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Busan to go Ahead With Studio Building

The Busan city government is to go ahead with a project to build new film studios that will open in 2020.

The facilities are smaller than previously planned, but will still be the biggest in South Korea. And they are to be built despite problems with the sale of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) studios near Seoul.

The new complex at the 250,000 m2 Ceramic Village site in Gijang will have two indoor stages (one of 5,610 m2 and the other of 1,650 m2,) and an open set, along with digital production support and post-production facilities.

Backers include the Busan Metropolitan City, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, KOFIC and the Gijanggun ward office.

At one stage the studios were to have cost $172 million, with the city contributing $100 million and KOFIC adding in the proceeds of the sale of its Namgyangju Studios. But as Namgyangju remains unsold the Busan plans have been scaled back. Still they involve KOFIC borrowing $57.6 million (KRW 66 billion) with Namyangju as security for the loan.

Local industry professionals have expressed concern that KOFIC may not be able to sell Namyangju and that it will raid the film development fund (raised from a 3% levy on cinema tickets), in order to repay its debts.

“A world-class film studio that sets a new milestone in the film industry will help Busan enhance its position as a global film city,” said a city spokesperson.

Busan has also been home to the leading film festival in Asia for the past 20 years, but bitter internal fighting between city authorities and festival organizers has recently put the event in some doubt.

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