- Volume 7 Issue 5
The screen quota system is one of the most controversial issues in the Korean film industry. There are two different points of view regarding the system. Some say it is highly effective to protect and nurture Korean movies. However, others argue that it hurts the duality of the Korean movies. The number of days, for which Korean movies have to play on local screens, has been reduced to 73, starting on July 1st, 2006. Actually, it is 50 percent fewer than the previous year. In facL Korea has implemented the screen quota. system two times. First, it was practiced from 1935 to 1945, during the Japanese colonial period. This was to regulate imported movies, especially American ones, as the Japanese government was to use movies for the political propaganda. In 1935, the number of foreign movies screened had to be less than three fourths of the total. And they gradually reduced the size by two thirds in 1936, and again by half in 1937. After the attack on Pearl Harbor when the Pacific War happened, Japan completely banned importing American movies in Korea. The reason why it regulated the imported foreign films is to increase the number of domestic movies, both Japanese and Korean. It was for making propaganda films fur carrying the war. The second practice of the screen quota is from 1967 to the present year. It was designed to boom the Korean film industry. However, the competitive power of Korean films has not been improved in spite of the practice of the system. Moreover, the film industry has gone through the depression. Korean film agencies have occupied the Korean film market thanks to the protection by government. The founding of the film agencies has been strongly regulated. So has importing foreign movies. Under the special protection like this, Korean film agencies have been enjoying the monopoly In the mean time, they have pursued income not by making quality movies but by importing foreign movies. As a result, cinema audiences turn away form Korean films and prefer foreign movies. Furthermore, the screen quota system hurts the relationship between film producers and distributors, imposing the duties only on theaters. In short, the screen quota system has satisfied neither film producers, theater runners, nor film goers. In other words. the excessive protection has weakened the competitive power of Korean film industry.