×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

South Korea

Buyers seek outside help

SEOUL — After a mid-decade boom, Korean cinema has slowed down as it faces the after-effects of a burst bubble in film finance. The scale of local production dropped sharply in 2007, with midsize films in particular struggling to find investment. However, low-budget films shot for less than $1 million, many of which receive support from the Korean Film Council (Kofic), are becoming more common. One representative example is acclaimed director Yoon Jong-chan, who after the $10 million “Blue Sparrow” is shooting his third film on a shoestring budget.

Local film industry execs aren’t optimistic that the situation will improve in the near future. Instead of producing local films, they just choose to buy foreign ones. “There are too many Korean buyers who look forward to acquiring movies. Due to the rivalry, sellers don’t close the deal in order to hike prices after the asking price is accepted. That’s not fair,” Sponge prexy David Cho says.

With production crews finding it more difficult to line up well-paying work, now would seem an ideal time for Korea to market itself as an international shooting location. Although the territory has yet to attract a major international production, interest from overseas is rising, with an increasing number of producers flying to Seoul to explore the possibilities offered by the city’s 25% rebate on in-city spending (capped at $100,000). Among these is an untitled Channing Tatum project being pushed by Fox Atomic and producer Roy Lee, who says he is keen to open more eyes in Hollywood to Korea’s potential as a shooting location.

SOUTH KOREA STATS
FILM FINANCE AT A GLANCE
Total film production spend in 2007:
$490 million
Anticipated production spend for 2008: Insiders are predicting a drop — anywhere from 30% or more. Kofic declined to speculate.

INCENTIVES
Seoul city provides a 25% rebate on in-city shooting, capped at $100,000. Incentives also cover airfare/accommodation for location scouting. Kofic provides $220,000 to two international co-productions per year. The Busan Film Commission also has a small fund that may be made available to foreign shoots.

WEB
Seoul Film Commission:
seoulfc.or.kr
Busan Film Commission: bfc.or.kr
Korean Film Council: kofic.or.kr/english

B.O. STATS
Top film:
“D-War,” $57 million
Total B.O.: $1.05 billion* (158.8 million admissions)
Total number of releases: 112
*estimated

PICKUPS
“Frozen River,” Jin Jin Pictures
“Happy-Go-Lucky,” Sponge
“Run,” Ssamzie Entertainment
“Knowing,” Mars Entertainment
“The Box,” Eureka Pictures

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Benjamin Wallfisch - scoring session, Abbey

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch Signs With Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency

    Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency (GSA) for worldwide representation, in partnership with London-based agency COOL Music Ltd. A top composer, whose scoring credits include “It Chapter Two,” Shazam!” Hellboy,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hostile Planet,” among others, Wallfisch has worked on over 75 feature films and is a member of the BAFTA [...]

  • The Moneychanger

    Toronto Film Review: ‘The Moneychanger’

    Uruguayan auteur Federico Veiroj (“The Apostate,” “Belmonte”) broadens his usual intimate dramatic scope to diminishing returns for his fifth feature, “The Moneychanger,” . Adapted from a novella by compatriot Juan Enrique Gruber, the period (mid-1950s to mid-1970s) tale centers on the eponymous character, an amoral currency exchanger, who winds up laundering some of the dirtiest [...]

  • Send Me to the Clouds

    Film Review: ‘Send Me to the Clouds’

    The social and economic pressures felt by China’s “leftover women” — referring to those older than 26 and unmarried — are examined in “Send Me to the Clouds,” a rewarding dramedy about a 30-ish journalist seeking financial reward and sexual fulfillment after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Bold by mainland standards for presenting a positive [...]

  • Jamie Bell Without Remorse

    Jamie Bell Joins Michael B. Jordan in 'Without Remorse' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to join Michael B. Jordan in Paramount’s adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse.” Stefano Sollima, who most recently helmed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” is directing from a script by “Sicaro” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan. As previously announced, Jordan is starring as operations officer John Clark, also known [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Todd Phillips Joaquin Phoenix Joker Movie

    What's Woker Than 'Joker'? Film Critics Made Everything Political at Fall Festivals

    “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” asks Joaquin Phoenix, playing a deranged incel version of the DC supervillain in “Joker,” the unconventional comic book movie that’s sucked up much of the air from the fall festival circuit. Like an aggro caricature of the “involuntary celibates” who troll message boards online, [...]

  • Running Against the Wind

    Young Africans' Dreams Are Focus of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda Oscar Picks

    Films about young Africans trying to fulfill their dreams in the face of war, poverty, tradition and other forms of adversity have been submitted for Oscar consideration by three East African nations. The selections by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda to compete in the international feature film category reflect the relative youth of filmmaking in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content