The Visiting Report of KO-PRODUCTION IN PARIS 2010
KO-PRODUCTION is KOFIC’s new brand name to vitalize international co-production.
KO-PRODUCTION has started in Paris, France(July) and will be held in major cities around the world like Tokyo, Japan(Sep.), Beijing, China(Sep.) and LA, USA(Nov.). KOFIC hope the interchange of international co-producion will become more active.
By KIM Yo-hwan
KO-PRODUCTION IN PARIS 2010 was held as a section of Festival Paris Cinema for 5 days. Participating with a total of 8 films; 4 Korean films and 2 French films and 1 Czech Republic film and 1 Luxembourg film, they introduced their projects and discussed the development of their projects with 2 Korean mentors and 2 French mentors.
To be more specific, for Korean films, Daniel H. BYUN’s Café Rivoli , LEE Chul-ha’s Camino de Santiago , MIN Kyu-dong’s Dance with the Shadows and KIM Kyunghyung’s Somalia participated on the project and Jason CHAE, the president of Mirovision and Jonathan Hyong-joon KIM, the president of Dyne film attended as Korean mentors. For French films, KIM Heejung’s Grape Candy and Jun GORDON’s The Other Side of a Dark Memory attended on the project, and producer Gilles Chanial of Dobari from Luxembourg and Pawns from Czech Republic also participated. Unfortunately, the producer of Pawns couldn’t attend due to sudden illness. For French mentors, French producer Guillaume de SEILLE, who co-produced ZHANG Lu’s Dooman River and a French producer Laurent LAVOLE who co-produced Ounie LECOMTE’s A Brand New Life were in
attendance to share their experiences.
As the actual program began on July 4, the day after arriving, the scheduled programs were so busy for 4 long days that we couldn’t even have our personal schedule. Furthermore, because daytime is getting longer in Paris, dinners were often delayed, and in fact we finished all the schedule of the day around midnight at one point. The programs can be divided into 4 categories.
First, lecture and seminar, presentations and Q&A sessions were offered from KOFIC, CNC, Cine Regio (European Cinema Fund), ACE (European Producer Community) and French film and DVD distributors.
Second, 4 Korean and 4 European films were pitched, and mentoring and discussion were provided with mentors.
Third, case studies of 3 Korea-France joint productions, including Dooman River, A Brand New Life and The Housemaid , last of which was a participant project in 2009.
Fourth, individual meetings for each project with film productions and distributors of France and other European countries and they introduced their projects through the meetings within 30 minutes.
1. Among those lectures and seminars, the lectures of CNC and Cine Regio were notable. In case of CNC, the lecture was about how a project could be certified as a French film and its benefits and Cine Regio’s lecture was about introducing local French funds and other European countries and a way to apply. Above all, for Korean participants who are considering a joint production with France, the local funds like ile de France was very attractive. Nevertheless, because it must use local equipments or sets or postproduction facility in order to apply, it must be a dilemma between fulfilling the requirements and getting the fund. Also, ACE’s lecture about the tax incentive of Europe wasn’t appealing because it is difficult for Korean participants to receive benefits from the system. Finally, the lecture of French film distributors and DVD distributors about Korean films in the French film market was helpful to understand why the box office results of Korean films in the French market are so different from those in Korean market. We came to understand that totally different marketing strategies are being applied in the French market due the low recognition of Korean actors.
2. The individual project pitches were presented in both Korean and French. Rather than using English for the session, using both native languages interpreted by a translator was a better way to deliver what they wanted to say precisely. For pitching sessions, Korean participants seemed to prepare well. They presented their projects in well-organized manner in PowerPoint presentation, while French and other participants relied mostly on speech alone. Excluding Pawns from Czech Republic, 3 European films are set in Korea and the director of Grape Candy is Korean director KIM Hee-jung of The Wonder Years and the director of The Other Side of a Dark Memory is a Korean-French. That means although European participants brought a project related to Korea, the projects weren’t fully prepared or developed. All of Korean projects are commercial films with budgets over 2 billion won, while French mentors are producers who worked on projects like Dooman River and A Brand New Life, supported by local funds so that they mostly focused on how to get a support from local funds. Thus, it was hard to share commercial approach to the projects with them.
