The Asian Film IndustryNetwork (AFIN) - an initiative that aims to promote Asian film industriesinternationally - was officially launched at the 10th Pusan International FilmFestival this morning (Oct 11).

The network's four foundingmembers include the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), UniJapan, the Vietnam MediaCorporation and the Federation of National Film Association of Thailand. Twoadditional organisations - China Film Promotion International and the SingaporeFilm Commission are attending as official observers with a view to joining at alater date.

Initially proposed in 2002,the network aims to promote Asian film through co-promotion activities atinternational film festivals and markets; exchanging research and film-relateddata; and facilitating international co-productions. Members will meet at leastonce every twelve months.

KOFIC chairperson AnCheong-sook stressed that the network is open to both governmental andnon-governmental organisations involved in the international promotion ofnational cinemas. There are no specific restrictions on the number of memberorganisations per country.

The four founding membershave diverse structures, histories and budgets.

KOFIC was founded by theKorean government in 1973 as the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Corporation(KMPCC) before being restructured in 1999 as a "quasi-autonomous national governmentalorganisation". It has an annual budget of $48m - $15m of which is allocated tofilm investment funds.

UniJapan was established in1957 by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry ofEconomy, Trade and Industry specifically to promote local films abroad. InApril 2005, it merged with the Tokyo International Film Festival and now boastsan annual budget of approximately $2m for promotional activities.

The Federation of NationalFilm Association of Thailand was established in 1990. Its members are divided into 11 categories includingproducers, directors, actors, exhibitors, distributors and critics. It has anannual budget of $250,000 that is raised from its 940 members with additionalfunds raised from the government for specific projects.

Vietnam Media Corporationwas formed by BHD Company in 2003, a private film and television production anddistribution company that controls the rights to films from many of the state-ownedand private film studios in Vietnam.

After the signing ceremony,members privately held their first meeting at which it was decided that KOFICwould head up the network's activities for the next two years.