The Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet), a linking oforganisations in Asia that provide shooting support services, received itsofficial launch on Sunday at the Pusan International Film Festival.

The network's major goals are to encourage information sharingamong members, to collaborate in marketing the Asian region as an attractiveshooting location, and to encourage the professional development of its membersthrough educational activities.

Apart from assisting film crews with customs, visas, shootingpermits and a myriad of other tasks, AFCNet also hopes to give a boost to localfilm industries.

"These days, hardly any film made in Europe is not across-border co-production," noted Kamil Othman of Malaysia's MultimediaDevelopment Corporation. "We hope tocreate an environment in Asia where more international co-productions cannaturally take place."

AFCNet's Board of Directors point to Cambodia as an exampleof the indirect benefits brought by the network. After hosting Korean military horror film R-Point earlier this year, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture andArt of Cambodia Hm. M. Sarith attended AFCNet's General Assembly as anobserver, and intends to launch a film commission in 2005.

Meanwhile the Vladivostok Film Commission in Russia, set tohost big-budget Korean action film Typhoonthis winter, says it will draw heavily on the network for support. "Even though AFCNet is quite young, it willprovide us with tremendous assistance in hosting this project," said VFCdirector Alexander Doluda.

A total of 18 film commissions from Japan, South Korea,China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Russia have joined the network as full members,with 22 additional organisations signing on as observers.