3. Taking Dooman River as a case study of a joint production between Korea and France, the minimum point to be certified as a French film is 25 out of 100 points but Dooman River scored only 21 points due to its artistic element. I was worried that it might cause some trouble because the project didn’t receive permission from the Chinese government. The Korean partner of the film wasn’t there so that we couldn’t get a definite answer about the mutual roles in the joint production.
In case study of A Brand New Life , the Korean partner producer LEE Dong-ha of NOW Film attended so that we could get a clear answer for that. LEE said that a joint production of Korea and France itself didn’t help to get a local fund in France. In fact, the production went smoothly after one of the French distributor decided to distribute and DCG Plus in Korea decided to get involved as the main investor. According to the case study, to get 25 points to be certified as a French film, mixing and music had to be done in France and principal photography and editing can be done in Korea. What should be mentioned is, including both films, there is no existing guideline for investment and allocation in joint production. It depends on how the contract is done. Above all, in France, there is no incentive for production companies when a film does well at the box office because the distributors reduce the profit by raising P&A cost.
While there is a clear allocation rate between investor-production and cinemadistributor in Korea, here in France there’s no such rate. (Or there is another rule we might not understand). The producers were saying it depends on each contract, and it was hard to figure out the entire French profit sharing structure. I think we should research further on this matter because without understanding this portion fully, it will be difficult to reach an agreement for a practical joint production.
4. After lunch, we switched gear individual meetings. I was scheduled with 8 meetings but in fact only 4-5 teams showed up. Among them, there was a media-related company (Gaialand), a video-related company (Blaq Out) and an international sales agency (Le Pacte). While pitching them, I was sometimes embarrassed with some unexpected questions, but I got accustomed to doing it as the pitchings went on. As participants sought after co-partners to make their films in a frame of commercial approach, they wanted to meet more commercial film productions.
Compared to last year, this year’s accommodation was satisfactory and the seminar room in the hotel was big enough to work in it. We all appreciated the support.
Meanwhile, Korean participants in the project were focusing on finding a film production with a commercial approach so that they wanted to connect with commercial French film productions through individual meetings or as mentors. And the schedule was so busy that we couldn’t have time to organize and regroup after a full day. I think this should be adjusted next year.
I hope KO-PRODUCTION IN PARIS 2010 will be a good start in the right direction for all participants and Korea-France joint production. And KO-PRODUCTION IN PARIS 2011 will be a better opportunity for Korean films and joint production projects with France and European countries.
KO-PRODUCTION IN SHANGHAI RECONFIRMING THE POTENTIAL FOR TECHNICAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN KOREA AND CHINA
By PARK Ji-in
Ko-Production event held in China this year was proceeded in two ways. Unlike Ko-Production in Beijing which focused mainly on the Korea-China co-production project announcements, Ko-Production in Shanghai was held with the main aim of introducing Korean film production technology firms to China and promoting their exchange.
For this purpose, Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has set up Korean Film Center in Shanghai International Film Festival Film Mart from July 14 to 16, making overall promotion of Korean films with 12 other companies and arranging meetings between Korean firms and Chinese film companies.
Companies that took part this year include Wavelab STD (audio post-production), Studio SH and Mong&Works (sound companies), and total post-production house Moneff that handles editing and CG among others, as well as CJ, Showbox and Mirovision, that held meetings with Chinese counterparts regarding co-productions and sales of Korean films.
KOFIC’s China branch had arranged a total of 63 meetings in advance, and the final meetings totaled 125, proving the heat at the scene. As a result, Korean booth was one of the busiest corners in Film Mart, and PR materials ran out early in the process showing how eager people were to know about Korean production firms and agencies.
As most of the participants were first-timers in China, instant contracts weren’t made at the scene. Nevertheless enough confirmation was made on the potential of Chinese market and future Korea-China technology exchange.
