A seriesof hits have helped home-grown titles to a 58% share of the South Korea this year but Screendaily's latest production listings shows the growing importance of the international market.

Squeezedprofits are forcing producers to rely on foreign sales in a way that is beginning to have a clear effect.

The most widely-publicised change has been increasedemphasis on casting stars with name recognition in Asia but the new-found focus on overseas salesis also affecting the kind of films getting made.

Whereascomedies made up a large percentage of the films produced in the early part ofthe decade, in recent years there has been a perceptible shift towards genresthat can be more easily marketed abroad.

Thisincludes action, thriller, and horror films that while not quite as flagrantlyviolent or intense as the work of someone like cult Japanese director Takashi Miike, nonetheless can be marketed within the confines of"extreme" Asian cinema.

A casein point is Running Wild, a big-budget action-noir scheduled to bow in Korea onDecember 15 - putting it head-to-head with two other expensive, large-scalelocal projects aimed at international markets: KT Kwak'smaritime action film Typhoon and historical biopic Blue Swallow,about Korea's first female aviator. RunningWild features local stars Kwon Sang-woo and Yoo Ji-tae but is also being marketed by distributor Showbox as an intense, stylish cinematic ride.

Swordplay/martialarts films are also easily marketed abroad, and distributor CJ Entertainmentwill finance the latest big-budget attempt at the genre. Jung-cheon(original title), which opened shooting in Chinafrom October, features established star Jung Woo-sung (Musa)as the soul of a deceased warrior who must remain midway between heaven andearth for 49 days.

Yetdespite the marketability of such "masculine" genres in Europe and North America, producers arealso keeping their eyes on other (bigger) markets closer to home, namely Japan. And if the past couple months are any guideline,it's becoming apparent that romances and melodrama offer Korean producers thebest chance to cash in.

Withmelodrama April Snow grossing upwards of $20m in Japan andrecent release A Moment To Remember expected todo even better after two weeks at number one, love stories are creeping backinto Korea's production charts.

Upcomingexamples include Romance by Moon Seung-wook (Nabi), a relatively high-budget effort with risingstar Kim Ji-soo (This Charming Girl) playing abattered wife who falls in love with a detective.

Kim alsotakes a role in Mirovision's Traces Of Love, from rising director Kim Dae-seung(Blood Rain) about a man who travels to places that his dead fiancee described in her journal.

Finally,My Girl And I from iHQis likely to draw interest in Japan aswell, given that it's a star-filled remake of the Japanese smash hit CryingOut Love In The Center Of The World.Like Ring and The Grudge before it, My Girl And I will attempt to win over Japanwith one of its very own stories.

For full South Korean listings, click here