South Korea's government is gettingbehind the push towards digital cinema, pledging $33.2m to speed up the filmindustry's transition to digital.

In a report published this week titled 'Plans and Visions for theCulture Industry,' the Ministry of Culture and Tourism earmarked the fundsfor 2005-2007 to stimulate research, support the installation of digitalprojectors, and convert films held in the Korean Film Archive to digitalformat.

The Ministry cited the potential cost savings and environmental benefitsof digital cinema -- Korea spends $30.4m a year producing prints -- as well asthe added ease of bringing digital films to underscreened rural areas.

Independent and arthouse releases will also be encouraged to takeadvantage of the format.

'Once standards emerge and a workable system is developed, we willfirst establish a distribution network in the ArtPlus chain of arthousetheatres,' says Park Chang-in of the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).