Q&A with Korea Film Commissions and Industry Network

"Our organisation functions as a nationwide mutual-assistance system and can connect foreign productions with regional film commissions at any time."

By Sponsored Content 8 Mar 2024

Q&A with Korea Film Commissions and Industry Network
XO Kitty; Cr: Seoul Film Commission/Nine Tailed Fox/Netflix

From Oscar-winning films like Bong Joon-Ho's Parasite to bingeable K-dramas, domestic and international Netflix series such as Squid Game and XO Kitty, Korea has long been a go-to destination for high end international productions, in addition to maintaining its reputation as a country with its own films and TV series.  

In 2004, a network of six Korean film commissions joined together to form the Korea Film Commission. Six years later, this group was renewed and became the  Korea Film Commissions and Industry Network (KFCIN), expanding membership to the Korean Film Producers Association (KFPA), Corea Drama Production Association (CODA), Producers Guild of Korea (PGK) and Federation of Korean Movie Workers’ Union (FKMWU).

Sumin Seo, KFCIN's international affairs team manager, explains how the network supports incoming and domestic productions, and maintains Korea as a sought after destination for the biggest international productions.

What are KFCIN’s mission statement and ethos, and how do you follow through with them in the services you? 

One of our missions is to market Korea internationally as a film-friendly filming location. Therefore, we strive to provide accurate information to overseas filmmakers who want to film in Korea. This includes guidance on obtaining film permits, as well as information on available incentives and infrastructures.

KFCIN connects foreign productions to the local film industry, from location coordinators and line producers to production service companies. We act as an interface between the regional film commissions and the international productions during the initial phase of location scouting. In addition, we operate a location scouting tour support program for projects planning to film in Korea.  

XO Kitty; Cr: Seoul Film Commission/Nine Tailed Fox/Netflix

How have recent developments to the incentive program impacted productions coming in? 

Starting this year, the Korea Film Council’s (KOFIC) location incentive program has expanded its eligibility to include not only foreign audio-visual works but also co-productions with Korea. Recently, as the number of foreign productions wishing to co-produce with Korea has increased, KOFIC has changed its criteria so that co-produced projects with Korea can also benefit from its location incentive program.

What specialist services do you provide that make KFCIN a valuable partner in the beginning steps of a production? 

Two types of tour programs are operated by KFCIN to introduce Korean filming locations to foreign filmmakers: the familiarisation tour and scouting tour.
The former is a group tour program that is designed to showcase various filming locations across Korea to international location managers, executives, and other film professionals interested in shooting in Korea. It was temporarily put on hold during the pandemic but is scheduled to resume in 2024. In 2019, French producers were invited to not only tour but also hold a networking event with Korean producers.

The latter offers financial support for location scouting in Korea to directors, assistant directors, producers, D.O.Ps, production designers, or location managers of international projects planning to shoot in Korea. This support covers round-trip airline tickets for up to two people (economy class), accommodation for up to six nights, logistical services of a domestic location coordinator, and a rental car for five days. 

XO Kitty; Cr: Seoul Film Commission/Nine Tailed Fox/Netflix

What is the most challenging element KFCIN face during attracting foreign projects to film in Korea?

I think it would be the budget size of Korean incentive programs. While the budget size of Korean incentive programs is relatively smaller than those in Europe, North America, and several Asian countries, being able to combine national and regional incentives can be an advantage. In addition, since both national and regional incentive programs are based on a cash-rebate system, the refund process is swift, taking less than 1.5 months after the submission of the final settlement documents. 

The reason Hollywood and European productions continue to choose Korea despite the small incentive budgets is due to the ease of filming in Korea made possible by the high-quality Korean crews and full support from regional film commissions. Korea houses 14 commissions across almost every region of the country.

Furthermore, our organisation functions as a nationwide mutual-assistance system, can connect foreign productions with regional film commissions at any time.  

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