Agreement is country's first film co-production treaty

South Korea and France signed a co-production treaty in a ceremony Friday in Seoul.

Pact allows co-productions to qualify as local films in both countries, enabling them to tap into public funding and to fulfill screen and TV quotas.

The agreement, which had been under negotiation since 2003, is South Korea’s first film co-production treaty, although it has co-operation agreements with Canada and New Zealand. France has treaties with more than 30 countries.

South Korea plans to pursue agreements with Canada, Australia, China, Brazil and other territories.

French culture minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres also took time during his trip to Seoul to present Korean director Lee Chang-dong with a Legion d’Honneur medal, the highest order presented by the French government.

Lee, who won a director award at Venice in 2002 for “Oasis,” was South Korea’s minister of culture and tourism during 2003-04. He is in production on his fourth film, “Secret Sunshine.”

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