U.K., South Korea ink co-prod'n deal

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LONDON -- The government-backed British funding body The U.K. Film Council said Monday it is signing a co-distribution agreement with its South Korean counterpart, the Korean Film Council.

The pact is scheduled to be signed during this year's Pusan International Film Festival, which runs through Oct. 12.

The wide-ranging agreement will see the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) create a $200,000 fund to support prints and advertising costs of U.K. movies distributed in Korea over a two-year period. In return Korean titles will access the same level of support from the U.K. Film Council's Prints & Advertising Fund.

The agreement aims to "assist in the development of audiences and the boxoffice performance potential for the national films of each partner in the others' home markets," the U.K. Film Council said.

During the first two years of the agreement, through data exchange at pilot project stage, the U.K. Film Council and KOIFC will be able to measure and understand the market potential for U.K. films in Korea and Korean films in the U.K.

South Korea is being targeted as one of the key export territories for British films by the U.K.'s Film Export Group and is billed as "one of the fastest growing cinema markets in the world."

Korean Admissions have more than doubled since 2000, from 65 million to 143 million, U.K. Council research shows. With an average ticket price of £3.35 ($6.70) it ranks as one of the top ten most valuable cinema markets in the world.

U.K. Film Council head of international Clare Wise said: "We look forward to finalizing the new co-distribution agreement with the Korean Film Council at Pusan, moving forward in strengthening links between the U.K. and Asian film markets. Beyond supporting British film internationally, the agreement represents an exciting exchange for both film markets with the potential for both economic and cultural benefit."

Pete Buckingham, head of distribution and exhibition for the U.K. Film Council added: "Film distribution is a complex and expensive process that is crucial to the future of a film. We are committed to supporting filmmakers and their films, and giving audiences everywhere more choice in what they see. In the U.K. the appetite for foreign films is well established, and digital structures are facilitating distribution. Now moving from national to international level, we look forward to reciprocity in film distribution between South Korea and the U.K."
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