South Korean Web Giant Naver to Support Indie Cinema

The country's dominant portal agreed with the Association of Korean Independent Film & Video to sponsor and screen Korean indie films.

SEOUL — South Korea's biggest online search engine Naver has signed a pact with the Association of Korean Independent Film & Video (KIFV) to promote local independent films, the partners announced Wednesday.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) covers online services, as well as offline events, such as local independent film festivals.

The two parties will in January launch what they called an "online theater" for screening indie films. They will also create a database for independent filmmakers and actors. They will also co-sponsor local genre events, including the Seoul Independent Film Festival that kicks off Thursday, and the Seoul Independent Documentary Film & Video Festival that will take place in March. Films featured in the festival will be shown on Naver.

Naver is the country's dominant portal, ranking as the most visited site both through personal computers and mobile devices. According to Internet research firm KoreanClick, Naver accounts for over 70 percent of all searches from within Korea, followed by Daum, another local company, at about 20 percent, and Google, with less than 3 percent.

"Naver began online screenings for independent films in 2006, and has been continuously supporting the independent film industry by sponsoring the Asiana International Short Film Festival and other short film events,” said a spokesperson for Naver. “We hope the memorandum of understanding will help develop the local independent film business."