The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has slashed its overall programme budget by 25% from last year's $42.48m (KW65.8bn) to $32.73m for 2009.

However, it has also overhauled its investment strategy in an attempt to counter falling profits and investment in the Korean film industry and piracy in ancillary markets.

The organisation will now focus on stabilising investment, developing distribution structures, helping Korean films expand their global reach and filmmaking professionals to hone their skills.

  • Stabilising investment:

KOFIC says it will give less direct support to individual films while expanding indirect support by participating in mid-size investment funds with $6.6m (KW10bn) and funds for independent films with $1.7m (KW2.5bn).

The organisation plans to invest $1.5m (KW2.2bn) in international co-production film funds, details to be announced.

Notably, KOFIC has set aside $2m (KW3bn) to invest in 'cultural contents development agencies' which will make use of original contents such as novels and manga to adapt into films.

The organisation will still provide support for individual film projects, especially including low-budget films with budgets of $660,000 (KW1bn) or less, and projects from directors with notable track records at international film festivals.

  • Developing distribution structures:

Towards protecting rights holders and creating profits, KOFIC will introduce anti-piracy technology and create an Integrated Ancillary Market Database to keep track of profits arising from different on-line and off-line platforms, as well as standardising business practices and creating transparency.

The organization estimates taking illegal downloading and turning it into legitimate business will create $52.9m-$130.5m in profits.

  • Aiding Korean films toexpand global reach:

To expand the reach of Korean films in major overseas markets, KOFIC will invest in a film's theatrical distribution - up to 50% of the distribution budget or KW100m, taking back profits of only up to the amount of KOFIC's original investment. (For details see

KOFIC will continue to support Korean films and filmmakers with subtitling and marketing support; also aiding festivals to curate Korean cinema special sections and retrospectives while running KOFIC's own Korean cinema showcases in China, Japan and a yet-to-be-announced third country this year.

The organisation will open umbrella stands and support sales companies at markets such as Cannes, EFM, the upcoming Hong Kong Filmart, the Asian Film Market in Pusan and TIFFCOM.

  • Improving filmmaking professionals' skills:

The organisation is putting an emphasis on digital cinema with programmes for technical R&D and training. This includes an International Technology Exchange that will provide training to lesser-developed nations in Asia, with an aim to create a global network.

KOFIC will also run a Script Market, providing support to filmmakers developing projects, and in addition to its Film Development Lab for mentoring ethnic Korean filmmakers and developing international co-productions, KOFIC will launch a Documentary Development Lab (DDL) with the same aim.