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S. Korea to consider quota for screening domestic art films

All Headlines 16:32 March 10, 2016

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) -- The government will consider introducing a system for mandating movie theaters to fill part of their screening time with domestic arthouse films, a government film agency said Thursday.

The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) unveiled the idea as part of its three-year plan starting this year to promote local films.

The Korean film industry has emerged as a leader in the global boom of Korean pop culture, a phenomenon known as "hallyu," but is gradually losing its vigor due to the saturated domestic market and excessive dependence on ticket sales.

The screen dominance of big commercial films in multiplex theaters run by large conglomerates over small, arthouse films has also been cited as a major problem in the industry.

South Korea currently has a screen quota system to protect local films from big-budget Hollywood flicks. The system requires theaters to fill 73 days a year of their screening time with domestic films.

The council said it will be able to extend the rule so that part of the quota can be used for screening arthouse films.

Still, the government will have to hear opinions from interested parties and experts before deciding whether to introduce the system, it said.

"It is our position at the working level that it is practically impossible to impose the same rules at all theaters. We're studying ways to have them carry out different requirements based on the population of the city where a theater is located and the size of the theater, etc.," Kim Se-hoon, chief of the council, said during a news conference to announce the three-year plan.

The KOFIC also said it will create separate funds for investing in films using computer graphics and visual effects and medium-sized films with a production cost of about 50 billion won (US$41.58 million) to cultivate locally based visual effects companies and ease the widening disparity between big and low-budget films.

sshim@yna.co.kr
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