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Japan’s Omega, S. Korean gov’t pact

Joint deal targets game software, film development

TOKYO — Japanese movie production and distribution company Omega Project and the South Korean government will set up a movie and game software development fund that will help finance joint projects between the two countries.

The fund called “Prime Multimedia Fund” will be capitalized at 1 billion yen ($9.3 million) with the South Korean government chipping in 65%, Omega 10% and South Korean venture firms putting up the remaining amount.

The fund for joint production comes as South Korea has opened the door over the past year or so to Japanese entertainment products. Seoul had established a Japanese culture ban after World War II as a result of Japan’s brutal colonization of the Korean Peninsula for most of the first half of the 20th century.

Half of the fund will go to movies and animation and the other half will be used to support game software.

Two Omega projects — “Kuroshiya” (The Killer) and “Majo” (The Witch) — will receive funding from the project. These films are tentatively scheduled to hit theaters in Japan and Korea in the latter half of next year and will also be distributed to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Omega has a subsidiary in South Korea called Starmax, which is one of the biggest video distribution companies in the country.

Other Japanese entertainment companies such as network TBS, which developed a co-produced TV series with a South Korean web, and production company Amuse, which opened an office in Seoul, have led the charge of Japanese entertainment companies reaching over to the newly opened South Korean market.

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