Busan explodes into postproduction

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BUSAN, South Korea -- Busan mayor Hur Nam-sik, surrounded by a phalanx of dignitaries, pressed a button Friday afternoon that set off a burst of fireworks and colored smoke effects to mark the groundbreaking of the Busan Post Production Facility.

The 32.2 billion won ($35.1 million) facility is being built in the Centum City section of Haeundae, the first stage of construction is to be completed in 2008, and the entire project to be finished by 2011. Boasting four above-ground floors and one underground level, the building is designed to provide Busan with a one-stop shopping for all postproduction needs for film and digital projects -- including editing, CG and sound-recording and mixing.

Calling the building "one of the most fundamental infrastructures for the development of our movie industry," the mayor said, "our city will become known as the next Hollywood in Asia."

Costs of the new building are being shared by the Korean government, which is putting up 12.1 billion won ($13.2 million) and Busan, which is putting up another 12.1 billion. The remaining 8 billion won is being raised in the private sector.

An average of 40 feature films are shot in Busan annually, according to the Busan Film Commission, but they currently have to travel elsewhere for postproduction work. Once completed, the post house hopes to attract filmmakers from throughout Asia.

The ceremony, held on the lot where the facility will be built, included a traditional performance by Taakgi drummers followed by the Busan Police Band.

Veteran Korean director Im Kwon-taek joined the assembled government officials, including members of the city council and representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, is hailing the latest evidence of Busan's growing profile as a film center.
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