KO-PRODUCTION IN TOKYO PROJECTS(SEP. 2~5)
Welcome Taxi Directed by KIM Tai-sik
KIM has already presented a story of Japanese rocker taking a taxi from Tokyo to Korea in his previous work Tokyo Taxi (2009). This time it is the other way around, a Busan taxi taking an old Japanese man traveling to Osaka, a city with high Korean resident population. Welcome Taxi claims to take the concept of ‘global human road’, The plan is to not only tell a story of the journey two people take together and the tie between Korea and Japan, but also realistically describe how members of developed cities collide and unite.
YEON(緣) Directed by PARK Heung-sik
A new project by PARK Heung-sik, who was praised for his 2007 film The Railroad . The film is a love story that spans 10 years between a Korean man and a Japanese woman, sending hidden messages that Korea and Japan should advance hand in hand. PARK explained his plan for the film as “life in Korea will be captured through the Japanese woman’s point of view, and life in Japan will be seen through the eyes of the Korean man. By doing so, the similarities, rather than differences between the two countries, will protrude more.”
Double Dutch Produced by SHIN Beom-su
A sports film project lead by producer SHIN Beom-su, who’s worked with ShinCine, a distinguished production company in Korea. It is based on ‘Double Dutch’, where more than two participants jump two long ropes and present various acrobatic movements like hip hop dancing and b-boying. In Japan there are more than a hundred teams specializing in this field and its base is firm with the best skills in world contests, it is production company’s ambition to proceed shootings overseas with the Japanese market in mind. The plan is to cast Japanese actors and collaborate with local Japanese production.
Red Snow Directed by KIM Tae-kyun
Producer CHO Seon-muk who’ve produced Missing (2008) and The Executioner (2009) challenges a new genre, mountain action. Against the backdrop of rugged mountains covered with blizzard, a cop and a fugitive are isolated here, chased by killers sent by drug dealers. As the snow covers the mountain, a desperate chase and action will unfold while SWAT team and killers jump into the picture trying to track the two down. Production company is prepping for a co-production with Japan, combining Korea’s high quality screenplay with location in Japan.
8+21 Directed by HA Myeong-jung
A project recreating the ‘KIM Bu-nam murder’ that shocked the entire Korea in 1991 when a woman killed the man who raped her 21 years ago when she was eight. KIM Bu-nam’s testimony in court, exclaiming “I killed a beast, not a man” had alarmed the society of how serious sexual assault on children is, where the children have to spend the rest of their lives as mentally handicapped person. Almost two decades have passed since the incident, but HA has decided to make the story into a movie as similar incidents are still occurring and child sexual assault remains to be a major social issue even today.
KO-PRODUCTION IN BEIJING PROJECTS(Scheduled in SEP.)
Champ Directed by LEE Hwan-kyung
A new work by LEE Hwan-kyung, who directed Lump of Sugar(2006) , a story of friendship between girl and horse, once again focuses on horse racing. A blind jockey in his early 30s, pairs up with limping race horse, becoming each other’s eyes and legs to challenge the race. Champ tries to be a heart-warming, sincere human drama and intends to do so with spectacular racing scenes as well as fatherhood of the character and his friendship and interactions with the horse. CHA Tae-hyun, who is well-known to Chinese audiences with My Sassy Girl and Scandal Makers is to take the lead role.
The Lost Legend Directed by PARK Hee-kon
A mega-scale pan-Asia project with a net production cost of estimated US$16.6 million, half of which will be provided through investment from China. Set in 203 BC China during Emperor Chin’s rule, a warrior sent by the Emperor in search of the elixir plant arrives at Dammoraguk (current day Jeju-do) and there unfolds the story of adventure, love, schemes and danger. The film sets its background in Northeast Asia including China.
All or Nothing Produced by YOON Chang-eop
A Korea and China co-production, with a story concept of “a confused new secret agent tries to protect the national economy and a loved one and attempts to beat the best rockpaper-scissors player in the world.” Taking in the subject of ‘rock-paper-scissors’, a simple game familiar to the Koreans and Chinese alike, combined with spy action and romantic comedy factors, the filmmakers are ambitious to make a fun and cheerful movie. Various tactics of rock-paper-scissors masters are revealed in Shanghai, China and their fancy contests will be another interesting element to watch out for.