The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has announced it will award a total of $1.82m (KW2.4bn) to the 24 winning projects of its Korean Film Production Support Program and its Korean Film Development Support Program.
All together, the films will receive an accumulative $5.46m in funds, benefits-in-kind (use of equipment, post-production facilities etc) and matching fund investments led by KOFIC.
With a recent drop in local admissions (down 5% year-on-year in 2008) and the local industry complaining of investment difficulties, KOFIC expects the two funding programmes’ 24 films should make up about a third of the 60-70 films that it sees as the ‘reasonable number of productions’ per year for the local industry.
It also expects the 24 films to create approximately 2,500 jobs for the Korean film industry.
KOFIC put together evaluation committees which included directors, scriptwriters, investors, producers and critics.
For the Production Support Program which applies to films with production budgets of KW1bn ($758,500) or less, 307 projects were initially submitted.
Two successive evaluation committees narrowed it down to the final ten winning projects that include Naega Gajang Yepbutseultdae (literal translation: When I Was Prettiest), to be produced by Doosaboo Film (My Boss, My Hero) and Nomusee (literal translation: No Mercy) to be produced by Jack Film.
The evaluation committee members stated: ‘The surprising number of projects [submitted] shows vividly how difficult it is to produce Korean films these days.’
They also noted the value of putting investors on the committees because the process allowed them to get an overview and to track potential opportunities for investment - something which is harder to do in the case of low-budget indies as opposed to mainstream commercial contenders.
For the Development Support Program, 14 projects out of 439 made the final cut. The two cycles of evaluation started with a blind screening process where committee members judged the projects only on the merit of their scripts and/or treatments in order to avoid bias or conflict of interest; they later added in the potential for quality completion according to who was involved in the projects by looking at backgrounds and doing interviews.
The final ten including Jeonguk Noraejarang (rough translation: Nationwide Song Contest), to be produced by comedian/producer Lee Kyung-kyu (Highway Star), and Musaneun Ibee Upda (literal translation: A Warrior Has No Mouth) to be produced by Eunsuk Film.