Two of Korea's leading directors - Im Kwon-taek and Hong Sang-soo - start production this week on new features aimed squarely at next year's Cannes festival.

Veteran director Im Kwon-taek's 99th film Haryu-Insaeng, the story of a young man who gets caught up in gang life in 1960s Korea, began shooting on Sept 7. Im's two previous films Chihwaseon (2002) and Chunhyang (2000) both screened in competition at Cannes, with Chihwaseon named co-winner of the Best Director award in 2002.

Haryu-Insaeng (English title not yet available) is said to be a mix of action and drama with strong references to social and political issues in contemporary Korea. It will star rising actor Cho Seung-woo (The Classic, Chunhyang) as well as actress Kim Min-seon of Memento Mori. Produced by longtime collaborator Lee Tae-won of Taehung Pictures, the film will be financed and distributed by Cinema Service.

Meanwhile, the fifth film of acclaimed arthouse director Hong Sang-soo (Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Turning Gate) is scheduled to start shooting on September 10. Titled Woman Is The Future Of Man, the film takes place over 48 hours and tells the story of two men who meet for a drink and decide impulsively to visit their old girlfriend.

The $1.6m production is co-produced by Miracin Korea and UniKorea, with co-financing provided by French distribution company MK2, which owns international sales rights outside of Asia. Local distributor is major studio CJ Entertainment.

The film stars well-known actor Yoo Ji-tae (One Fine Spring Day, Attack The Gas Station) together with Kim Tae-woo (Joint Security Area), Seong Hyun-ah (Boss X-File), and Kim Ho-jeong (winner of Best Actress at Locarno 2001 for Nabi). Shooting is scheduled to wrap in January, with a release planned for May.