The Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) has urged Korean executives, filmmakers and stars not to attend in light of the recent MERS outbreak in their home country.
Festival organizers sent out emails on Wednesday and Thursday urging those from South Korea to cancel their visits.
“In consideration of the health of all of our guests, our festival organizing committee has also taken some protective measures. We have canceled some relevant activities,” said the letter, which was signed by the SIFF committee. “Furthermore, we seriously suggest you consider canceling your upcoming trip to Shanghai. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
The festival’s organizing committee is currently planning an official statement for the public.
Several actors invited also received the not-so-welcoming letter from festival organizers. Movie star/heartthrob So Ji-sub told reporters: “I received a request [to] not attend, so, unfortunately, I’ve decided not to go.”
While 22 South Korean films are included in this year’s screening and several Koreans are nominated for prizes, the directors and producers of two competing Korean films, The Shameless and Salut d’Amour have canceled their trip. Several other Korean celebrities, such as Bae Doo-na and Jang Dong-gun, will not be appearing at screenings or the red carpet.
A session for Chinese-South Korean film co-productions set for Saturday has also been canceled.
If South Koreans were to attend, they will be inspected daily in their designated hotels (far from the city center), and they will not be allowed to join any official film festival activities, only private meetings, according to Variety.
The 18th annual international film festival begins this Saturday. A total of 11 South Korean companies were scheduled to participate in the festival along with several other people from the film council’s headquarters.
The festival has also decided to pull out the Japanese animated film Attack on Titan for its “pornographic and violent” content amid the Ministry of Culture’s crackdown on anime and comics.
[Images via kpopstarz]
By Sharon Choi