By interweaving an ethnography of the Pusan International Film Festival, the author’s personal accounts, an overview of Korean modern history (with a focus on the emergence of the “democratic generation”), and a review of relevant anthropological literature the Introduction sheds light on the question, What is the role of independent filmmakers in the “explosion” of Korean films in the postauthoritarian/reform era? The Introduction argues that the “explosion” of Korean film is a product of a wide range of new alliances among social actors and that independent filmmakers played a key role in creating this critical alliance. It asks whether this alliance can be characterized as “co-optation,” and goes on to engage social theories of state, activism, and media in order to establish the significance of the “explosion” of Korean films and the social and political context in which it occurred.
Keywords: Korean history, postauthoritarian/reform era, democratic generation/3-8-6 generation, Korean Independent Filmmakers Association (KIFA), alliances, state, activism, co-optation, media anthropology
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