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Korea gets new pic hub

18 firms committed to development of new zone

SEOUL — South Korean film companies may be gravitating to a new hub outside of Seoul.

A total of 18 firms have already committed to the development of a 170-acre stretch of land in Paju, located 20 miles northwest of Seoul, close to the North Korean border. A similar zone developed in the early 1990s has remade the city into a hub for book publishers.

Companies committed to the new zone, expected to be completed in 2008, include leading production houses Sidus FNH, MK Pictures, iFilm Corp., LJ Film, Kim Ki-duk Film, Moho Films (headed by “Oldboy” director Park Chan-wook), and Chungeorahm, producer of blockbuster hit “The Host.” They will be joined by 56 publishers and 26 printing firms.

Paju already houses the studio complex Art Service, and has become a trendy area for many filmmakers and artists to live.

Several years ago the city of Seoul tried to set up a similar development zone near its World Cup stadium, but this effort was ultimately abandoned.

The central government, meanwhile, is committed to moving governmental orgs the Korean Film Council and the Korea Media Ratings Board to the southeastern port city of Busan, home of the Pusan Film Festival.

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