The number of feature film production in South Korea dropped in the first eight months, as the coronavirus disrupted travel, commerce and finance.
According to data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the number of films made dropped from 23 between January and August last year, to just 18 in 2020.
The country was one of the first to be hit by the virus outbreak, but with the exception of a few notable hot spots, seemed to have good success at quashing the spread of the disease through widespread testing, aggressive contact tracing and largely closed borders.
That seeming success allowed several productions to start or re-start, and Netflix executives at in April said that Korea was only one of three places in the world where it was able to shoot. And cinemas reopened.
Fantasy film “Wonderland,” directed by Kim Tae-yong and starring Gong Yoo and Tang Wei, began shooting in April. Disaster film “Emergency Declaration,” starring Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun, began in May.
But since then further outbreaks have occurred causing new impact to the film and TV industries. KOFIC said that no films started production in June, and only three, including the crime thriller “Limit,” began in July and August. It also reported that “Emergency Declaration” had been shut down after a staff member was revealed to have contracted the disease on Aug. 31. Among the titles currently delaying their start is “Apgujeong Report” starring Ma Dong-seok.
South Korea reported 126 new infections on Friday, bringing its cumulative total to 22,783. The government has tightened distancing guidelines, banning indoor gatherings of 50 or more people and outdoor events with 100 or more. With the upcoming Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holidays coming at the end of the month, there is fear of another wave of infection.
That fear recently caused the Busan International Film Festival to delay its start by two weeks. All being well, it will now run Oct. 21-30.
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