Korean national broadcaster KBS warned international producers that cultural differences mean “it’s very difficult to work with Koreans” for coproductions, during a panel session at Sunny Side of the Doc, but added that the country is looking to form international partnerships.
During the New Asian Opportunities panel session at the La Rochelle event, Kenny Kihyung Bae, a producer in the international relations department at KBS, warned that working with the network was not an easy experience.
“In reality, it’s very difficult to work with Koreans,” he admitted. With no central commissioner, getting international copros off the ground means reaching an agreement with a number of different execs within KBS.
“There are no commissioning editors in Korea, that’s one problem,” said Kihyung Bae. “When you want to do a documentary coproduction, you have to go through the international relations department, the production department and the documentary department.”
In spite of this, he added that KBS was “now ready” to work with international partners and hoped that producers would come forward. He also said that while getting an initial project away may prove awkward, “once you open the door, it’s very easy to continue.”
Kihyung Bae added that KBS was looking to be involved in all manner of factual productions. “We don’t mind – wildlife, current affairs… as long as it’s innovative we are interested,” he said. “Now is the time to talk with Korean broadcasters.”
Elsewhere at the session, Suri Navdeep, joint secretary for public diplomacy at India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said he was at Sunny Side for the first time, primarily on a fact-finding mission.
He said India had commissioned independent filmmakers to produce some 300 hours of documentaries in the past three decades, but had not been proactive in distributing the material. “Is there an interest in this kind of material?” he asked. “Are there channels that are interested, or distributors that might want to take it?”