Korean Film Council unveils initiative


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BERLIN -- The Korean Film Council announced an initiative Thursday in Berlin to support the overseas release of Korean films.

In a bid to expand foreign audiences for Korean pictures, the KOFIC P&A Fund for Korean Films Abroad, as the program is known, will cover up to 50% of the cost of theatrical distribution abroad for qualifying films.

A budget of 400 million won ($420,000) is available for the initiative, with a cap of $105,000 allowed per film.

Feature-length dramas, documentaries and animation projects made in Korea, or co-produced with Korea as the main producing country, are eligible for support beginning in March, when the fund launches.

"At the moment, the importance of foreign markets is increasing as Korea's domestic market is taking a downward turn," KOFIC said. "Thus such a funding initiative is expected to greatly vitalize the Korean movie scene, which is trying to advance into foreign markets."

A forerunner to the program already is in place in the U.K., where KOFIC is providing support for the release of five films as part of a co-distribution agreement signed last year with the U.K. Film Council to support the release of Korean films.

Four Korean titles will unspool at this year's Berlinale, including the competition film "Night and Day," from Hong Sangsoo; the Panorama entry "Beautiful," from Juhn Jai-hong; the documentary "Grandmother's Flower" by Mun Jeong-hyun (Forum); and the short film "Light My Fire" by Lee J.P.