U.K., Korea councils pact for P&A

Funds designed to boost films' stock in other's market

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

The pact is scheduled to be signed during the Pusan International Film Festival, which runs through Friday.

The wide-ranging agreement will see the Korean Film Council 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 other's home markets," the U.K. Film Council said.

During the first two years of the agreement, through data exchange at the 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 by the U.K.'s Film Export Group as one of the key export territories for British films 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. Film Council research shows. With an average ticket price of £3.35 ($6.70), it ranks as one of the top 10 most valuable cinema markets in the world.

"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," said U.K. Film Council head of international Clare Wise. "Beyond supporting British film internationally, the agreement represents an exciting exchange for both film markets with the potential for both economic and cultural benefit."

Added Pete Buckingham, head of distribution and exhibition at the U.K. Film Council: "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 the national to international level, we look forward to reciprocity in film distribution between South Korea and the U.K."