Korean master director ImKwon-taek's 100th film has been saved from the verge of shutdown bystart-up production company Kino2 and funding from Centurion TechnologyInvestment Corp and the Korean Film Council.

The director's long-timeproducer Lee Tae-won announced that funding for the $3.5m film had fallenthrough just days before it was due to go into production last month.

Lee's Taehung Pictures producedIm Kwon-taek films such as Chiwhaseon,which won best director award at Cannes in 2002, and Chunhyang,which also competed at Cannes.However, when Im's Lowlife failed atthe box office, the producer had difficulties securing funding for the 100thproject without any star casting.

The new financing was puttogether by Kino2 founder and former LJ Film head of operations Kim Jong-wonwho launched the new company on Monday in Seoul.

The film, said to be asequel to 1993 masterpiece Seopyeonje,is set to star Oh Jung-hae from the original and theatre actor Kim Young-min. Basedon Lee Chung-joon's novel The Wanderer Of Seonhak-dong,the story follows a musician, his blind half-sister and their father who is apansori performer. The Korean title translates as One Thousand Year Crane but the film still doesn't have an Englishtitle.

Ironically Im says casting mayhave to be changed because of the push-back in schedule. The film is set to gointo production in March and wrap in December in order to capture "the plumblossoms in spring, the greenery of summer and the bleakness of winter."

Im said at Kino2's launchthat he thought this would be "a light, relaxing film to make," but that now he"would like to show proof that Im Kwon-taek films are going through anothertransformation."

Kim, who is producing thefilm, is optimistic about its box office potential. "We've received interestfrom major distributors and it's mostly a matter of choosing who we will workwith best," he said.