Making room for indies

Korean films finally get their own space

SEOUL — Independent filmmakers in South Korea celebrated the realization of a long-held dream Nov. 8 with the opening of the country’s first theater dedicated to local indies.

Indie Space, a 156-seat screening room located in central Seoul’s Myeongdong district, marks the culmination of a grassroots effort that first began in 2000. Although other venues in South Korea focus on arthouse or specialized product, this will be the first to focus exclusively on independent shorts, documentaries and features made outside of the Korean mainstream system.

South Korea produces 40 features per year with budgets of less than $110,000, of which five to six can expect to receive a commercial release. The launch of Indie Space is expected to boost this number to 17 releases per year.

Operation of the theater will be handled by the Independent Film Distribution Support Center — a body set up by Korean Independent Film & Video — while the venue’s lease and a portion of its operating costs will be funded by an annual $330,000 grant from the Korean Film Council.

Indie Space will focus on hosting theatrical releases of feature-length independent works, guaranteeing each film remain in release for at least two weeks.

Upcoming pics include Yun Seong-ho’s “Milky Way Liberation Front,” which recently premiered at the Pusan Film Festival, and independent comedy “The Sex Film.”

Regularly scheduled screenings of short films will also be offered.

Additionally, plans are in the works to establish a special archive for independent films.

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