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Treaty between Asian neighbours reflects growing production trend

BUSAN — South Korea and China expect this month to formally sign a film and television co-production treaty.

The two East Asian film powerhouses signed a tentative agreement in June this year.

The move is expected to mean that films made under the treaty will be treated as local, or national, productions in both countries. That would allow films from China to access South Korean subsidies and for South Korean films to escape China’s import quotas.

Sources close to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) say that the treaty is modelled closely on South Korea’s current pact with New Zealand.

Currently few South Korean films are imported into China under the 34 titles per year revenue sharing quota, although there have been moderate commercial successes.

Even in the absence of a treaty the volume of co-ventures are increasing. This year has seen hit romantic drama “A Wedding Invitation” and the effects heavy family film “Mister Go,” which flopped in Korea, but scored well in China.

“Our two countries are geographically close and culturally similar, but we have very different film investment methods,” said Yang Buting, chairman of China’s National Film Capital. “Korean culture and goods such as Kim-chi, Samsung electronics are very much appreciated in China. And the ‘Korean wave’ is very successful.”

Speakers at a seminar in Busan on Monday suggested that a joint fund might be established as a public-private partnership in order to invest in Korean-Chinese pictures.

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