Pacific partnership

South Korea, New Zealand in co-prod'n deal

South Korea and New Zealand will sign a film co-production treaty this week, 15 months after producers from both countries began the process.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and South Korea Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yu In-chon will ink the deal today in Wellington, New Zealand, three days before the start of South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival.

The treaty marks the second such formal and comprehensive film agreement for South Korea. The first was signed with France in October 2006. New Zealand is a party to nine such pacts, including treaties with Germany, the U.K. and Canada.

Jane Coombs, New Zealand's ambassador to South Korea, said there already have been impressive examples of Korean-New Zealand collaboration. Perhaps the most visible recent project is U.S.-Korea co-production "The Laundry Warrior," produced by "Lord of the Rings" producer Barrie Osborne, a U.S. resident of New Zealand.

"This treaty will, I am sure, stimulate many new projects," Coombs said.

Pusan is where the ball began rolling in 2005, when Clark signed an Audio Visual Cooperation agreement with Korea. Extensive lobbying from the New Zealand delegation, led by Film Auckland president Pete Rive, culminated in June 2007 with a memorandum of understanding with the Korean Film Producers Assn. (partialdiff)