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KOFIC to support 33 Korean-foreign joint productions in 2012

Film council will back small-scale production houses and distributors;
office slated to move to Busan in 2013

The Korean Film Council will be supporting 33 Korean-foreign joint production films this year, as well as small-sale production houses and distributors, its officials announced in a press meeting in Myeong-dong, Seoul, Tuesday.

The council kicked off the 2 billion won project for the 33 joint productions on Tuesday by announcing its official call for submissions. Fifteen applications will be selected for joint production with the U.S., France, and Japan ― five for each country ― while 18 will be chosen for co-production with China.

At least 20 percent of the films’ production costs must be financed by foreign capital, while at least 10 percent must be done locally. The council will support 25 percent of the films’ local budgets.

Once selected, the film producers will be paired up with mentors who will help them translate the Korean scripts into the foreign languages, as well as the editing of their structure so they are more marketable to potential foreign investors.

The council’s film business center in Beijing is slated to open in April, where Korean and Beijing-based producers, writers, and directors can work on their joint projects together.

This year, the council is expanding its business in South America and the Middle East as well. It is planning to hold a film market in Ventana Sur, Argentina, in November, and a special screening of Korean films in Dubai in the summer.

“Sometimes we get buyers from the most unexpected regions of the world,” said Daniel D.H. Park, the director of International Promotion Center of KOFIC.

“We are hoping to meet buyers with diverse tastes and interests (by holding these events.)”

The council has set aside eight billion won for this year’s overseas projects. Aside from the above events, the council is holding “Global Fund Forum” in October, where local and foreign experts will discuss the growing market of Korean-foreign joint production films.

Also starting this year, small and medium-scale production houses and distributors will be given financial support according to their films’ box office performance. Ten million won will be given for any movies by companies that attract at least 100,000 viewers, and a maximum of 70 million won will be given to films that attract three million viewers. The supporting plan only applies to movies that are being released from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 of this year.

“The purpose is to support the houses for their next films,” said an official. “The four major production houses and distributors, CJ, ShowBox, Lotte and NEW will not receive this support.”

Along with Korean Academy of Film Arts, Korea’s leading film school founded by KOFIC in 1984, KOFIC is slated to move its office to Busan in late 2013. The institute plans to sign an MOU with the city later this month for their joint project, which consists of building a 28 billion won film studio in Busan.

“A lot of foreign film crews have expressed interest in shooting in Korea, including ‘Transformers 2,’” said an official. “But they couldn’t do it as Korea does not have big-scale film studios and sites for post-production. We hope the new studio will bring more foreign film projects to Korea.”

By Claire Lee (