First major private film studio draws raves on opening day

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First major private film studio draws raves on opening day

When executives of Art Service Studio, a private creative arts concern, announced in May 2002 that they would develop a large studio, the film industry collectively cheered. Although Korea’s film industry had made significant strides over the years, producing up to 50 movies a year, moviemakers continued to voice dissatisfaction with the level of financial support and facilities.
After 15 months under construction, the Art Service Studio opened this week in Paju, Gyeonggi province, about an hour north of Seoul. It is equipped to record the full range of films, music videos and advertisements.
It is also noteworthy in being the first privately owned, large-scale studio built in Korea. Korea’s first studio of considerable size, run by the government’s Korean Film Commission, is about 50 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi province. A handful of smaller studios are sprinkled about the country.
All construction and design needs for movie sets, props and costumes are provided at Art Service, officials said, leading to more efficient production than at smaller studios. Officials anticipate between 50 and 60 movies being produced at the studio each year. The developers tout Art Studio’s proximity to Seoul and Internet access as some of its other advantages over the government-run studio.
Planners’ Entertainment, which founded Art Service in 2001, invested 11.5 billion won ($9.8 million) to develop the 1.6-hectare (4-acre) complex, located amid Paju’s lush “Hills of Reunification” neighborhood.
The studio is divided into three sets, each consisting of an assortment of dressing rooms, conference rooms, waiting rooms and warehouses. Cafeteria facilities can accommodate 100 people at one sitting, and there is even overnight lodging for 70 guests. Each room includes a TV set, makeup table and large windows facing a meadow.
“I’m thrilled with the opening of this state-of-the-art studio,” said Kim Jeong-eun, a popular actress, in a taped broadcast at the opening. “I’m grateful that so much consideration was given to the convenience of staff. It’s a good sign of an improving environment in the film industry, which will ultimately help Korea compete better in the world film market.”
Film industry bigwigs were loathe to miss the 2 p.m. powwow. The crowd included Kim Dong-ho, the chairman of the Pusan International Film Festival, Kim Jeong-sang of Planners and film director Im Gweon-taek. The mayor of Paju, Lee Jun-won, was also on hand, not to mention the actor Ahn Seong-gi.
A few directors wasted no time in taking advantage of the new studio even before it had opened. Production had already begun on three movies, and two TV commercials have already been completed there.

by Park Eun-sil
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