South Korean director Park Chan-wook has urged student film-makers at the Berlin International Film Festival to fight for their cultural identity, after learning of his country's decision to slash homegrown movie quotas.

The controversial move is part of a free trade agreement with America. The previous quota ensured South Korean movies a 40 per cent market share, but the new regulations will slash that by half, allowing cinemas to broadcast domestic movies on just 73 days of the year.

Last week (begs06FEB06) fellow director Choi Min-shik protested against the agreement, when he angrily returned his prestigious Okgwan Order of Culture Merit.

Chan-Wook blames the US for the move: "The South Korean government has a policy to support the Korean film and culture industry but they seem to be bowing to pressure from somewhere else.

"It is quite a complicated issue because it's not just about pressure from another film industry but also the political situation between South Korea and the United States. There's a free trade agreement being signed between the two countries and the US believes that films should be included in it.

"This is not just a Korean problem. If Hollywood invades the Korean market, they can do it in other countries too.

"There are many good Hollywood movies but there should be some variety too. We need to protect our industry and keep our identity. We want your support in our effort."

The director - who is dubbed the South Korean QUENTIN TARANTINO - spoke at the festival's Talent Campus.

The new regulations come into effect in July (06).