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Friday, July 13, 2012

Letter from Byung-lock Min, outgoing festival director of Jeonju Film Fest

Less than a few hours after I received the email from Un-Seong Yoo mentioned in my previous post, I received an email too, from Byung-lock Min, the Jeonju Film Festival director who had resigned last week shortly after he was appointed to head the festival for another term.

I think it is necessary to hear his side of the story as well. But really, in the end, I cannot see who is right or wrong, who wins or loses, maybe for this, everyone loses.

A great film festival is a blessing to cinephiles and casual film lovers, how I wish that Malaysia had a proper film festival culture earlier, a platform for people to discover films that they don't get in multiplexes or in their favourite DVD stalls, allowing opportunities for filmmakers both new and old to share the stage, a platform where the interaction between filmmakers and audiences are often encouraged.

I can only hope that Jeonju Film Fest can continue doing what it had been doing for the public, it's for the greater good.

Dear Edmund Yeo

This is Byung-lock Min, a Festival Director of the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF). There was a meeting of the Board of Directors which was held on June 28th. After extensive discussion and considerable debate on a dismissal of the Programmer, Mr. Un-Seong Yoo and the merits and demerits of my works in the last three-year term, they decided to approve my consecutive terms through a vote.

The deadline of a formal written appeal against the dismissal of the Programmer, Mr. Un-Seong Yoo was June 27th. I was waiting for an appeal letter from him regardless of a decision of the Board of Directors on my consecutive terms, but any appeal letter had not arrived at the Secretariat until 29th of June. Therefore, the dismissal of Mr. Un-Seong Yoo has officially been confirmed. It has been a very difficult time for me and all members of the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) owing to a controversy upon the dismissal of Mr. Un-Seong Yoo, which lasted over one month. If I only think of my personal honor, I would have resigned from a Festival Director long ago. However, I have waited until now for being responsible for the controversy and the evaluation of my judgment by the Board of Directors and solving a problem which I caused.

I have looked at this situation with being disappointed and disconsolate while the honor of my own as well as all members of the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) being suffered and in particular the reputation of the JIFF has been damaged. I firmly believe that the Personnel Committee made no mistake in its judgment on the words, behaviors, and attitudes of Mr. Un-Seong Yoo shown in the meanwhile. While ignoring a formal process for appealing, Mr. Un-Seong Yoo keeps claiming that he is a political scapegoat. He has defamed the reputation of many people who have made lots of efforts for the JIFF as well as the JIFF. Especially since Mr. Un-Seong Yoo has shown a selfish view to prove an injustice of the dismissal after being notified of that, I could be more confident that the Committee made a right decision. Mr. Un-Seong Yoo was dismissed from his post by a careful consideration of the organization not because he said a right thing at the closing press conference but because of an ongoing series of his behaviors and the processes happened. Mr. Un-Seong Yoo has caused many problems in the process of working within the organization. Even though the reasons for his dismissal seem to be irrational depending on the understanding of an individual, these reasons include his faults which repeatedly took place in the meanwhile and the Personnel Committee made a judgment that he deserves a dismissal from his position. In addition, a process of his dismissal was in accordance with the personnel policies of the JIFF. Now that the legitimacy and legality of the dismissal of Mr. Un-Seong Yoo has been fully proved by the judgment of the Board of Directors which decided my consecutive terms, a reinstatement of Mr. Un-Seong Yoo will not be discussed again.

I have finalized all the procedures relating to the dismissal of the Programmer, Mr. Un-Seong Yoo. Now I am about to leave the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) which I have been involved in for ten years. I apologize to the Board of Directors who determines my consecutive terms and all those who supported my reappointment. Since I know for a fact that my consecutive terms will be a burden on the development of the JIFF, I have no choice but to leave the organization. I hope you can understand my decision.

I have carefully read all letters of protest from you. Even though I fully respect every opinion of each of you, I would like to ask for your understanding of his dismissal in a reverent manner since his dismissal was lead through lawful procedures and the reasons for his dismissal were well-grounded. The Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) which you experienced is not an outcome achieved by Mr. Un-Seong Yoo alone. The reputation of the JIFF has resulted from hard works of all members of the organization in difficult circumstances and love and affection of the audiences. Now the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF), which you have experienced and you are in love with, should start off with a clean slate and maintain the reputation and its identity of the JIFF not having me and Mr. Un-Seong Yoo. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to those who have helped, supported, and loved me and the JIFF all the while.

July 2, 2012
Byung-lock Min
Festival Director