percent of the total 183 Korean films.

“The women workforce was relatively actively involved in the low-budget and indie film sectors, but it seems like their entry to commercial films is still difficult,” KOFIC said in a report.

Amid lingering worries that Korean films may become more male-dominated, KOFIC pointed out that the situation is not so different for streaming platforms.

Of the seven original films released on streaming platforms last year, there were no works by female directors or cinematographers. There was just one female screenwriter.

But the number of female lead actors was high at five – 83.3 percent -- with the release of Netflix original films “Jung_E,” “Unlocked,” “Kill Boksoon” and “Ballerina.”

“It’s noteworthy to see whether more female-led stories will appear in streaming platform movies or if it is just a temporary trend,” KOFIC said.

It also added that with fewer filmmakers attempting new things after the pandemic due to reduced investment in films, there will be fewer opportunities for female workers in the entertainment industry.