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Indie filmmakers obtain help finding distributors with First Link

June 24, 2024 - 17:29 By Moon Ki-hoon
Official poster for First Link (Korean Film Council)

The Korean Film Council is accepting applications, starting July 1, for a support initiative to connect indie filmmakers with distributors, the state-run agency said Monday.

Now in its fourth year, the First Link program aims to bridge the gap between artistic creation and commercial release in the country's vibrant independent cinema scene.

While Korean arthouse cinema has garnered international acclaim, with works like "Breathless" (2008) and "House of Hummingbird" (2018) winning accolades at major film festivals, such indie films often struggle domestically, typically playing on fewer than 30 screens nationwide.

The KOFIC initiative addresses systemic distribution hurdles that Korea's independent filmmakers face. Organized in partnership with Indieground, an institute that supports indie film distribution, First Link provides a comprehensive two-week curriculum that includes workshops on distribution strategies, film releases and marketing tailored to the needs of individual filmmakers.

The program culminates in a two-day session where filmmakers engage in one-on-one business meetings with distributors, offering an opportunity to secure screens and make valuable industry connections.

"Each year, First Link discovers quality films and connects them with audiences," said Han Sang-jun, who chairs KOFIC. "We hope to continue to unveil the potential of our indie film scene."

The program, running Aug. 19-Sept. 4, has doubled its capacity this year to select 30 projects. Looking to attract a wider pool of applicants, KOFIC has also scrapped the requirement of prior directing experience.

Films from any genre are eligible as long as they are feature-length productions completed after January 2023 or slated for completion this year.

Applications are open until July 19 through the Indieground website.