Hollywood talent powerhouse CAA has confirmed itsaggressive moves into Asia,bringing China's Hengdian Group to the Croisette to meetwestern players, unveiling an alliance with start-up Korean entertainmentcompany WEB, and advising both Taiwan's private equity fund Double Edge andJapanese giant Kadokawa.
The agency'slatest international hire, Beijing-based Peter Loehr, is working with CAA'sexisting Asian clients as well as exploring opportunities in the China market - potentially the world's largest.He is initially focused on bringing English-language productions such as JohnCurran's The Painted Veil starringNaomi Watts and Edward Norton into China.
Meanwhile, inmore developed Asian markets, CAA is looking at co-financing and packagingopportunities.
Seoul-based WEB,for example, plans to introduce the concept of packaging to the Korean market,putting together international projects and introducing its stable of Koreanactors and filmmakers to the US and international markets.
CAA will adviseWEB on potential co-production opportunities between Korea and the US.
Launched byindustry veteran Victor Hwang, WEB is backed by Korean biotech company EBTNetworks which also owns financier-distributor Tube Entertainment. Tube willhandle the distribution of projects on WEB's slate in Korea.
Hengdian Group, apartner in Warner Bros' joint production venture in China, owns China's largest shooting base and is alsoplanning to move into production. Loehr is partnered with Hengdian inproduction services company Dragon Studios.
"I have goodrelationships with talent after the movies I've produced," said Loehr, whosecredits include a string of critical and commercial hits in China such as Zhang Yang's Shower. "Packaging and financing along the CAA model is also along-term goal."
Meanwhile in Japan, CAA represents fast-expanding Kadokawagroup which owns Nippon Herald, has an investment stake in DreamWorks and ishelping set up remakes and sequels from its library.
Properties thatKadokawa owns include The Ring and The Grudge, both of which have becomesuccessful remakes, and One Missed Call,which Kadokawa is remaking with Intermedia.
In Taiwan, CAA is working with private equity fund Double Edge, which will put up 20%equity in projects with an Asian element shooting overseas and up to 50%,including a subsidy component, for productions shooting in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Hwang,CEO and president of Korea's WEB, announced further details of thecompany including a partnership with leading Korean talent management companyPlayer Entertainment which represents some of Korea's top actors including Byung-hun Lee (ABittersweet Life) and Eun-kyung Shin (My Wife Is AGangster).
The company hasalso retained producer Pliny Porter, former president of Julia Roberts' ShoelaceProductions, as a consultant to assist in forging strategic partnerships andalliances.
"We havewitnessed the evolution of Korea into a major Asian entertainment hub andare pleased to partner with CAA to maximise synergies between Korea and Hollywood," said Hwang.
Korea is currently one of Asia's most dynamic film markets in terms of localproduction which has a 60% share of the domestic market and is also makinginroads overseas.