Korea's Ministry of Culture and Tourism is establishing a $400m Korean FilmDevelopment Fund to run over five years.

The plan was announced by Minister of Cultureand Tourism Jeong Dong-chae this morning (Jan 27) as a counter-measureto the halving of Korea's Screen Quota and strong industry protests.

The support plan will createa $400m fund - with $200m coming from the national treasury and the other $200mcoming from a 5% tax levied on film tickets. The national treasury will pay outthe $200m over two years starting in 2007 and the ticket tax will be put intoforce starting Jan 1, 2007.

Minister Jeong stated thegovernment wanted to move "beyond passive market protection" with a moreaggressive development policy that would increase diversity and internationalcompetitiveness. "The government considers the film industry a future coreindustry," he said.

The minister cited a bevy ofcore issues to address concerning the film industry such as tax breaks forinvestors, support for the production and distribution of independent/arthousefilms, improvement of working conditions for production crews and the creationof a centre for overseas promotion strategies and co-productions.

The minister askedfilmmakers to "gather their wisdom" and work with the government to solve theseproblems, not neglecting to cite the adjustment of profit-sharing rates betweenproducers and exhibitors, which are 50:50 for US films while 40:60 for Koreanfilms, with only 40% of box office profit going to the producer.

Korea's 146-day Screen Quota was first enforced in 1996, after the Koreanfilm market was flooded with foreign imports following a 1985 lifting ofrestrictions. The government announced yesterday (Jan 26) that it was finallybowing to US trade pressure and reducing the quota by half.