Number of Moviegoers Watching Indie Films On the Rise

Interest in low-budget and indie films are rising slowly but surely in Korea.
And now there's a movement to ensure that indie films don't get swamped amid the flood of commercial movies.
Son Heekyung has more.
Low-budget Korean films barely register a pulse when compared to their brethren in Hollywood or Bollywood.
But figures released by one of Korea's leading multiplex chains show that interest is rising.
In 2006, this indie theater in Seoul attracted more than 300-thousand filmgoers.
That's up 37-percent from a year before.
One screen here among a dozen is dedicated to showing productions made on a shoestring.
The theater's owner says it's in search of a new audience for independent features.

"Low-budget and independent films don't usually draw huge crowds, and that's also the case in Korea. But the state-run Korean Film Council hopes to change that by opening a small movie theater in Seoul later this year, solely dedicated to screening indie films".

Seeking to draw more long-term viewers to indie films, the council has been giving support to theaters nationwide to show small-budget movies.
Now the council will go a step further, building its own indie moviehouse.

"There is no other distribution system for small independent films and now there is an outlet. In my own opinion, if you have the major leagues, you have the minor leagues. You could make your film, show it at these independent cinemas and if people really start to come and see it, you move up to the major leagues".

Last year Korea witnessed a number of successful independent documentaries.
Lee Chang-jae's "Between" dwelt on shamans, while "Bi-sang", dealt with pro soccer players and drew a solid 40-thousand filmgoers.

"There has been a lack of regular commercial releases, releases on theaters for independent films and also on TV. So I think that if there is more opportunity for independent films to screen at regular theaters, then it will help filmmakers.

The film council says small-budget films have long been overshadowed by bigger productions.
But that lopsided relationship, they say, is starting to change.

Son Heekyung, Arirang News.

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