The as-yet untitled fifth project by South Korean director Hong Sang-soo has secured partial financing from French production/distribution company MK2.

The company will reportedly distribute the film directly through its French distribution circuit, as well as handling international sales and marketing outside of Asia.

Currently in the casting stage, Hong's film (the Korean working title of which translates as Woman Is Man's Future) is scheduled to begin shooting in the autumn, to be delivered by March at the latest.

In keeping with the director's working methods, only a one-page synopsis is currently on paper, with individual scenes to be fleshed out later with the actors during shooting.

Hong, considered one of South Korea's leading auteurs, recently gained higher profile in France with the simultaneous release of his first three films - The Day A Pig Fell Into The Well (1996), The Power Of Kangwon Province (1998), and Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors (2000) (pictured) - in Paris this February. Critical response has been strong, and MK2 also plans to release Hong's fourth film Turning Gate (2002) in France later this year.

The latest project, which will be co-produced by Korean companies Miracin Korea and UniKorea, also took part in the 2002 Pusan Promotion Plan (PPP), a project market sponsored by the Pusan International Film Festival. The project was named joint winner of the Pusan Award ($20,000 total), and is also reportedly in discussions with a prominent Japanese company for further financing.

Co-operation between France and South Korea has grown more common in recent years, in recognition of the two film cultures' strong similarities (high local market share, strong government support for cinema) and the signing of a co-operation agreement between promotional bodies CNC and the Korean Film Commission (KOFIC) last November.

Other recent French-Korean co-productions include Plastic Tree by Eoh Il-sun (produced by RG Prince Films) and Jeon Soo-il's My Right To Ravage Myself (produced by Dongnyuk Films [Korea], Unlimited [France], and RG Prince Films [France]).