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Korean content rises to the heart of culture, says HFPA president

Helen Hoehne, HFPA President (HFPA)

Korean media content will continue to grow in popularity and become a staple in the global market, according to Helen Hoehne, head of the organization that manages the Golden Globes.

In an exclusive interview with The Korea Herald, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association congratulated veteran Korean actor Oh Yeong-soo on winning the Best TV Supporting Actor trophy at the 2022 Golden Globes Awards for his role in the hit drama series. “Squid game.”

“We are grateful to be the first to offer this platform to such a deserving artist. Her Globe nod is her first nomination for a major (US) award, and we hope more will follow,” Hoehne said via email.

At the January 7 event, Oh, 77, became the first South Korean actor to receive an acting trophy at the U.S. awards.

While also mentioning director Bong Joon-ho, who earned three nominations and a Best Picture trophy for “Parasite” in 2021, the chef highlighted her organization’s responsibility to improve diversity efforts so that productions in foreign language are gaining momentum.

“We’ve seen so many great Golden Globe nominated projects in Korean markets like ‘Squid Game’, ‘Parasite’ and ‘Minari’. We certainly hope to continue seeing more of these wonderful works of art – and that they get the recognition they deserve, which is why it is so important that the HFPA continue to do its important work.

Founded in the 1940s by a small group of foreign journalists seeking to improve their access to Hollywood and its stars, the HFPA is a nonprofit organization comprised of US-based journalists and foreign media outlets, headquartered in in Southern California.

Hoehne, originally a journalist in Germany, has been a member since 2004 and has led it as president since September last year.

In recent months, the HFPA has come under fire for voter representation, particularly for its lack of black members, leading to an industry-wide boycott of the 2022 event, joined by major film and television companies, including Netflix, as well as celebrities like Tom Cruise. The 79th Golden Globes took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles with no audience, no TV shows or invited celebrities.

Hoehne highlighted the organization’s internal reform efforts.

“We spent countless hours on the reforms we put in place. … There are now people of color involved in decision-making throughout the organization – from important board decisions to credentialing and selecting new members. We have a new board of directors. Two-thirds of them are women and one-third are people of color,” she said.

HFPA's first Chief Diversity Officer, Neil Phillips (HFPA)

HFPA’s first Chief Diversity Officer, Neil Phillips (HFPA)

The HFPA also has a Chief Diversity Officer, Neil Phillips, who Hoehne says “will play an integral part in its continued commitment to implementing reforms to promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion both within organization and within the wider Hollywood and journalistic communities”.

As for the rise of global OTT platforms like Netflix, which is giving new impetus to the Korean wave of movies, TV series and other cultural products sweeping the world, she noted that this does not signal the downfall. of the traditional film industry.

“The COVID-19 crisis has certainly caused us to change the way we consume film and television, but you will see opinions from both sides of the aisle on the matter. When Bong Joon-ho attended our symposium on foreign languages ​​in 2020, he mentioned that “Parasite” wasn’t on Netflix because he didn’t want to give audiences the option to press “pause” — he wanted to “overwhelm” his audience. got a lot of applause from the attendees. It’s up to the content creator to make that artistic decision for themselves,” she said.

By Choi Jae-hee ([email protected])