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South Korea Proposes Quotas For Art Movies

South Korea may introduce a theatrical quota system for homegrown art films.

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) floated the proposal Thursday as part of a three-year action plan to promote local films.

The government agency, which is both a regulator and a financier of the industry, said that it may introduce the new system as a variation of the existing screen quota for local movies. These currently require all movie theaters in Korea to screen local films for a minimum of 73 days a year.

With Korean-made films enjoying a more than 50% share of ticket sales in the country the existing quotas currently have little operational impact on theaters.

Details and timetable for adoption of the new quota system for art films has yet to be firmly decided.

“We understand that it is practically impossible to impose the same rules on all exhibitors. Depending on the population of the city where each theater is located, and also the size of the theaters, unique requirements will be imposed,” said KOFIC chairman Kim Sae-hoon at a press conference.

The size and strength of vertically-integrated film conglomerates has often been cited as a problem for the independent sector, which has complained that access to screens is scarce and fleeting. In 2014 two of the biggest companies were fined for monopolistic behavior.

“We should take a very careful approach when setting limits on commercial multiplexes and interfering in market competition,” said Kim Hyun-soo, a KOFIC manager, at Thursday’s press conference. “Instead, we propose (more modest measures) to help art films be stably screened nationwide.”

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