Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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Learning from Korean film industry

Izah Azahari

After a weak start in the late 90s, the Korean film industry is now seeing substantial investments streaming in. As of 2021, Netflix alone had channelled USD530 million into Korean content, of the USD884 million invested for the entire Asia.

Dr Alex Fischer from Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia (MIAA) said this in his keynote address at the Brunei Islamic Film Festival symposium yesterday, while providing an overview of the Brunei Islamic Film Festival Symposium and a study on film genres.

The symposium titled ‘Islamic Film Genre: Questions, Possibilities and Implications for the Bruneian Screen Industry’ was held at Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Complex.

Dr Fischer discussed the three key points to the symposium – that it represents a starting point for further investigation into the topic; provides collaborative opportunities between academics studying Bruneian cinema and practitioners working in the film industry; and thirdly, the implications for the local screen industry development, which is having a genre that is specific to Brunei Darussalam.

Further elaborating on the points, Dr Fischer posed questions that included: “Is Bruneian cinema unique?”, “Can we watch Bruneian cinema or television for that matter?”, and “Can we identify it as being wholly Bruneian?”.

Discussing the second point, Dr Fischer provided an insight on his recently-published joint study with Dr Yong Liu from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) which examined the economic impact of the Bruneian screen industry as well as the local and surrounding community, as well as in terms of employment and revenue returned.

Elaborating on his third point, Dr Fischer dissected the implications for the local screen industry and its development in terms of an Islamic film genre. He discussed the substantial amount of money spent by over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Paramount Plus; and examined the Korean film industry, identifying that this is perhaps a new export Brunei can take pointers from.

“It could be exported to the world so that we can begin to tap into this cash flow,” said Dr Fischer.

Dr Fischer also discussed what a film genre is, identifying all the theoretical problems with it, along with the benefits and how it is used to attract and hold an audience.

Dr Alex Fischer from Mahakarya Institute of the Arts Asia giving a keynote address. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI