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Miky Lee: The godmother of South Korean cinema on Parasite’s historic win


So as an adult, Lee decided to change that.

Fast forward to 2020, and it’s fair to say she’s had a big impact. K-pop bands are household names in the United States. Viewers all around the world tune in to South Korean-made dramas. And on Sunday, South Korean dark comedy “Parasite” became the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture in the Oscars’ 92-year history.

Lee — the vice chairwoman of entertainment company CJ Group — was the executive producer behind the film. But to many, she’s much more than that — she’s the godmother of Korean cinema.

Growing up, Lee was struck by the lack of global exposure to Korean content.

Her idea was to “push our Korean content to other people to watch it, keep just pushing it, pushing it,” she said.

“I really believe that our content is edgy and it’s very different from any other content,” she added. “I had to believe that they would really recognize the difference.”

In the 1990s, Lee and her brother Lee Jay-Hyun founded the media division of CJ Group. These days, there’s barely any facet of the entertainment world that CJ Entertainment and Media isn’t involved in. It has a hand in television channels, a record label, a film production company — and even the annual Korean wave convention held around the world, KCON, which has helped bring Kpop bands like BTS to global audiences.

“I kept pushing (Korean content) with the confidence and with the belief and with the faith in it,” she said.

Over the past decade, Korean cultural exports…



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