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New Zealand Film Festival Planned for South Korea

New Zealand Film Festival Planned for South Korea

1 February 2005 -- An inaugural festival of New Zealand films planned for South Korea this year is likely to further develop the promising relationship between the two countries’ film industries and boost New Zealand’s profile in South Korea, says New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Trade Commissioner Andrew French.

Around half a dozen New Zealand films will feature in the Seoul festival in October 2005.

“With Korean film-makers choosing New Zealand for shooting feature films and commercials, and a film co-production agreement currently being negotiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the relationship between the countries continues to go from strength to strength,” says Mr French.

South Korea is New Zealand’s fifth largest export market with exports totalling $1.171billion (October 2004).

“Initiatives such as this build up New Zealand’s profile in a sophisticated consumer market. They give us a platform for talking up our successes and provide valuable networking opportunities for businesses,” says Mr French.

Activities are being planned around the event aimed at highlighting New Zealand innovation and creativity across a range of sectors – from film to food and wine.

Mr French says the Korean film industry was booming, with in excess of 100 million moviegoers recorded last year. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of The Rings: Return of the King was the most watched foreign film of all time (6 million people), while the Korean war movie Silmido, partly filmed in New Zealand and seen by 10 million people, was the nations’ second-most popular film of all time.

“New Zealand as a film destination is becoming increasingly popular among Korean film-makers who choose New Zealand not only for its stunning locations but also for the quality of its post-production work. Besides, Silmido, Old Boy the winner of the Jury Grand Prix at Cannes, and Antarctic Journal were filmed in New Zealand.”

Mr French says that New Zealand was also becoming popular for producers of Korean music videos and TV commercials. Large Korean companies, including SK Telecom, Hyundai, Ottogi and Ildong Foodis, have all recently shot commercials in New Zealand.

In October 2004, NZTE supported a New Zealand delegation’s visit to Korea’s Busan International Film Commission and Industry Showcase (BIFCOM), a trade fair associated with the Pusan festival that featured two New Zealand films: In My Father’s Den and Eating Sausage.

The delegation made a presentation during BIFCOM to around 80 key film industry contacts. The delegation included representatives from Investment New Zealand, Film New Zealand, The Film Unit, Park Road Post, Digital Post, BeachFront Films New Zealand, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and Korea Cinerama Trust.

The Seoul festival is a reciprocal event to the inaugural Korean Film Festival held in Auckland in October 2004.

As well exposing the New Zealand public to Korean films, the festival was ideal for bringing the film industries of the two countries together says Richard Duncan of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The foundation provided seed financing for the Auckland festival, and is involved in planning for Pusan and Seoul.

“The festivals are great projects for the foundation to be involved with. They have the cultural elements – film is a great mode for conveying culture, history and politics – but also the business element,” says Mr Duncan.

“What we wanted to do was use these festivals as a point in time every year for not just showcasing our cultures but to bring the film industries together.”

Mr Duncan said a delegation from New Zealand will travel to the Seoul festival to meet South Korean directors and producers and visit sets, studios and post-production facilities.

“At this level what we’re trying to do is get them together to bounce creative ideas around and consider ways of working together. Out of that hopefully come some projects.”

Mr Duncan said the film festivals were an important way of ensuring New Zealand kept a very high profile with the Korean industry in what is a competitive global market.

The foundation, NZTE and a range of agencies with a stake in the industry are working together on planning for the festivals.


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