South Korean director Bong Joon-ho was named the People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) Asia Person Of The Year.

KUALA LUMPUR: Award-winning South Korean director Bong Joon-ho received critical acclaim for his Netflix film Okja which featured a genetically-modified, docile super-pig.

And thanks to his positive portrayal of animals, the Asian affiliate of international animal rights organisation People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) has chosen him as its Person Of The Year, according to a news report by Korea Herald.

In a statement, PETA Asia said that through its playful protagonist Okja and her loving guardian Mija, Bong’s film showed viewers that, like humans, animals are individuals who have families and form friendships when given the chance.

“They are capable of a wide range of emotions, and value their own lives,” it stated.

PETA Asia’s vice president Jason Baker said in a statement, “Bong Joon-ho’s bracingly realistic film puts a face and a name to the millions of animals slaughtered for food every year.

“PETA is honoured to recognise this pioneering director for his compassionate heart, mind, and achievements for animals.”

Having premiered on Netflix and screened at selected cinemas last June, Okja depicts the tale of mountainside girl Mija (portrayed by South Korean child actress Ahn Seo-hyun) and her best friend, a pig named Okja.

The film also competed for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 70th Cannes International Film Festival last May.

It stars Hollywood actors Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Bong’s other notable works include English film Snowpiercer, and South Korean movies The Host, Mother and Memories Of Murder.

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