SEOGWIPO, Jejudo Island -- Although Korean animations boast impressive quality, matching those of the U.S. and Japan, the nation lacks large-scale animation studios that have expertise in both production and distribution for the global market.
In order to make up for the shortage and vitalize the domestic animation industry, the Ministry of Science, IT and Future Planning and the Jejudo Island government launched the Asia CGI Animation Center, or ACA, an incubation center for animators, in Seogwipo, Jejudo Island on Thursday.
(From left) Kim Yong-soo, director from the ICT Ministry, Wi Seong-gon, lawmaker from Seogwipo, and Jejudo Island Gov. Won Hee-ryong look around the Asia CGI Animation Center, a support center for the Korean animation industry, in Seogwipo, Jejudo Island on Thursday.(ICT Ministry)
The center will support fledgling, but promising, animation creators from production to distribution. A group of Korean and Chinese companies and investors, dubbed the global animation partners, will join the initiative to help content developers produce animated hits and bring them to global markets including China and the U.S.
Those companies and investors, 27 in total, include broadcaster EBS, IPTV operator SK Broadband, movie theater chain CGV, TV station Hunan TV and online video platform firm Youku Tudou.
Film publisher Wanda Pictures, Mango TV and toy companies Alpha and Starjet Toys are also among the partners.
“The global animation market has long been dominated by U.S. film producers including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar and Blue Sky Studios. I hope ACA can help Asia to become an animation hub,” said Jeong Geug-po, chairman of the board at ACA, at an opening ceremony of the animation center on the day.
As the first joint project, the partner companies will help the production and distribution of the three Korean animations -- “Flying Superboard,” “Speckles: The Tarbosaurus” and “Capsule Boy - in China.”
The ICT ministry and the Jejudo Island government have poured in 10 billion won ($8.4 million) since 2014 to set up the animation center, in which animation firms will be able to utilize devices and equipment for dubbing and graphics work.
The center currently houses three animated film companies, including Dalgona Entertainment and Locus Corporation
The ACA chairman said the new animation center would put more focus on the distribution process of animation pieces than production to bring the animations to various global markets.
The center will also run a series of programs to nurture talents in animation and invite animation directors to give lectures for comic aficionados.
“Jejudo Island, which has experience and know-how in international cooperation, will serve as a foundation for ACA to become a global animation studio,” said Gov. Won Hee-ryong in his speech at the opening ceremony.
The Jejudo Island government will establish an ecological park near the animation center, spending 25 billion won to build a street laden with animation artwork.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com