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Korean helmers reject coin for quotas

Filmmakers, politicians debate future of local film industry

SEOUL — Quotas and regulations remain a hot topic in South Korea, as filmmakers and politicians debate the future of the local film industry.

On Tuesday, the Korea Film Directors Society issued a statement rejecting a $674 million support package proposed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The coin was offered as compensation for this year’s cut in South Korea’s screen quota for local films, which halved the number of days that cinemas must show local films to 73 per year.

Filmmakers demanded the restoration of the screen quota to its original level and called for a new film promotion fund.

The signatories also called for a major restructuring of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) to cut political influence over the organization.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the minority Democratic Labor Party have proposed a limit on wide releases of local and imported films to 30% of the nation’s screens.

Recent blockbuster hits such as Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host,” which topped out at 617 prints, have drawn controversy by occupying vast numbers of screens.

The proposal is considered to have a slim chance of being incorporated into the latest revisions of the Film Promotion Law, which lays out the country’s film policies.

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